In a virtual conference last week, hosted by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the topic of discussion was the crime against humanity that took place 33 years ago, the brutal massacre of 30,000 political prisoners. No one has ever been brought to justice for the atrocities that happened in the summer of 1988.
The NCRI said, “More than 1,000 former Iranian political prisoners took part and some of them recounted the experience of appearing before “death commissions” in the summer of 1988 as the Iranian regime attempted to systematically annihilate the main opposition, the Mojahedin-e-Khalq (PMOI/MEK).”
The massacre took place following the issue of a fatwa by the then-supreme leader, Ruhollah Khomeini, which explicitly named the MEK, labeling them as ‘enemies of God himself’.
During the conference, many European politicians and international law experts made clear that accountability for the regime is now needed and suggested ways in which this goal may be obtained.
Unbelievably, on August 5, an official from the European Union was sent to attend Ebrahim Raisi’s inauguration as the new president of the Iranian regime.
The NCRI said, “This decision blatantly ignored the fact that countless Iranian citizens and Iranian expatriates had loudly protested Raisi’s candidacy and urged the international community to do the same on the basis of his high-level involvement in the 1988 massacre.”
Raisi was working as Tehran’s deputy prosecutor in the late 1980s when he became one of four officials who made up Tehran’s death commission. Many of the former political prisoners who gave accounts of their experiences at the conference last week still remember seeing Raisi at the prisons they were being held in and recall how he was eager in passing death sentences quickly.
The NCRI said, “In sending a delegation to Raisi’s inauguration, the EU essentially legitimized the authority of human rights abuses and alleged perpetrators of genocide over all the functions of Iran’s judiciary and its entire executive branch.”
In his former role as judiciary chief, Raisi oversaw the violent crackdown of the November 2019 uprising, which saw 1,500 protesters killed in mass shootings by security forces, and a further 12,000 arrested, many of whom were tortured over the following months in jails across Iran.
In a statement issued following Raisi’s rise to his presidential role, Amnesty International wrote that Raisi “has risen to the presidency instead of being investigated for the crimes against humanity of murder, enforced disappearance and torture.”
The NCRI said, “Practically all of the politically and demographically diverse participants in last week’s conference repeated this appeal for an investigation and those with particular expertise in international law were keen to emphasize the potential role of universal jurisdiction.”
In order to obtain justice for the victims of the 1988 massacre, the main obstacle is a political one. The EU needs to stand up and stop turning a blind eye to the crimes against humanity committed by the regime.
The NCRI said, “The EU should hold the regime to account for the genocide and present a resolution to the Security Council to send the case to the International Criminal Court.”