Amnesty International: Iran covering up 1988 massacre

Iran covering up 1988 massacre

By INU Staff

INU- Amnesty International published a video yesterday of former Iranian prime minister Mir Hossein Mousavi from December 1988, where he distorts the truth about the 1988 massacre of political prisoners, in response to public debate about the extent to which Mousavi and his government knew about the 30,000 executions that took place in the so-called “summer of blood”.

He said that the Regime “repressed” the political prisoners before moving swiftly onto criticising opposition group the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) in an effort to legitimise the executions.

Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International, said: “Mir Hossein Mousavi’s interview with the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation, ORF, shows that, in late 1988, he unashamedly propagated the same false narrative, used by other Iranian authorities for decades, to hide the truth that they had forcibly disappeared and extrajudicially executed at least 5,000 political dissidents as part of a systematic effort to eliminate political opposition.”

The publication of this video follows the release of a report into the Regime’s three-decade-long cover-up campaign about the massacre, which found that regime members at all levels attempted to divert attention away from the massacre or justify it through increasingly desperate means.

Under international law, the mass enforced disappearance and extrajudicial executions constitute crimes against humanity and are therefore unjustifiable. The Regime has also never explained how these political prisoners, being held in maximum-security Iranian prisons were able to communicate secretly with MEK members. In fact, survivors confirm that they were never even asked about communications with the MEK.

In the years since, dozens and perhaps even hundreds of Regime officials have denied or lied about the massacre, even sometimes claiming that the victims did not exist, creating a climate of secrecy that shielded those responsible from justice.

Those responsible for denying the massacre include:
• then minister of interior Abdollah Noori
• then minister of foreign affairs Ali Akbar Velayti
• deputy foreign minister in 1989 Mohammad Hossein Lavasani
• deputy foreign minister in 1990 Manouchehr Mottaki
• then permanent representative to the UN in Geneva Sirous Nasseri
• then permanent representative to the UN in New York Mohammad Jafar Mahallati
• then chargé d’affaires in London Mohammad Mehdi Akhoundzadeh Basti
• then chargé d’affaires in Ottawa Mohammad Ali Mousavi.

Luther said: “Direct perpetrators of the prison massacres are not the only people who must be subject to criminal investigations. Given the authorities’ ongoing refusal to reveal the whereabouts of those killed, all former and current officials who have contributed to the climate of secrecy and denial facilitating the continued enforced disappearance of thousands of victims must also be held to account.”

Some of those involved in the massacre include Iran’s current justice minister, Alireza Avaei, his predecessor, Mostafa Pour Mohammadi, and former or current prosecution or judicial officials Ebrahim Raisi, Hossein Ali Nayyeri and Morteza Eshraghi, among others.
Luther said: “All former and current officials who continue to treat the mass killings as state secrets effectively stand with those who have blood on their hands. He and all other officials who have hidden and distorted the truth must respond to the demands of tormented families for truth and justice, and publicly reveal any information that they have about the mass prisoner killings and the whereabouts of the victims.”

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THE STORY OF THE 1988 MASSACRE IN IRAN