Amnesty International has exposed the shocking scale of the 1988 Iranian massacre in a new report, which denounces the mass-murders as a crime against humanity, condemns the harassment of those seeking justice, and calls for those responsible to be held to account.
By Pooya Stone
In the summer of 1988, 30,000 political prisoners, mainly members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), were executed by the Iranian Government on the fatwa of then-supreme leader Ruhollah Khomeini.
Their bodies were then buried in anonymous mass graves, some of which have since been destroyed by the Government to cover up evidence, and the families of the victims were left in the dark about the fate of their loved ones. Despite overwhelming evidence presented by human rights groups, the Iranian opposition, and even some Government insiders, the Government has systematically denied the massacre to the Iranian people and the international community.
They’ve even gone so far as to launch a massive crackdown on those seeking the truth.
No one has faced justice for their crimes and, worse still, many still have influence in Iran today, like current Minister of Justice Alireza Avaei, the Minister of Justice until 2017 Mostafa Pour Mohammadi, the current head of the Supreme Court for Judges Hossein Ali Nayyeri, and 2017 presidential candidate Ebrahim Raisi.
Amnesty wrote that the failure to bring the criminals to justice, in this case, makes the 1988 massacre an ongoing crime against humanity and so the international community is obligated to seek justice on behalf of the victims.
It is therefore imperative that the United Nations and the International Criminal Court work together to ensure independent criminal investigations.
However, it is equally important that bodies like the European Union do not ignore these atrocities, especially not when using the flimsy excuses of trade or the nuclear deal. EU High Representative Federica Mogherini should be less concerned with building a relationship with the mullahs and more concerned with helping the people of Iran, who are advocating for the overthrow of the mullahs.
Alejo Vidal-Quadras, president of the Brussels-based International Committee in Search of Justice and former vice president of the European Parliament, wrote: “We, in Europe, know that bringing justice to the victims of a crime against humanity not only means justice for those affected but a lesson of history for all to remember. We bring justice not only to close a case but also to remind us and the next generations that crimes against humanity cannot be under any circumstances left unpunished so that they never ever could happen again.”