On Monday, November 15, the 38th session of the Swedish trial of Hamid Noury, an Iranian prison official, continued in the western Albanian province of Durres, where it is being hosted. Hamid Noury is being held to account for torturing inmates and playing a role in the extrajudicial executions of 1988 in Iran. Swedish authorities had 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).
The hot subject in Iran is the people’s decision to seek justice from the regime. Especially for the victims of the 1988 massacre and the November 2019 protests.
Now Iran has become a common battlefield to put the regime behind the desk of justice. Today’s testimony of Akbar Samadi, a survivor of the 1988 massacre, like the other witnesses of the massacre, is revealing other parts of this horrific action. An act that started with a religious decree by the regime’s then supreme leader Ruhollah Khomeini and revealed the brutality behind Islamic fundamentalism and its enmity toward all forms of freedom.
Now it has been past 33 years since that massacre and most parts of the event are not known by the Iranian people and even the main victims the members of the resistance and the MEK. The truth is that this evidence is just a small part of the reality.
When this small part is so astonishing and shocking, we must be sure that most parts of this crime are still untold and spread all over the country. From the families of the victims to the nameless mass and single graves of the victims which are spread all over the country.
Another noteworthy point in these testimonies is the need to go beyond the specific event of the 1988 massacre. This massacre was not an individual event. From the day after June 20, 1981, Khomeini, with the help of other cruel people of his newly founded regime, performed a series of massacres in prisons, according to dissidents.
During their testimonies in the last three court sessions, former political prisoners Mohammad Zand, Majid Saheb-Jam, and Asghar Mehdizadeh, pointed to 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, an almost empty ward, 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.
“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.”
1988 Massacre Survivor Akbar Samadi Testifies
During the 37th session of Hamid Noury’s trial, Akbar Samadi, a former political prisoner who spent 10 years in Gohardasht prison for supporting the MEK, gave his testimony. Notably, Mr. Samadi was only 14 years old, when he was jailed.
“As we were being transferred, Davoud Lashgari [one of the senior authorities of Gohardasht] saw us and yelled at the prison guards, ‘Why have you brought this group? Don’t bring them until I’ve called them by name,’” Samadi said.
“They had emptied a building in preparation for the massacre,” Samadi said, adding, “Since this section had no connection to the other sections, and the administrative building prevented this ward from being connected to other wards, it was located far from the other wards. That is why they had chosen it as the site to carry out the executions.”
“All that we heard indicated changes and certain developments in the making. A number of the prisoners had seen Davoud Lashgari and several prison guards in the ward’s TV room. They had a wheelbarrow with ropes (nooses),” he said.
“When I was there, I witnessed several times that Hamid Noury read out the names of the prisoners who were to be executed,” Samadi said.
“On August 3 when I was in the Death Corridor, I was sitting around the middle, and the prisoners whose names were read out would line up right in front of me. I would clearly see Hamid Abbasi when he was busy reading out names and lining the prisoners up. I have no doubt it was him. On August 3, I saw Hamid Abbasi several times as he was reading out names and those prisoners were taken to the Death Hall. I was just a few meters away from him. Hamid Abbasi was also busy in the Death Hall. His main task was to read out names and take prisoners to the Death Hall.”