International human rights experts and Members of Parliament on Saturday called on the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights to launch a Commission of Inquiry into the 1988 massacre of thousands of political prisoners in Iran.
They, along with survivors, described the 1988 massacre as an ‘ongoing crime against humanity’.
At a webinar broadcast by the opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), survivors of the 1988 massacre described the torment they faced and witnessed in Iran’s prisons.
Legal expert Tahar Boumedra, whose organization Justice for the Victims of the 1988 Massacre in Iran (JVMI) has investigated the mass killings, pointed out that more than 30,000 political prisoners, primarily members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI or MEK), were executed following a fatwa by Ayatollah Khomeini.
Former European lawmaker Struan Stevenson told the event: “Thirty-two years ago this month, a crime against humanity began in Iran in a tempest of savagery that has not been surpassed since the end of the Second World War. The fascist theocracy began the systematic execution of political prisoners. Within months, they have hanged over 30,000 men and women, mostly members and supporters of the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran, the PMOI, MEK, the main democratic opposition to the mullahs. They were murdered on the orders of the psychotic supreme leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, a man who claimed to be the voice of God on Earth but was in fact the disciple of Satan.”
“The 1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran is an example of both a crime against humanity and genocide based on international conventions. Neither crimes against humanity nor genocide are allowed to expire with the passage of time. At a time when the Iranian people have shown with their consecutive and nationwide protests that they are sick of the current regime and the ongoing violation of human rights, it’s surely the duty of the international community and especially the United Nations to respond by supporting their call for justice”, he added.
Former Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi pointed out that many perpetrators of the 1988 massacre have gone on to become top officials in the Iranian government and Judiciary.
“The head of the Iranian judiciary, Ebrahim Raisi; and the Minister of Justice, Alireza Avaei, were members of the ‘Death Commissions’; Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi, was also a member of the ‘Death Commission’ and now is a close advisor to President Hassan Rouhani,” Terzi said.
Speakers pointed out that crimes against humanity are not bound by the statute of limitations, and even though the 1988 massacre was perpetrated 32 years ago, it is still prosecutable today. Iranian officials brazenly claim Khomeini’s fatwa still stands against the MEK.
Kirsty Brimelow, former Chair of the Bar Human Rights Committee of England & Wales, told the event: “This massacre needs to remain at the forefront of the United Nations considerations when it considers human rights violation in Iran. One reason for this aside from the international law framework which also governs Iran is that if it is not tackled, impunity from 1988 continues to impact and inform human rights violations in the present in Iran.”
Other speakers called on the UN Human Rights Council to set up a commission of inquiry into the 1988 massacre and achieve justice for the victims of that crime against humanity. They urged High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet to support the launch of independent fact-finding missions into the 1988 massacre and the murder of 1500 anti-government protesters during the November 2019 uprising.
Numerous speakers called on the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, Javaid Rehman, to investigate Iran’s 1988 massacre.
Bob Blackman, a Member of Parliament in the United Kingdom told the event: “I also want to address directly the victims of the regime in Iran, both inside Iran and abroad, who are listening and taking part in this conference today and assure them that their voices are being heard here in the UK and the UK Parliament and we will continue to raise this issue with our Government until justice is served.”