In July 1988, Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa (religious decree) calling for the execution of all political prisoners, mostly those affiliated with the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), which led to tens of thousands of political prisoners subjected to show trials before 30,000 were executed en-masse during a period now known as the Summer of Blood.
Their bodies were buried in mass graves in secret, as part of an attempt to hide evidence for their crimes and further torture the families. Over the years, the regime has sought to destroy the mass graves that the public knew about and build over the top so that evidence of their crime against humanity is hidden.
It has been over 32 years, but still, no one has been brought to justice for the horrific crimes against the political prisoners that summer, despite international campaigns by human rights organizations. In fact, at the most recent session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, the Geneva office distributed a joint statement from 21 international Non-Governmental Organizations who are actively seeking justice for the victims of the 1988 massacre.
The statement read: ‘’We appeal to the United Nations (UN) and its Member States to investigate the 1988 massacre of political prisoners in the Islamic Republic of Iran and to hold the perpetrators of that ‘ongoing crime against humanity’ accountable.’’
There are numerous countries, organizations, and individuals who are calling for accountability for the mullahs and justice for all victims, including the MEK members.
In fact, state department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus reported in July that the U.S. has asked the international community to conduct an independent investigation into the massacre, but she is far from the first.
Instead of upholding justice, the Iranian judiciary oppresses and violates human rights. We urge the international community and individual governments to provide accountability and pursue justice for the regime's many victims. pic.twitter.com/Mr0HpJuJ5g
— Morgan Ortagus (@statedeptspox) July 17, 2020
In 2018, Amnesty International investigated the massacre and found that Khomeini’s decision to carry out the massacre came after the MEK forced him to accept peace with Iraq – sparing the lives of thousands of Iranians. They also requested that the UN conduct an independent investigation to punish those responsibly.
While in 2017, the London-based NGO, Justice for the Victims of 1988, identified 87 Death Commission members, many of who still hold senior posts in the regime, including Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi, suggested as the next Supreme Leader, and Justice Minister, Alireza Avaei.
Earlier, opposition leader Maryam Rajavi said: “The world community’s silence and inaction have emboldened the religious fascism ruling Iran to continue and intensify its anti-human crimes against the Iranian people. We believe that until the international community holds the perpetrators of the 1988 massacre to account, Iran’s authorities would continue to be emboldened to further crackdown with impunity on present-day protesters. Iranian officials construe silence and inaction by the international community as a green light to continue and step up their crimes.”
In 2019, this was proven true. Reuters reported that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei ordered his top security and government officials to do whatever it took to stop protesters during the November nationwide uprising. In December, the MEK reported that the regime had killed 1,500 people during the protests.
Iran’s regime will continue its human rights violations if it is not held accountable for its crimes including the 1988 massacre. A good place to start is the investigation of the 1988 massacre.