1988 Massacre of Iranian political prisoners
The big wave of execution of political prisoners in 1988 is the worst case of human rights violations in Iran. Khomeini stated in July of that year: “Those prisoners who have insisted and continue to insist on their position to support Monafeqin (Mojahedin) are Mohareb (enemy of God) and are condemned to death. If the person at any stage maintains his/her support for the Monafeqin (Mojahedin), the sentence is execution. Annihilate the enemies of Islam immediately..."
“Death committees” were formed across the country which resulted in the execution of 30,000 political prisoners the vast majority of whom were the activists of the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran who refused to back down from their position. (Read More)
A crime against humanity- time to bring the culprits to justice
Amnesty International issued a statement in 2007 saying: “The authorization for the executions was ordered by the highest levels of the Iranian leadership … Amnesty International believes that these executions are crimes against humanity... The executions of 1988 must be subject of an impartial and independent investigation, and all those who were responsible be brought to justice and get appropriate punishments”.
While the war criminals of the Second World War are still being prosecuted, those responsible for the massacre of 1988 are among the highest officials of the Iranian regime and continue to use “Moharebeh” (enmity with God) as a judicial tool for death sentences against dissidents.
Bringing those responsible for this great crime to justice is essential to prevent a repeat of these heinous crimes and crimes against humanity. The entire international community has a shared responsibility to this effect
Call for investigation by the UN- time to act
On the occasion of 25th anniversary of this massacre, we urge the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Human Rights Council and the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran to recognize the 1988 massacre of Iranian political prisoners as crimes against humanity and genocide by adopting a resolution and to demand the case to be dealt by the UN Security Council to immediately form a special tribunal to hear this case and to prosecute its perpetrators.
The executions began late July and continued in August and September in different prisons and cities and sometimes continued till the end of the year. The UN Rapporteur on the Execution wrote in his 1989 report: "On 14, 15 and 16 August 1988, 860 corpses were transferred from Evin Prison to the Behesht Zahra Cemetery.” A large number of witnesses of this massacre currently reside in Camp Ashraf and Liberty in Iraq and the Iranian regime is trying to kill them.
How to help:
We call on all lawyers and human rights defenders at the international level to join us for the establishment of this tribunal and investigation of the case of massacre of 1988 and prosecution of those responsible.
We urge the parliaments of all democratic countries to recognize the 1988 massacre as crimes against humanity and genocide by adopting a resolution and to demand the case to be dealt with by the Security Council.