During the conference which lasted for more than an hour, Lord Maginnis of Drumglass, a member of the UK House of Lords, and Malcolm Fowler, a former member of the Human Rights Committee of the Law Society of England and Wales, expressed their views that people held accountable for the shocking massacre of 1988 in Iran should be brought to justice, adding that they remain hopeful that the UK government would help further this cause.
Lord Maginnis expressed his concerns over Britain’s foreign policy in the recent years, which he has observed during his years in Parliament. “We do not have a realistic foreign policy,” he stated. He urged that 1988 heinous crimes are not just something that happened in the past. “Within the last 3 years, around 3,000 people have been executed in Iran…. the same sort of thing has continued and will continue, so long as we treat Iran as a potential trading partner.”
In his opinion, “it is a question of looking at morality from a British point of view.” He voiced his regret that the UK does not seem to have a moral policy towards regimes, such as Iran. However, he expressed hope that Theresa May, the new Prime Minister, would take a more moral stance towards the regime, bringing to light its human rights violations.
Malcolm Fowler agreed with Lord Maginnis, portraying his shock and horror at the actual death toll. Reza Malek, a former director of the Research and Survey department of the Intelligence Ministry, reported that over 33,000 people were executed during the summer of 1988.
Mr. Fowler suggested that these many people were executed in Tehran alone, including children and pregnant women, and that the actual death toll in all of Iran may be much higher. During the conference, he explained how the ‘mock trials’ were staged to reach a decision within moments during which time the prisoners were asked if they had allegiance with the main opposition group People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI or MEK). He praised the victims’ bravery for remaining true to their beliefs, instead of “bowing the knee” and becoming “turncoats” for Khomeini’s regime which ordered these executions.
He also illustrated the regime’s machine-like style of execution, detailing the hangings – people were “hanged from cranes, six at a time.” He called these “an unrequited injustice of very serious proportions.” He expressed his feelings that many people should make this “their business to know,” stating that instead many governments, including the UK, “choose to ignore it.”
New insights have been revealed into the 1988 revelations, following an audio tape being released on the website of the late Hossein-Ali Montazeri. Once thought to be the heir to Iran’s Supreme Leader Khomeini, Montazeri fell out with the regime’s rulers and spent a great proportion of his life under house arrest for speaking out against the regime. The tape revealed Mr. Montazeri arguing against the members of the Death Commission who committed the crimes. He revealed the extent of the injustice at the executions, helplessly crying out that the executors will have to respond to God for these crimes, which include the execution of pregnant women and children. “Ahmad Khomeini (Khomeini’s son) has personally been saying for 3-4 years that PMOI affiliates should all be executed, even if they only read their newspaper, publications or statement.”
He argued that the people being executed are part of an ideology and that these actions will not stop this school of thought but cause it to spread even further. Echoing his words, the NCRI has been gaining steady support over the years. The recent rally held in Paris attracted 100,000 supporters of a free Iran, a tremendous turnout.
The 1988 executions have been gaining more attention in the press and support from the international community which gives hope that the people responsible for these crimes will one day be brought to justice. Jim Fitzpatrick from the UK House of Commons, sent a video message to the conference, stating that: “Somebody has to be held responsible for the deaths of these people whose only crime was [being the political] opposition to Ayatollah Khomeini.”