1,000 political prisoners and witnesses of torture in Iran’s prisons took part in a conference, that coincides with the 1988 Massacre’s 33rd anniversary, to demand that the officials of the Iranian regime should be prosecuted for their involvement in the mass murders of political prisoners in the summer of 1988.
During the 1988 massacre, based on Khomeini’s fatwa, the clerical regime executed at least 30,000 political prisoners. Most of the victims were members and supporters of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK/PMOI). They were massacred for their steadfast commitment to MEK’s ideals and the Iranian people’s freedom.
One of the speakers at the conference was Geoffrey Robertson QC, a Human Rights Barrister and the first President of the United Nations Special Court for Sierra Leone who has previously investigated the 1988 massacre.
In his speech, he said, “It seems to me that there is very strong evidence that this was a genocide. It applies to killing or torturing a certain group for their religious beliefs. A religious group that did not accept the backward ideology of the Iranian regime… There is no doubt that there is a case for prosecuting [regime President Ebrahim] Raisi and others.”
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) laid out Robertson’s entire speech from the conference, which began with Robertson describing his investigation into the massacre.
On behalf of Boroman Foundation, he interviewed around 50 survivors who had been imprisoned during that time. In late July and August of 1988, thousands of members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) were sent before a death committee.
Robertson said, “They were without any trial, without any defense lawyers, without anything, they were sent by the dead committee to a corridor on the left so-called court and they were taken and hanged.”
He said all members of the death committee, including the Iranian regime’s new president, Ebrahim Raisi, knew they were sending thousands of prisoners to their death as they implemented the fatwa issued by the Supreme Leader at the time, Ruhollah Khomeini.
Robertson said, “It was a crime; it has been a crime for centuries to kill prisoners without trial, to kill those who have been surrendered or have been in your custody.”
He went on to discuss if what happened can be lawfully seen as genocide, saying that for an act like this to be seen as an act of genocide, ‘it has to be the killing of a group on the basis of their race and religion, not on the basis of their politics’.
Robertson said, “…the race, and religion are the two factors that most usually make hatred, hatred between neighbors, hatred between different classes of people…and also race is something you can’t help; religion very often is something you can’t help.”
He believes that because the religious ideologies the MEK held to was different from that of the regime’s ideologies, this was the reason behind the regime’s disdain for the resistance group. He said that the Iranian regime ‘intended to destroy were those who held a different view of Islam’.