Iranhumanrights.org – In a letter to the United Nations Human Rights Council and the International Criminal Court, one hundred Iranians living outside Iran, including several prominent civil, academic, and human rights figures, have asked for the recognition of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s prison massacre of 1988 as a crime against humanity.
According to the authors of this letter, “the legal basis for the court’s jurisdiction regarding Iran would be a referral by the UN Security Council under Chapter VII of the UN Charter but political interests of the members with veto power prevent the realization of this option.”
“We, the undersigned, consider the 1988 massacre of Iranian political prisoners to be a clear case of Crime against Humanity. We urge international human rights organizations and the United Nations Human Rights Council to condemn the Islamic Republic of Iran for its systematic hostility to the civil and political rights of its citizens,” states the letter.
The letter emerged a few weeks after an audio recording of a 1988 meeting between Ayatollah Hosseinali Montazeri, then heir apparent to Islamic Republic of Iran founder Ayatollah Khomeini, and a group of high-level state officials and clerics who orchestrated the mass executions and later became known as the “Death Committee,” was published.
In this meeting, the late Ayatollah Montazeri called the group’s decision to issue death sentences for prisoners who were already serving prison terms issued by the Iranian Judiciary “the biggest crime in the Islamic Republic – a crime that will condemn us all in history.”
Following publication of this audio file, some officials and even Mostafa Pourmohammadi, one of the individuals present at the meeting who is now Iran’s Justice Minister in President Hassan Rouhani’s cabinet, defended the executions.
Some of the signatories of the letter to the Human Rights Council include Shirin Ebadi (Nobel Laureate), Hadi Ghaemi (Human Rights Advocate), Mehrangiz Kar (Human Rights Lawyer and Author), Esfandiar Monfaredzadeh (Composer), Nasser Pakdaman (Writer), Nayereh Tohidi (Professor) and Mohsen Yalfani (Writer). Below is the complete text of the letter and the full list of signatories.
Below is the complete text of the letter and a list of signatories.
The Islamic Republic of Iran, in its 37-year history, has executed more than 15,000 political prisoners. In 1988, Ayatollah Khomeini, the country’s Supreme Leader at the time, ordered mass execution of political prisoners. According to Amnesty International, at least 4,482 young men and women disappeared during a two-month period in 1988. Many of the executed prisoners had already served their sentences. The bodies of the victims were buried in unmarked graves and their families were never informed of their whereabouts. In 2012, a people’s tribunal, presided over by respected international judges, investigated these crimes and found Iran’s leaders guilty of crime against humanity.
Iran’s clerical leaders remained silent about the massacre for nearly thirty years. Now, an audiotape of a meeting on August 15, 1988, reveals that Ayatollah Ali Montazeri, then designated successor to Khomeini, addresses the clerics who carried out the executions and says: “let me be frank with you. You have committed the biggest crime in the Islamic Republic – a crime that will condemn us all in history.” Montazeri’s words led Ayatollah Khomeini to dismiss him as his heir apparent and pave the way for emergence of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as his successor. Montazeri died in 2009 and his son, Ahmad, posted the thirty-year old audiotape on his website on August 9, 2016.
Montazeri’s description of the massacre compelled Iran’s clerical authorities, including the chief of Judiciary Sadegh Larijani, to admit and defend the executions. The audiotape also reveals the names of the clerics who carried out the criminal acts. They include Mostafa Pourmohammadi, then deputy intelligence minister and now minister of justice in President Rouhani’s cabinet;
Hussein Ali Nayeri, then the religious judge at Evin Prison and now a high court judge; and Ebrahim Raeesi, then deputy prosecutor of Tehran and now head of Astan Quds Razavi – one of the largest Shiite shrine-based religious institutions in Iran.
As we approach the 30th anniversary of the massacre, the families of the victims are still waiting for justice. Every year while they gather to demand the truth from the government, they are harassed and violently dispersed by security forces. This is an example of the behavior that impels Iran’s theocratic dictatorship to reject the legitimacy of both the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Other reasons for Iran’s refusal to join the ICC have to do with penalties provided in Iran’s criminal law, including whipping, stoning, cutting off of body parts and mistreatment of minorities. While they see no problem in Muslims committing mass murder against other Muslims, Iran’s theocrats maintain
that Non-Muslim judges cannot judge Muslims.
In 2009, following the suppression of a popular movement against the rigged presidential election, more than 200 Iranian lawyers and human rights activists appealed to the ICC prosecutor to investigate the violence committed by Iran’s security forces. Those who took this initiative knew that the ICC is procedurally barred from responding to their request. They simply wanted to inform the international community about the Iranian government’s relentless violence against the civil society. Canada is the only country that condemns Iran’s 1988 massacre of political prisoners as crime against humanity. The legal basis for the court’s jurisdiction regarding Iran would be a referral by the UN Security Council under Chapter VII of the UN Charter but political interests of the members with veto power prevent the realization of this option.
We, the undersigned, consider the 1988 massacre of Iranian political prisoners to be a clear case of Crime against Humanity. We urge international human rights organizations and the United Nations Human Rights Council to condemn the Islamic Republic of Iran for its systematic hostility to the civil and political rights of its citizens.
1. Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh – Founder & Director, Zanan TV & NGO Training, USA
2. Reza Afshari – Professor of History at Pace University, USA
3. Maryam Ahari – Human Rights Activist, USA
4. Kazem Alamdari – Department of Sociology, California State University, Northridge, USA
5. Reza Alavi – Author and political analyst, USA
6. Bahman Amini – Human Rights Activist, France
7. Homeira Amini – Human Rights Activist, USA
8. Mehdi Amini – Human Rights Activist, USA
9. Mohammad Anousheh – Political Activist, USA
10. Shahin Anzali – Political Activist, Austria
11. Ali Arab – Associate Professor of Statistics at Georgetown University and a member of the 2016 Board of Directors of Amnesty International, USA
12. Houshang Ardavan, PhD, Emeritus staff, Institute of Astronomy and Emeritus Fellow, Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge
13. Farid Ashkan – Human Rights Activist, USA
14. Djamshid Assadi – Ph.D. Iran: Market & Democracy, France
15. Rose Samii Atwood – CEO Unique It Jobs, Inc., USA
16. Faramarz Bahar – Human Rights Activist, France
17. Panetea Bahrami – Filmmaker and Journalist, USA
18. Soheila Vahdati Bana – Human Rights Activist, USA
19. Khosro Bandari – Human Rights Activist, USA
20. Mehran Barati, Ph. D. – Analyst of future political trends, Germany
21. Mohammad Behboudi – Human Rights Activist, USA
22. Sohrab Behdad – Professor of Economics, Denison University, USA
23. Farhad Bokaee – Survivor of 1988 massacre/High School Teacher, Canada
24. Hormoz Chamanara – Political Activist, USA
25. Elahe Chokraie – Nurse, Canada
26. Bahram Choubin – Sociologist and Historian specializing in the social, political and Religion history of Iran, USA
27. Mehrdad Darvishpour – Senior Lecturer at Mälardalen University, Sweden
28. Parviz Dastmalchi – Human Rights Activist, Germany
29. Mehdi Djamshidi –
30. Shirin Ebadi – Nobel Laureate for Peace and Human Rights Defense Lawyer
31. Bijan Eftekhari – Political Activist, Austria
32. Mansour Farhang – Retired Professor of International Relations and advisory board member of Human Right Watch/Middle East and North Africa, USA
33. Soheyla Farhang, Lawyer, Forner UN professional, USA
34. Nehzat Farhoody – Ph. D., USA
35. Hadi Ghaemi, human rights advocate, USA
36. Kambiz Ghaemmagham, political activist, USA
37. Mohsen Ghaemmagham , Physician and Human rights Activist, USA
38. Shahram Ghanbari, Socilologist, U. S. A.
39. Roberto Godoy – Architect, Canada
40. Dr. Jaleh Lackner- Gohari, Former Medical Officer& Coordinator (IAEA & other UN-Agencies) Austria
41. Reza Goharzad – Journalist, USA
42. Hamid Hamidi – Human Rights Activist, USA
43. Nader Hashemi – University of Denver, USA
44. Abbas Hazheer, Poet and Composer, Sweden
45. Ata Hoodashtian – Associate Professor of Political Science, Swiss UMEF University, Switzerland
46. Mahmood Jaafari – Political activist, Netherlands
47. Mehri Jafari – Attorney at Law, LPC at University of Westminister, United Kingdom
48. Farhang Jahanpour – former professor, University of Isfahan, and tutor in the Middle East Studies, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
49. Jahanshah Javid – Publisher iroon.com, USA
50. Arsalan Kahnemuyipour – Associate Professor of Linguistics, University of Toronto, Canada
51. Abdee Kalantari – Political Activist and Author, USA
52. Sadegh Kamali – Political Activist, USA
53. Mehrangiz Kar – Human Rights lawyer and Author, USA
54. Kazem Kardavani, Sociologist, retired professor and former executive director of Iran’s Executive director of Iran’s Writer Association, Germany
55. Nasim Khaksar, writer, Holland
56. Farideh Kioumehr, DVM,MPH,Dr.PH, 1st Recipient, Peace Award from APHA Founder
57. Hamid Kowsari – Political Activist, USA
58. Alan Kushan –
59. Ali Limonadi – Television host and author, USA
60. Ahmad Machouf – Pediatrician, Canada
61. Elahe Machouf – Human Rights Activist, Canada
62. Anousheh Machouf – Psychologist, Canada
63. Nima Machouf – Epidemiologist, Canada
64. Ali Akbar Mahdi – PH. D. Department of Sociology, Calif. State University, Northridge, USA
65. Mehran Mirfakhrai – Political Activist, Italy
66. Abbas Milani – Stanford University, USA
67. Ali Mirsepassi – Professor of Sociology, New York University, USA
68. Shokooh Mirzadegi – Writer, Journalist and Human rights activist, USA
69. Mansoor Moaddel – University of Michigan, USA
70. Behrooz Moazami, Loyola University New Orleans, U. S. A.
71. Haideh Moghissi, PhD – Professor emerita and senior scholar Equity Studies, York University, Toronto, Canada
72. Fariba Davoodi Mohajer – Human Rights Activist/Journalist, USA
73. Majid Mohammadi – Iran Analyst and TV Host, Former Associate Professor of Sociology, USA
74. Shahram Mojab
75. Shahrzad Mojab, PH. D., Professor, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Canada
76. Parviz Mokhtari – Human Rights Activist, Germany
77. Esfandiar Monfaredzadeh – Composer, USA
78. Farhad Nomani, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Economics, The American University of Paris, France
79. Shawn Nowakhtar, CPA, USA
80. Nasser Pakdaman, Writer, France
81. Koroush Parsa – Political Activist, USA
82. Misagh Parsa – