The 48th session of the trial of former Iranian prison official Hamid Noury took place on Tuesday in Stockholm, Sweden with more key witnesses giving testimonies in regard to his human rights abuses.
Former political prisoner Mohammad Khodabandeh-Loui took to the stand to testify against Noury and his role in torturing prisoners in Evin and Gohardasht prisons in Iran, as well as his involvement in the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners, many of whom were members or supporters of the Iranian Resistance group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) said, “Khodabandeh-Loui’s father, Ali Khodabandeh-Loui was a dentist who was executed in 1980 for supporting the MEK. Mohammad’s brother, Mahmoud Khodabandeh-Loui was arrested in 1989 with his cousin Gholamreza Pour-Eghbali, and both were executed later.”
Khodabandeh-Loui explained how during the summer of 1988, he and 157 other prisoners were transported to Evin prison and only seven of them made it out of prison alive.
He recalled that in Gohardasht prison in 1987, many prisoners protested the inhumane treatment they suffered at the hands of prison officials by going on a hunger strike but were taken by officials to a room known as the ‘Gas Chamber’. He recalls seeing Noury in this room and witnessing him beating prisoners, and that when he was attacked by Noury himself in the face, he ended up losing one of his eyes from the damage sustained.
The NCRI said, “According to Khodabandeh-Loui, the massacre began in Evin prison on July 27, 1988. A prison from his adjacent cell tells Mohammad and other inmates through morse code that the guards had taken several prisoners out for execution.”
As MEK supporters were loyal to a group whose beliefs and interpretation of Islam vastly differed from that of the clerical regime, a large majority of the victims of the 1988 massacre were members of the MEK. The regime set up ‘Death Commissions’ which were tasked with identifying those who remained loyal to the MEK and sending them to the gallows.
During his own testimony last week, Noury claimed that even the sheer mention of the MEK’s name in court would likely result in his prosecution upon his return to Iran.
Among other wild claims that he made, Noury stated that a number of the trial’s plaintiffs were ‘provoked’ by Iranian intelligence officer Iraj Mesdaghi to participate in the trial.
The NCRI said, “On orders by Tehran, Mesdaghi who had a dark record in prison, had tried to tarnish the Iranian Resistance’s Justice Seeking Movement of the 1988 Victims.”
Khodabandeh-Loui stated that Mesdaghi pretended to be seeking justice for victims of the 1988 massacre while pursuing ‘malicious political goals against the MEK and its members’. He also told the court that he was the one who gave a video of Mesdaghi insulting prisoners to the police and that Mesdaghi attempted to stop him and other people from testifying during the trial.
He said, “I lost my eye when I was 23 years old due to the beatings of Noury and his boss. I address this court now. Do I need to be bribed or coerced to participate in this court? Even based on personal motivation, my eye tells me to participate in this court.”