By Mahmoud Hakamian
During the course of one single summer, the Iranian regime executed 30,000 political prisoners. The Supreme Leader at that time, Ruhollah Khomeini, had issued a fatwa, or a religious order. Special commissions later described as “death commissions” were set up to oversee the process of the executions.
Most of those who died were with members or supporters of the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI, Mujahedin e Khalq, MEK) – the main opposition to the Iranian regime. Men, women and children were killed and buried in mass and unmarked graves. The families of many of these people have never been informed of the final resting place and they are still calling for justice.
The international community has recently become involved in calls for justice too. Last year, Amnesty International called on the Iranian government to speak out about what has happened to the political prisoners it executed. The organisation is also calling on the United Nations to set up an enquiry group to find out more details and to look into those who are responsible.
The people of Iran have been unable to move on from the tragedy because they are constantly reminded of the horror that took place. Many of the officials that were involved in the execution of the fatwa hold senior positions in the country’s current government. Instead of seeing the people involved in such a horrific crime against humanity put into prison, they see them in position of power.
Former judiciary minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi recently defended the 1988 massacre, saying that the country was “at war” and therefore there should be no legal procedures or processes regarding the rights of the people. He said that the PMOI (MEK) is seen as “the worst kind of enemy” because they have destroyed the regime’s “image”. He said that the PMOI has been responsible for everything that has happened against the regime over the past four decades.
Former #Iran Justice Minister, Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi blatantly defended the #1988Massacre of political 30.000 prisoners.— IRAN HRM (@IranHrm) July 27, 2019
at the time of mass executions he was Representative of Intelligence Ministry in the “Death Commission” pic.twitter.com/L3IVM33VUE
During the 1988 massacre, the former judiciary minister was a member of a “death commission” in Tehran. He has no shame about this role in which he sent political prisoners to their deaths.
Earlier this month, during a series of conferences in Ashraf 3 in Albania organised by the MEK, a number of survivors of the 1988 massacre spoke about their experiences. One person explained that he just avoided being executed because he was in the infirmary unconscious at the very moment the political prisoners were called for execution.
Another prisoner spoke about the systematic torture that she was subjected to during her time in prison. She spoke about the human rights violations that she witnessed. The torture that she and the other survivors described is unimaginable and it is shocking that the victims of the 1988 massacre have never had justice.
Iranian opposition leader, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, called on the international community to make sure that justice is served. She said: “The consequences of giving impunity to the masterminds and perpetrators of the 1988 massacre have not been limited to human rights, and the perpetuation of torture and executions, but have emboldened the Iranian regime in exporting terrorism and warmongering.”