Sunday, November 6, 2016

Call for prosecution of those responsible for the 1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran

Call for prosecution of those responsible for the 1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran

To:  All individuals and NGO’s who support a free and democratic Iran

4 November 2016 Statement

Call for prosecution of those responsible for the 1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran and the ongoing genocide of thousands of Iranians to date, as a crime against humanity

Coinciding with the escalation in recent weeks of arbitrary executions in Iran, revelations of new details on the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in 1988 have shocked the Iranian society. 

On August 9, the son of the late Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri posted an audio recording online, dating to the time when Montazeri was still the next in line for the supreme leadership. In it, he described the massacre in vivid detail, condemned the members of the “death commission” appointed by Khomeini as the perpetrators of the Islamic Republic’s greatest crime, and effectively broke with the regime, turning himself from heir-apparent into enemy of the state. 

According to a former deputy to the Ministry of Intelligence, 33,700 political prisoners were executed in the massacre carried out on Khomeini's orders in July 1988. A former official of the presidential office put the total at more than 20,000. 

Khomeini declared in his Fatwa: “As the treacherous Hypocrites [Mojahedin] do not believe in Islam and their statements are rooted in deception and hypocrisy, and as their leaders have confessed that they have become renegades, and as they are waging war on God, … it is decreed that those who are in prison throughout the country and remain steadfast in their support for the Hypocrites are waging war on God and are condemned to execution.” 

Ayatollah Montazeri wrote three letters of protest to Khomeini and the death commission, warning "the massacre of thousands of people in just a few days" would have adverse consequences. The Mojahedin represent “an idea and a way of thinking,” he wrote, and “their credibility will be enhanced” by the killings. 

Many of those condemned had been previously sentenced to prison terms. They were either serving or had even completed their sentences. Other execution victims arrested in the wake of Khomeini's decree were prisoners who had been released, or people with family ties to PMOI members. 

Amnesty International wrote that 10 people were executed almost every day between August and December 1988. Later, prisoners learned that the same was going on in other prisons. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the International Federation of Human Rights Leagues have declared the massacre a crime against humanity.

While U.S. policymakers and lawmakers are focused on reversing Iran’s nuclear threat, Iran continues to pose other serious challenges to America’s national security interests and core values.  This fact sheet focuses on Iran’s human rights record since Hassan Rouhani assumed the regime’s presidency under Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamanei.

I.  General  Overview

The Iranian regime’s systematic violations of human rights have continued since President Hassan Rouhani assumed office in August 2013.  As the U.S. State Department’s annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices  in February 2014:  “The most egregious human rights problems were the government’s manipulation of the electoral process, which severely limited citizens’ right to change their government peacefully through free and fair elections; restrictions on civil liberties, including the freedoms of assembly, speech, and press; and disregard for the physical integrity of persons 
whom it arbitrarily and unlawfully detained, tortured, or killed.

Under Rouhani, Iran  roughly 900 political prisoners, including reform activists, human rights defenders, journalists and bloggers, and students.  Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, the U.N. special rapporteur for human rights in Iran, warned in a March 2014 statement:  “hundreds of individuals reportedly remain in some form of confinement for exercising their fundamental rights; including some 39 journalists and bloggers, 92 human rights defenders, 179 Baha’i, 98 Sunni Muslims, 49 Christians, and 14 Dervish Muslims.  It is also distressing that the leaders of the Green Movement, Mr. Mir Hussain Mosavi and Mr. Mehdi Keroubi remain in detention after three years in the absence of 

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reported in December 2013 that the Iranian regime “continued to make new arrests and to condemn minority and reformist journalists to lengthy prison sentences despite the election in June of a new president, Hassan Rouhani,” adding that Iranian authorities were holding at least 35 journalists in prison, the second-highest total in the world. 

Being an LGBT person in Iran “may be punishable by death or flogging.”  As the U.S. State  Department’s annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices noted in February 2014:  “The law [in Iran] criminalizes consensual same-sex sexual activity, which may be punishable by death or flogging.  Security forces harassed, arrested, and detained individuals they suspected of being gay.  In some cases security forces raided houses and monitored internet sites for information on LGBT persons.  Those accused of sodomy often faced summary trials, and evidentiary standards were not 
always met.”

The Iranian regime executed more people per capita than any other country, executing as many as 687 people in 2013—an increase of 165 over the prior year.  In March 2014, Reuters quoted Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, the U.N. special rapporteur for human rights in Iran, as saying:  "I am still at a loss to understand how a reformist president should be in office and see such a sharp rise in executions.  The government hasn't given an explanation, which I would like to hear.”

