As we commemorate the 31st anniversary of the 1988 Massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in Iran, mainly members and supporters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), it is important to hear the testimonies of those who lost relatives or those who were spared the noose by pure chance.
That’s why in this short series, we will be looking at the speeches delivered during the "1988 Massacre in Iran, Perpetrators must be TRIED" conference, held on the fifth and final day of the Free Iran gathering at the MEK’s headquarters in Ashraf 3, Albania. The point of the conference was to encourage the global community to hold the perpetrators to account for their crimes against humanity.
Thousands of MEK (Mujahedin-e Khalq) members were extra-judicially executed on the fatwa of then-Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini, subjected to show trials in front of Death Commissions who wanted to find them guilty. Not one person has been brought to justice for their role in the massacre and many still work in the Iranian Regime today, with some gaining promotions for their sick service.
That’s why these MEK members and supporters spoke at the conference and why we repeat their words here.
The first person to speak was former political prisoner Kobra Jokar, who was arrested and tortured by the Revolutionary Guards in Ward 209 of Evin Prison while she was pregnant.
She said: “I spent six years in prison… In the cell, I saw four torturers torture my husband in front of me. They also tortured me in front of him.”
Her husband and 75 others were executed just days later, with his torturer telling Jokar that their intention was for him to never see his child. When Jokar gave birth, she was removed from the hospital almost instantaneously by the authorities, despite being very ill.
Jokar said: “I personally knew 50 MEK pregnant women who were executed, including Masumeh, the sister of Mrs Maryam Rajavi, [the former secretary general of the MEK].”
The prison guards would not even provide milk and food for the children, so her cellmates gave her their sugar rations to feed her baby. In prison, there was no doctors or medicine for the children and there was only 15 minutes of warm water every other day, so the MEK political prisoners had to wash the children, including those who had lost both parents, in military fashion.
Jokar said that the torturers would even interrogate the children, citing the case of a six-year-old girl strapped to a chair and told she would be left there in the dark if she didn’t tell them the names of her mother’s friends.
Jokar said that the MEK women were encouraged to go on because they had hope and they had faith in their leaders who were fighting for freedom.
Jokar was able to escape the prison in 1986, but she told the conference that all of the MEK women she’d been locked up with were executed in the 1988 massacre.
In our next two pieces, we will be looking at the speeches of Homa Jaberi and Hengameh Haj-Hassan.