The majority of the 30,000 killed during the state-sponsored executions that took place during the summer of 1988 was from the political opposition groups, the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI/MEK).
In Amnesty’s new report, entitled ‘Iran’s Blood-Soaked Secrets: Why Iran’s 1988 prison massacres are ongoing crimes against humanity’, the human rights groups disclose more information about the massacre and how the families of the victims have been prevented from getting justice for their loved ones.
The 201-page report explains that the Iran Regime “forcibly disappeared and extrajudicially executed thousands of imprisoned political dissidents in secret” before dumping their bodies in “unmarked mass graves”. These murders are treated as “state secrets” and relatives are never given any information about the fate of their loved ones. No one has been brought to justice for these crimes and Amnesty says that some still hold positions of power in Iran.
Raha Bahreini, Amnesty International’s lead researcher on Iran, said: “For three decades, families and survivors and former prisoners have been struggling for truth and justice and they have documented this horrific crime in order to counter the narratives of denial and distortion the Iranian authorities have been perpetuating for decades. We have relied on this legacy of documentation and tried to use the new evidence that has emerged in order to further the struggle of the families and survivors for truth and justice.”
Despite the Regime’s attempts to hide the details of the massacre from the rest of the world, survivors and the families of the victims have made various calls for justice and prosecution over the past 30 years.
Masoud Dalvand, a human rights activist and author of anti-regime blog Freedom Star, said: “For three decades, the international community has been silent over the massacre of political prisoners in Iran. As a result, the Mullahs have continued with impunity to violate human rights in Iran, launch terrorist operations, and wage catastrophic wars in the Middle East and other countries. Now, the time has come to end this silence.”
Last December, a wave of popular uprisings hit Iran hard, with ordinary people risking their lives to protest the Regime and demand answers about the massacre. They are willing to sacrifice their lives to bring change to Iran, just like those who were executed in 1988.
Some of these former prisoners have been speaking up about the abuse they suffered in prison.
Hossein Fathi, who lost 14 members of his family, said: “I witnessed torture and they tortured me by lashing. They hung me from the roof and tried to kill me.”
While Ahmad Ebrahimi, who was detained in Gohardashst prison, said: “They kept us in the dark – we didn’t know what was going on or what was going to happen. And we were taken blindfolded where all of us – 150 of us – were taken to an interrogation room and asked about our views towards the regime.
If we did not say we supported the regime, they would kill us straight away.”
Amnesty called on the United Nations to hear evidence about the crime and bring the mullahs to justice.