The United Nations cited an increase in the rate of executions in Iran under Rouhani’s presidency in the second half of 2013.  As the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) noted in an April 2014 report:  “An escalation in executions, including of political prisoners and individuals belonging to ethnic minority groups such as Baloch, Ahwazi Arabs and Kurds, was notable in the second half of 2013.  At least 500 persons are known to have been executed in 2013, including 57 in public.  According to some sources, the figure may be as high as 625.”

Hashem Shaabani Nejad, an Iranian poet, was executed in January for charges that included “waging war on god.”  As the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC) reported in January 2014:  “According to an IHRDC source, intelligence officials called the homes of these two individuals on January 29 and informed their families that they have been executed.  The second branch of the Ahvaz Islamic Revolutionary Court had sentenced them to death on charges of muharibih (or ‘waging war on God’), sowing corruption on earth, propaganda against the Islamic Republic and acting against national security.  Mr. Rashedi and Mr. Sha’baninejad were teachers from the town of Ramshir in Khuzestan Province.”

Under Rouhani, Iranian authorities have executed more than two people per day in 2014.  As Iran Human Rights reported in June 2014:  “at least 320 prisoners have been executed in 2014 in Iran. Iranian official sources have announced at least 147 executions in the period between 1  January and 1 June 2014.  In addition, more than 180 executions have been reported by human rights groups and not announced by the official sources.  Based on these numbers, the Iranian authorities have executed in average, more than 2 people every day in the first five months of 2014.  This is despite the fact that there has been a 3 week’s halt in the executions around the Iranian New Year in March.”

II.  Religious Persecution and Political Repression

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom’s 2014 Annual Report listed Iran among the worst violators of religious freedom, writing:  “The government of Iran continues to engage in systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom, including prolonged detention, torture, and executions based primarily or entirely upon the religion of the accused.”

Human Rights Watch (HRW) stated in its World Report 2014 that the Iranian regime “denies freedom of religion to adherents of the Baha’i faith, Iran’s largest non-Muslim religious minority, and discriminates against them.”  In May 2014, HRW reported:  “The Baha’i International Community says that as of December 2013, there are 136 Baha’is that are in prison in Iran solely on religious grounds.  Among those are the seven former Baha’i leaders, who are nearly six years into 20-year sentences in a trial that fell short of international standards.”

Iran has kept under house arrest leading opposition figures such as Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi whom the regime detained after they called for street protests in February 2011. As Human Rights Watch stated in January 2014:  “Authorities have released some prominent political prisoners but executions continued at high rates.  Officials continued to detain many civil society activists and leading opposition figures, including the 2009 presidential candidates Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi; and the government denied entry to the United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in Iran.”

Neither candidate has been charged with a crime.  As the Guardian reported in May 2014:  “Both Mousavi and Karroubi are suffering age-related medical complications:  both are over 70 and were taken to hospital a number of times last year.  Neither has been put on trial nor publicly charged....”
Iran’s judiciary and laws are used by the regime in Tehran to silence perceived critics.  As Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, the U.N. special rapporteur for human rights in Iran, said in March 2014:  “Iran is still overlaid by very draconian, as it were, sorts of practices in the judiciary, the intelligence officials (and) the Revolutionary Guard in a system that is actually working to suppress the rights of people.”
Iranian authorities use cruel and degrading punishments prohibited under international law.  The U.N.’s April 7th Report of the Secretary-General states:  “The recurrence of cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment, such as amputation of limbs and flogging remains a cause for concern.  The judiciary has frequently applied punishments which are prohibited by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the Islamic Republic of Iran is a State party.  The revised Islamic Penal Code provides for limb amputations for offences including muharaba [enmity or war against God] and theft, and flogging for drinking alcohol, theft and certain sexual offences.”

Laws are “seemingly flouted by individuals and groups with impunity.”  Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, the U.N. special rapporteur for human rights in Iran, warned in March 2014 that “despite the existence of laws and provisions, in practice these laws are seemingly flouted by individuals and groups with impunity.”

International lawmakers warn Rouhani’s appointee as justice minister has been implicated in major human rights abuses.  As Irwin Cotler, Member of the Canadian Parliament, wrote in May 2014:  “There is a complete absence of judicial independence and rule of law in Iran. Indeed, the entire legal system is designed to enable and enforce the regime’s massive repression of human rights, and underpinning a culture of impunity for its violators.  In this regard, it is outrageous that Rouhani’s appointee as justice minister is Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi – a man implicated in a litany of major human rights violations, including the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners.”

In April 2014 dozens in the political prisoner block of Tehran’s Evin Prison were beaten, denied medical care, or placed in solitary confinement, according to reports.  As Amnesty International stated in May 2014:  “According to information available to Amnesty International, prison guards blindfolded and handcuffed many prisoners before forcing them to run the gauntlet of the ‘baton tunnel’, where they were repeatedly struck on their backs, heads and faces.  Some were then taken by minibus to another section of Evin Prison, Section 240, which is used to hold prisoners in solitary confinement.  They did not receive medical attention, despite their injuries, but rather were subjected to forcible shaving of their heads and facial hair and then placed in solitary confinement.”

The Iranian regime continues to limit the public’s freedom of expression and public access to information.  As the National Endowment for Democracy’s Center for International Media Assistance reported in March 2014:  “The Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Iran’s elite military unit, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, command one of the world’s most extensive Internet tracking and censorship operations.  For years, Twitter, Facebook, and millions of smaller websites have been blocked.  Internet users have been dogged by surveillance, intimated by cyber police, and arrested for their online activities, particularly those deemed to be critical of the government or contrary to official interpretations of Islam.”

Freedom House’s 2014 report Freedom in the World rated Iran “not free,” writing:  “Freedom of expression is severely limited.  The government directly controls all television and radio broadcasting.  Satellite dishes are popular, despite being illegal.  Censorship, both official and self-imposed, is widespread, and cooperation with Persian-language satellite news channels based abroad is banned.”

Attacks against online users in Iran are on the rise.  As the National Endowment for Democracy’s Center for International Media Assistance noted in March 2014:  “When Rouhani won a surprise victory in June 2013, optimism swept the Iranian blogosphere…  Months later, hope for a freer Internet has faded.  Attacks against online users are escalating and, so far, the president has not spoken out publicly in their behalf. ‘Censorship of the Internet has only gotten worse, but it’s more and more clear that Rouhani does not have complete control over this process,’ said cyber security expert Collin Anderson who has conducted research on Iran’s Internet infrastructure.”

In May 2014, the Iranian regime reportedly sentenced eight Facebook users to prison terms ranging between 7 and 20 years.  As The New York Times reported on May 27th:  “Kaleme, an opposition website based abroad, reported on Tuesday that a judge in a Tehran revolutionary court had convicted eight Facebook users of numerous offenses, including propaganda against the state, insulting Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, blasphemy and spreading falsehoods.  All were arrested by the cybercrime unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards during 2013, the website reported, and received unusually tough sentences, ranging from 7 to 20 years.”

III. Deceptive Maneuver of Changing the Law and Reducing the Number of Executions by the Mullahs

In a deceptive maneuver that has been started since several years ago mullah Pour Mohammadi, Rouhani's Minister of Justice, underscoring the fact that death penalty cannot be ignored said, " the number of death penalties and its application should be reviewed.... However, death penalty continues to be in the agenda but not as much as it is being done nowadays" (ILNA, state news agency- 29 October 2016). Coincident with the General Assembly session, he is repeating this crude pledge while the regime sent to the gallows 77 people just in this September.

Pour Mohammadi  is one of the members of Death Committee in Tehran in the course of political prisoners massacre in 1988. Defending such a crime against humanity, he said two months ago, " we are proud to have implemented the God's law against the PMOI, and stood firm in the face of the enemies of God and the nation... There should be no mercy for the Monafeqin (the term used by the regime for PMOI members and supporters)."

There is no doubt that the remarks of Pour Mohammadi and other regime's officials are on the one hand to prevent ratification of a strong resolution by the UN General Assembly condemning violation of human rights in Iran, and on the other hand because of the regime's fear of growing public opposition to executions. Accordingly, the time has come for the international community to hold the religious fascism ruling Iran accountable for its crimes, and to prevent it from continuing repression, instead of falling prey to it hollow maneuvers and making concessions to it by helping it get released out of the corner and encourage it to continue executions and killings.

Since two years ago the leaders of the Iranian regime have pledged repeatedly that the number of executions will be reduced by changing the law. Coincident with the sessions of the General Assembly of the United Nations, or on the eve of the regime's sham elections, such lies, extremely needed more than before by the regime's appeasers to justify their deals with the regime, are being heard more and more.

Also, in these days that the Justice Seeking movement for 30,000 martyrs of the 1988 massacre is getting widespread, the mullahs' regime is in more need of such ridiculous maneuvers.

