Montazeri’s crime is that on August 2016 he published an audio file on the Ayatollah Montazeri’s official website, of his father’s meeting with the “Death Commission”.
In this meeting, Ayatollah Montazeri, former Deputy Supreme Leader and Khomeini’s nominated successor, describes the mass execution of political prisoners as “the greatest crime committed during the reign of the Islamic Republic” and tells them that they would be remembered in the future as criminals. He was speaking to Hossein-Ali Nayeri, Morteza Eshraghi, Ebrahim Raeisi and Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi. These men oversaw and approved the executions during the 1988 massacre of some 30,000 political prisoners after a fatwa was declared by the regime’s then Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini.
The Montazeri family announced on their Telegram channel, that Ahmad’s court session was held “behind closed doors without the presence of a defense lawyer and jury.” They stated that he was accused of “acting against national security” in charges read out by Ansari-Zadeh, representative of the prosecutor. They further stated that, although Ahmad has denied the charges, “on the request of the relevant authorities, it has been decided not to publish the content of the meeting until the court’s verdict is announced.”
The Constitution of the Islamic Republic does not provide for the Special Court for Clerics, but for years has been handling the cases of allegation and offenses committed at this level, and is accountable only to the Supreme Leader.
The reactions to what was revealed by the audio file were widespread, both in Iran, and in the international community. Most officials and public figures of the Islamic Republic from both the hardline and the reformist factions, defended Khomeini’s decision for the mass execution of prisoners in 1988. However, figures like Ali Motahari demanded an apology from the perpetrators of the crime.
In a letter to the UN Human Rights Council and the International Criminal Court, a hundred Iranian civil society figures, academics, and human rights activists living abroad, urged these institutions to recognize the 1988 massacre of political prisoners as “crime against humanity.”
Of those executed during that summer in 1988, members and supporter of The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI or MEK), make up the vast majority, and they once again call for justice, and the trial of the leaders of the Islamic Republic on charges of “crimes against humanity.”