On Thursday, November 18, the 41st session of the Swedish trial of Hamid Noury, an Iranian prison official, continued in the western Albanian province of Durres, where it is being hosted. Hamid Noury is being held to account for torturing inmates and playing a role in the extrajudicial executions of 1988 in Iran. Swedish authorities had arrested Noury on November 9, 2019.

The Third Committee of the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on Wednesday, November 17, condemning the flagrant and systematic rights abuses in Iran.

Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI): “Dossier on four decades of Iranian regime’s human rights violations, crimes against humanity and genocide must be referred to the UN Security Council, and Khamenei, Raisi, and Eje’i (Judiciary’s chief) must be tried in an International Court.”

The UNGA Third Committee in its press release wrote:

A draft resolution on human rights in Iran — approved by a recorded vote of 79 in favor to 30 against, with 71 abstentions — would express the Assembly’s serious concern at the alarmingly frequent use of the death penalty, including against minors. Among other provisions, it would urge Iran to end its use and commute the sentences for child offenders on death row.”

As was expected, the regime’s delegate at the UN called the draft ‘insincere political move’ that exposes a deliberate policy of incitement to ‘Iranophobia.’

However, four decades of crimes against humanity, genocide, and massacres committed by this regime, especially the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners and the massacre of 1,500 demonstrators in 2019, contrasts sharply with the claims of the regime’s representative.

The ongoing trial of Hamid Noury, one of the main perpetrators of the 1988 massacre, which has started in Stockholm and is now continuing in Albania/Durres with the testimonies of seven survivors of the massacre, is revealing the real face of human rights violations in Iran.

The real face of human rights in Iran which was underlined by keywords in the Third Committee resolution such as:

  1. Violence against women
  2. High rate of executions
  3. Prison conditions, mistreatment of detainees
  4. Restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly, both offline and online
  5. Persecution of religious minorities
  6. Over 70 percent of executions of child offenders worldwide are carried out in Iran
  7. Use of torture
  8. Excessive force against peaceful protesters
  9. Unfair trials
  10. Arbitrary detentions

During the past two years, Hamid Noury denied his involvement in human rights violations, particularly the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners, mostly members, and supporters of the opposition Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK/PMOI).

During their testimonies in the last six court sessions, former political prisoners Mohammad Zand, Majid Saheb-Jam, Asghar Mehdizadeh, Akbar Samadi, Mahmoud Royaei and Hossein Farsi, pointed to the role of Hamid Noury in gross and systematic human rights violations, particularly in extrajudicial executions of 1988.

“They took me to a room that was later used for the ‘Death Commission.’ He was there, [Noury] changed my verdict,” Mohammad Zand testified in the court on November 10. “I realized Nasserian [the aka name of Mohammad Moghisseh] was the prison’s judiciary official and Hamid Noury was his chief of staff.”

“When we had been taken to Gohardasht prison, the guards brought us to a corridor, an almost empty ward, and the guards stood in lines to form a tunnel for the prisoners. As the prisoners passed through the human tunnel, the guards beat them with sticks and cables,” Saheb-Jam said in his testimony on November 11.

“I was surprised to see [Hamid Noury] there,” he said. Saheb-Jam had previously seen Noury in Evin prison, where the latter served as a normal prison guard, taking prisoners to the bathroom, torture chambers, and for breaks. “I had seen him more than ten times in Evin,” Saheb-Jam continued.

“I said to myself, God, what is going on here?” Mehdizadeh recalled. “I saw 12 MEK supporters standing on a chair each with a rope around their necks. I witnessed that next to them were other bodies of the martyrs whose feet were grabbed by the guards and dragged out of the hall.”

“As we were being transferred, Davoud Lashgari [one of the senior authorities of Gohardasht] saw us and yelled at the prison guards, ‘Why have you brought this group? Don’t bring them until I’ve called them by name,’” Samadi said.

“They had emptied a building in preparation for the massacre,” Samadi recounted, adding, “Since this section had no connection to the other sections, and the administrative building prevented this ward from being connected to other wards, it was located far from the other wards. That is why they had chosen it as the site to carry out the executions.”

“When I was there, I witnessed several times that Hamid Noury read out the names of the prisoners who were to be executed,” Samadi said.

“They asked them what their accusation was. As soon as they said they were supporters of the MEK, the guards severely beat them,” Royaei said. “One or two hours later, they were brought back, bruised and bloodied. The guards said we’ll come back for you on Saturday.”

“These series of events reminded us of the dark memories of 1981. Every night, hundreds of prisoners were executed while the authorities shouted, ‘Death to the Monafegh’ [the term the regime uses to refer to the MEK,” Royaei said. “I personally thought that they can’t execute everyone, and it would have a very heavy price for them. I thought that they were only executing the group of prisoners who had been transferred from Mashhad to Gohardasht.”

“He threatened to execute me and said, ‘tell me how you communicated with the MEK in Ward 7 and how did you listen to the Radio Mojahed program. We will execute you. We executed your brother in Evin a few days ago and left your mother grieving. She will grieve over your death too, and your leader Massoud Rajavi will grieve over all your deaths,’” Farsi said.

1988 Massacre Survivor Hassan Ashrafian Testifies

In his testimony to the court, Ashrafian described the chain of command in Gohardasht prison. Mohammad Moghiseh, who was also known as “Nasserian,” ran the affairs of the prison.

“As far as I know, Hamid Abbasi [Noury] was his [Nasserian’s] deputy. And Davoud Lashgari was in charge of prison security,” Ashrafian said.

Ashrafian described one of his encounters with Noury.

“Nasserian and Abbasi prevented us from exercising in prison,” Ashrafian said. “In June 1987, we were exercising in the prison’s courtyard. Suddenly 20-30 guards came into the courtyard and prevented us from doing our exercises. They beat us with cables, batons, and metal rods. They blindfolded us and pushed us into the main building.

“They took us to a small hall on the second floor, which the prisoners called the ‘gas chamber.’ They pushed us into the hall as we were still sweating from the exercise, and they closed all the airways… after a couple of hours we were all suffocating.”

“In September 1988, we were 53 prisoners in Ward 3. Before the massacre, there were 200 people. Of these, six or seven were charged with offenses other than supporting the MEK, while 190 of them were MEK supporters. Of these 200 people, only 53 remained,” Ashrafian said.

“Nasserian [Moghiseh] started threatening us as was his habit,” Ashrafian said. “He said, ‘We killed all of them and we will kill the rest of you later. The era where you could protest, and stage strikes are over. Don’t think our hands are tied. We can execute you like the rest anytime we want.’”

“We told them about the problems of the ward, such as lack of warm water and hygiene issues,” Ashrafian said. “Instead of solving our problems, Abbasi said, ‘Go and thank God that you are alive. If we wanted to execute the fatwa of the Imam—he meant Khomeini—completely, we would have to arrest and execute half of the people of Iran.’”

“We rushed to the windows. There were five of us there. We heard the slight sound of vehicles and we saw two trucks in the road, one on each side of the road. One of the vehicles had the engine running,” Ashrafian said. “The vehicle on the side of the road nearer to us had its motor running and we could see its red tail lights. I could see inside one of the trucks they had laid body bags. The light inside the truck was on. There were a few prison guards, one of them was inside the back of the truck and busy installing a cover so the back of the truck could not be seen.”