In his report to the current session of General Assembly regarding the human rights in Iran, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon worte, "since 2009, there has been a pattern of executions dropping significantly before polling day then dramatically increasing afterwards."

JavadLarijani, in charge of the so-called human rights in the regime", told France 24 two years ago, "we have this much drug-related crimes according to the existing law which they are receiving capital punishment. We are crusading to change this law and if we are successful to pass it in the parliament almost 80 percent of the executions would go away and it is a big news for us." (5 December 2014)

Seventy days ago he said, "we are against full removal of capital punishment because for some very dangerous crimes there should be capital punishment. Furthermore, there are cases such as castigation that is related to divine Law. Even regarding drug-related crimes, we do not advocate full removal of capital punishment, rather we are after reviewing the law…reviewing drug law is not equivalent to removal of death penalty. of the issues for which we execute capital punishment is of course the issue of castigation that... we are very proud of." (state media- 23 August 2016)

The regime's parliament (Majlis) has also participated in this deceptive and ridiculous maneuver for the last 2 years. Mohammad Ali Esfanani, the spokesman of the Majlis judicial committee, talked two years ago about the bill of reduction of capital punishment. He said, "the idea of reducing capital punishment about drug-related crimes will be definitely welcomed by many in Majlis.... At the same time the legal and judicial committee of Majlis in the Code of Criminal Procedure that is going to be enforced from July 2015 has referred to commutation of the punishment for drug-related crimes." (IRNA news agency- 23 December 2014)

Last year and coincident with the session of General Assembly, Mir HadiGharaseyyedRoomiani, member of the judicial committee board of directors of Mjlis informed that more than 70 MPs had signed for the plan of removal of capital punishment from the drug law and said, "By ratifying this plan, capital punishment will be implemented only in armed smuggling cases." He added, "Once this plan has been ratified, all prisoners who are currently in prison will be released." (state media- 8 December 2015)

Once again this same disgusting game was repeated this fall when the General Assembly started. Mullah Hassan Nowrouzi, the spokesman of Majlis legal and judicial committee, informed of the plan of commutation of capital punishment signed by 100 MPs. He said, "Today this plan is going to be presented to the parliament's board of directors." He reiterated, "This plan will cover only those individuals who have carried drugs for the first time or a small amount of it." (Tasnim- Quds Force news agency, 4 October 2016)

A month later on 30 October 2016, this same mullah said in his interview with the regime's radio and TV news agency, "We presented a plan with 76 signatures to the Majlis board of directors today which says individuals who have carried drugs or were fallen prey to drug traffickers, provided that they do not have criminal record, should not be executed," however "those who act as a gang and have criminal record are referred to as corrupt on earth and should be eliminated and executed…we are not against destroying corrupt on earth." 

IV.  Iranian Regime at it’s weakest

These deceptive maneuvers as well as a number of cosmetic decisions taken by the Iranian Regime lately are indicative of the weakness and fragile situation of a regime that is deeply scared of frustrated people uprising, and has no way forward and no way back in the deadlock of increasing domestic and international crises.

The Iranian military is currently at its weakest and incapable of any real military action while most of the atrocities are carried out by puppets and officials close to the clerical regime.


We, the undersigned NGO’s and Organizations, ask everyone’s support and assistance to demand from the United Nations:

1.       to strongly condemn the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in Iran, as well as the continuing killing and execution of the Iranian people and to put a stop to the ongoing genocide in that country.   

2.       to establish a truth commission about this massacre and the ongoing prosecution of the Iranian people. 

3.   UN High Commissioner on Human Rights and the Human Rights Council, the UN General Assembly and Security Council to put the investigation into this atrocity on their agenda, and to bring to justice its perpetrators and masterminds before the International Criminal Court.

The time to act and to restore a democratic and free Iran, free from the shackles of an oppressive and draconic theocratic government, is NOW. 

Kindest Regards
Stes de Necker

Int. Dipl. Ambassador
4 November 2016

For and on behalf of the following 103 International NGO’s

Note:  This declaration only binds the NGO’s who have signed the Statement. 


International Monitoring Commission for Human Rights

Islamic Middle Party Jordan

MunshiPrem Chandra memorial children committee- India

NCPC - The National Coalition Party of Canada

Online media for innovative independent humanitarian projects around the world on topics including national and international politics.

