The 33rd session of the trial of a former Iranian prison official, Hamid Noury took place on Tuesday at Stockholm’s District Court with former political prisoner Reza Fallahi taking to the stand to give his testimony.
Noury was arrested by Swedish authorities during a trip to Sweden in 2019 and charged under universal jurisdiction for his torture of inmates in Gohardasht prison, as well as his involvement in the 1988 massacre in Iran, during which over 30,000 political prisoners were executed following orders from then-supreme leader Ruhollah Khomeini.
The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) said, “At the time of the 1988 massacre, Fallahi was in Gohardasht prison. According to his testimony, the regime was preparing for the massacre in advance.”
Fallahi described the situation he found himself in when he was first taken to Gohardasht. He told the court that prisoners were met with many restrictions on what they could do and were prevented from meeting with each other, and over time the quantity and quality of food diminished. He said this gave them an idea that something was being planned but at that stage, they didn’t know what.
Back then, Friday prayer sermons were often broadcasted into the prison. Fallahi said, “The people who spoke at the Friday prayers were calling for the execution of MEK prisoners. These slogans are usually prepared and organized in advance. We realized that the regime is preparing the grounds for [the executions].”
Fallahi recalled how towards the end of July 1988, several prisoners were taken away by prison guards from his ward, only to return hours later having been brutally tortured, with visible marks from beatings on their backs.
The massacre began on July 30. Men and women were brought to the prison, blindfolded and led to the ceremony hall. Fallahi said he only realized later that they had been specifically brought to Gohardasht to be executed.
The MEK said, “Fallahi stressed that during the executions, notorious judge Mohammad Moghiseh, who was known as Nasserian in prison, made sure all prison guards participated in the executions.”
Fallahi told how he was taken down to the ‘death corridor’, a hallway where prisoners lined up and waited to be processed by the ‘death commission’. The ‘death commission’ consisted of a group of regime officials who were tasked with holding minute-long trials to assess the prisoners’ loyalties. Those who refused to denounce the MEK were immediately sent to their deaths. The regime’s current president Ebrahim Raisi, along with former justice minister Mostafa Pourhammadi, were among the key members of the death commission.
The MEK said, “Very few people went into the death hall and came back to tell the story. Those who did have given horrific accounts of how the regime humiliated and tortured prisoners even in the last minutes of their lives.”
Responding to the prosecutor’s question of what happened to the other prisoners in the death corridor, Fallahi responded that he never saw them again and that they had all been executed during the massacre. According to the victims’ families, after they had been informed of the executions, they were warned not to hold any ceremonies for their loved ones.
The MEK said, “Like other former prisoners who testified in court, Fallahi testified that he saw prison guards carry hanging ropes in wheelbarrows. He also witnessed prison guards quarreling among themselves when they were looting the prisoners’ bodies.”