With the trial of former Iranian prison official Hamid Noury still ongoing in Stockholm, Iranian expatriates in Sweden have continued their series of public protests this week, with calls for the leading figures of the Iranian regime to be prosecuted internationally for their crimes against humanity.
Noury was arrested by Swedish authorities in 2019 on a trip to the Scandinavian country under the principle of universal jurisdiction.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) said, “The charges against Noury including war crimes and mass murder, stem from his role in the torture of political prisoners at Gohardasht Prison before and during the massacre of 1988, which claimed the lives of over 30,000 political prisoners across the country, over the course of about three months.”
The massacre was a result of a fatwa issued by then-Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini, in which he called for the execution of members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), labeling them as being an ‘enmity against God’. Political prisoners were rushed through minute-long trials in the ‘death commission’ and asked whether or not they supported the MEK. If they refused to denounce the Resistance group, they were sent to the gallows.
The regime’s current president, Ebrahim Raisi sat on the panel of judges at the Tehran ‘death commission’ and ordered thousands of prisoners to their deaths.
The NCRI said, “This account of the massacre has been repeatedly corroborated in the context of Noury’s trial. Dozens of witnesses are being given an opportunity to speak about their experiences as survivors of the massacre or as family members of victims in a trial that is not expected to conclude until April.”
Former political prisoners, MEK members, and the families of the victims of the massacre have all been in attendance during the recent sessions of Noury’s trial giving their accounts of the atrocities. MEK member Khadijeh Borhani recalled that of her six siblings, 4 were killed before the massacre in dissent crackdowns, and the other 2 were executed during the summer of 1988.
The testimony from another witness, Seyyed Hossein Seyyed Ahmadi stated that his mother was subjected to attacks by prison authorities, who beat her and broke her arm because of a complaint she had made about the mistreatment of her other son Mohsen. Mohsen had been detained indefinitely for refusing to denounce the MEK.
The NCRI said, “Seyyed Ahmadi explained that about 100 of the MEK supporters were given minor sentences for their political activities in 1980, only to remain in prison and ultimately be executed as part of the 1988 massacre.”
Many witnesses at the trial have stated that even 33 years after the massacre, the families of the victims who remain in Iran are still under pressure from the regime to not talk about the atrocities of the summer of 1988, and still have no information as to where the final resting places of their loved ones are. While MEK activists have managed to uncover the locations of some of the mass graves, the regime is adamant about hiding any evidence of the massacre and has already destroyed some sites and built on top of them. Amnesty International has previously stated that this destruction of evidence will seriously affect any future investigations into the full scale of the massacre.
The NCRI said, “While echoing this sentiment and affirming the need for a formal UN-led commission of inquiry, the Iranian Resistance has also emphasized that the outcome of any such investigation should be the international prosecution of Ebrahim Raisi and other known perpetrators of crimes against humanity in Iran.”