Global peace & human rights advocate

International Criminal Court Alliance Los Angeles, California

Lawyers Union for Democratic and Legal Studies Egypt

Sangram,Jharkhand (fight for right)-India

Lavinia Dickinson Project.-Italy

People's Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR)- India

Association of Democratic Jurists (ANGD) Italy

Beihani Association Yemen

Consultancy to establish International Human Rights & Peace concerns Organization.Pakistan

Human Rights for women and children- Jordan

Movement for Justice Peace & Human Rights International-Pakistan

ICBC International Committee of the Blue Cross and Blue Crescent

Muslim & non-Muslim unity and development association-Philippines

National Organization for Defending Rights and Freedom (HOOD) Yemen.

New Indian Women Development Association.

Pox Christi Australia.

Planet of the arts of diplomacy and activism for human rights Civil Rights and Social Justice

Tunisia Green Party Tunisia

Water Supply & Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC)-Geneva

World Academy Human Of Sciences.-Italy

Diplomatic Embassy to the service of peace between Nations and human promotion.-Italy

Association Amis des Enfants Australia (Friends Association for Children Australia)

World Interfaith Harmony Week –India.

World Students' Peace Federation Pakistan

International Human Right Council - IHRC

Italian Association of Democratic Lawyers Italy

Muslims/Non-Muslims Affairs. AtSPMUDA INTERNATIONAL

The World Peace Committee- India

loyal Foundation-Uganda

Poets for Human Rights International Group

Syrian Continuous Development Center Egypt

Blue Cross and Blue Crescent Society

Human Rights and Democracy Media Center (SHAMS) Palestine.

World academy of Human Sciences – Italy.

Press Ambassadress for Human Rights.

Socionomic Rural Urban Development India - SRUDI

Overseas Pakistan solidarity

The Center for Public Integrity

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ)

Council of inter Parliament Organizations, IGO-Lebanon

The National Press Club

United Refugee Green Council- Italy

World Peace Committee, Nigeria

WSPF - World Students Peace Federation

Association in Defense of Human Rights (LADDH) Algeria


HaiyaAlalFalah Educational Welfare Society- India

Association of Human Rights (APDHE) Spain

Association of International Humanitarian Noble Academy-IHUNA Italy

Association Watching The Sky Genoa, Italy

Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan & member of the SOS-Network of OMCT Azerbaijan

International Commission of Diplomatic Relations Human Rights and Peace

Africa Youth Network for Justice, Peace & Progress(AYNJPP) Togo

International Society for Human Rights (ISHRA) Australia

Rainbird Foundation-Non-profit organization-at Madison, Wisconsin

International Human Rights Commission (IHRC) Bangladesh


HE Rjiba Maher - Foundation Rjiba

Freedom House Foundation (FHF) Yemen

Humanitarian causes for culture of world peace Palestine

world aid organizations for human rights United nation- India

world aid organizations for human rights United nationSouthern Philippines

World Peace Committee (WPC) Malaysia

People's Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) India

Forum for rights of weavers and artisans - India

Human Rights - diplomacy and activism for human rights Civil Rights and Social Justice

Human Rights Organization (OMDH) Morocco

Reform and Development Party (RDP) Egypt

Humanitarian Noble Academy-IHUNA - Italy

Arab Penal Reform Organization (APRO) Egypt

African League Organization-South Africa

Global Media for Human Civil Rights and Social Justice

Kanoni Foundation - Uganda

EveryOne Group Genoa, Italy

We Care for Humanity-United States

Diplomatic Commission Africa

AlfagrElgadeed Center for Studies and Human Rights Egypt

Alwatan Center Palestine

Yemen Center for Civil Rights (YCCR) Yemen

International Diplomatic Ambassador and FOCL South Africa

Solidarity Party Syria.

Foundation For Peace Professionals- Nigeria

Global Media For Human Rights - Media/News/Publishing

Global Peace & Human Rights Activist-India

Savitri Bai Phule memorial women forum- India

ABA's International Criminal Court Project CIVIL RIGHTS AND SOCIAL JUSTICE Brazil

International Command of the Blue Cross & Blue Crescent Corps

Reporters without Borders

Angel Intergovernmental Organization Italy

International Human Rights Commission (IHRC) Nigeria

Christian Democracy Tuscia - Viterbo provincial Department.-South Africa

International Parliament for Safety and Peace

Human Rights Organization , Bhagalpur

God Believers Association (GBA) India

Citizens Watch Russia

International Commission of Diplomatic Relations Human Rights and Peace- Egypt
Council of inter Parliament Organizations, IGO-Lebanon
St. Paul's Voice Centre of Kampala Uganda