The Hague: Major Rally Calls for International Inquiry into Iran 1988 Massacre

Iranian communities in the Netherlands and international legislators urged the Dutch government to head the establishment of an independent committee that will investigate the mass executions of 30,000 political prisoners in Iran in 1988 and to bring those responsible to justice.

The Iranian regime had executed over 30,000 political prisoners, the vast majority of whom were activists of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), upon a direct fatwa by Khomeini in July 1988. The victims were buried in secret mass graves. The 1988 massacre was described as one of the worst crimes in the history of the Islamic Republic by the late Hossein-Ali Montazeri, the heir apparent of Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the regime, at the time.

The protesters, some of them relatives of the victims of the 1988 massacre, made sure that the time has come to end the impunity for Iranian officials connected to this crime against humanity and those who are responsible for the serious human rights abuses in the country. The loud and colorful rally included some street displays and exhibitions that lasted for several hours.

Protesters have shown their solidarity with some 20 political prisoners, who have been on a hunger strike in the Gohardasht Prison in Karaj (west of Tehran) since July 30 in protest of the inhumane conditions as well as the repressive measures against political prisoners.

On August 31, three UN Special Rapporteurs, notably Asma Jahangir, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights situation in Iran, stated her concerns about the conditions of the political prisoners who are on hunger strike. Some of the hunger striking prisoners are in critical physical condition.

Participants and speakers urged the Dutch government and the EU to raise the issue at the upcoming session of the UN General Assembly that is scheduled to commence later in September.

The President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), Maryam Rajavi, in a message to the rally said: “EU member states and the United States collaborated with the mullahs for years and helped them cover up their crime against humanity. I urge the people of Europe to question their governments about their continued relations with a regime whose rule relies on genocide. Now, the mullahs’ lies have been revealed for the world to see. As if the massacred political prisoners and all the 120.000 executed martyrs have come to the bear witness again. We urge the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to form an independent inquiry committee to investigate the 1988 massacre”, she added.

Rajavi put an accent on the importance of putting human rights at the center of any policy toward Iran. She said, “European governments must at least make their trade and diplomatic relations with the Iranian regime contingent on an end to torture and executions. So long as the mullahs sense that they have a free hand in human rights violations in Iran, they will continue their warmongering and aggressions in the Middle East. And so long as the mullahs continue their belligerence in the region, global security and tranquillity will be endangered including in Europe.”

Taher Boumedra, who is the former director of the Human Rights Office of the United Nations in Iraq, has also addressed the rally.

“Widespread arbitrary arrests of political and human rights activists, university students, and women, ethnic and religious minorities have continued unabated for the past three decades. Over 120,000 political activists have been executed. Only in the summer of 1988 over 30,000 political prisoners were executed because of their belief for a free and democratic system. Amnesty International called it a crime against humanity,” he stated.

“This egregious situation must now be dealt with at United Nations to form an investigative Committee to bring perpetrators to justice. The UN Security Council should refer all those who have been involved with these abuses for investigation and prosecution at the International Criminal Court,” he added.

The clerical regime tried to keep a lid on this issue for 28 years. But since last year the 1988 massacre has become a public issue in Iran to a point where on June 4, the regime’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei warned about this trend and its threat to the regime in its entirety.