On Friday, November 12, the 37th session of the trial of Hamid Noury, an Iranian prison official, continued in the western Albanian province of Durres hosted. Hamid Noury is held to account for torturing inmates and playing a role in the extrajudicial executions of 1988. Swedish authorities had already arrested Noury on November 9, 2019.
During the past two years, Hamid Noury denied his involvement in human rights violations, particularly the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners, mostly members, and supporters of the opposition Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK/PMOI).
However, during their testimonies in the last two sessions, former political prisoners Mohammad Zand and Majid Saheb-Jam pointed out the role of Hamid Noury in gross and systematic human rights violations, particularly in extrajudicial executions of 1988.
“They took me to a room that was later used for the ‘Death Commission.’ He was there, [Noury] changed my verdict,” Mohammad Zand testified in the court on November 10. “I realized Nasserian [the aka name of Mohammad Moghisseh] was the prison’s judiciary official and Hamid Noury was his chief of staff.”
“When we had been taken to Gohardasht prison, the guards brought us to a corridor, a ward that was almost empty, and the guards stood in lines to form a tunnel for the prisoners. As the prisoners passed through the human tunnel, the guards beat them with sticks and cables,” Saheb-Jam said in his testimony on November 11.
“I was surprised to see [Hamid Noury] there,” he said. Saheb-Jam had previously seen Noury in Evin prison, where the latter served as a normal prison guard, taking prisoners to the bathroom, torture chambers, and for breaks. “I had seen him more than ten times in Evin,” Saheb-Jam continued.
1988 Massacre Survivor Asghar Mehdizadeh Testifies
During the 37h session of Hamid Noury’s trial, Asghar Mehdizadeh, a former political prisoner who spent 13 years in various prisons supporting the MEK, gave his testimony. Notably, Mr. Mehdizadeh is one of few survivors of “Death Hall,” where executioners were taking prisoners to hang.
During the 37th session of the trial of former Iranian executioner Hamid Noury, a survivor of the #1988Massacre Asghar Mehdizadeh—the only survivor of the Death Hall—testifies in the Durres Court Albania.
He recently shared parts of his experience:pic.twitter.com/ez18GP7lnK
— Iran News Update (@IranNewsUpdate1) November 12, 2021
In this respect, Mr. Mehdizadeh had first-hand details about the atrocities of Iranian authorities, including Hamid Noury, during the mass executions of 1988.
“Next to my solitary cell, I saw the lights of few other cells were on. I called the first one through the window. He introduced himself. He was Hadi Mohammadnejad. I also told him my name. He said: ‘Asghar, they took me to the death hall. They raise the subject of interviews and intelligence cooperation; anyone who refuses would be executed the next day,’” Mr. Mehdizadeh said in his testimony.
“The next morning, two guards came for me and told me to get dressed. When I approached the death hall, I saw that there was a crowd of prisoners. At one point, I asked a prisoner what was going on. He said, ‘Is it the first time you have come here?’ I said yes. He replied, ‘Wait, they will first take you to show you the scene of the executions.’”
The Guard Took Me into the Death Hall, Mehdizadeh Recalls
“The guard who had brought me called me and took me into the death hall. I took a loom from underneath my blindfold and saw many corpses in front of a stage in the hall. I was kept some distance away from the stage. I eventually uncovered my blindfold and fainted from what I saw,” Mr. Mehdizadeh explained how the ayatollahs and their agents intended to ‘eradicate’ the MEK.
“I said to myself, God, what is going on here?” Mehdizadeh recalled. “I saw 12 MEK supporters standing on a chair each with a rope around their necks. I witnessed that next to them were other bodies of the martyrs whose feet were grabbed by the guards and dragged out of the hall.”
While the trial proceeded, several witnesses of the 1988 massacre and families of the victims gathered in front of the court in Durres and spoke to the press about the Iranian regime’s crimes against MEK members and dissidents.
“At the same time, MEK members in Ashraf 3 held a gathering in memory of the victims of the 1988 massacre. During this ceremony, many political prisoners spoke and retold accounts of the atrocities that took place in Iran’s prisons. It is worth noting that hundreds of former political prisoners are now in Ashraf 3, and many of them were prepared to testify in the Stockholm court. Due to limitations in time, only a few were accepted as plaintiffs in the case,” the MEK website reported.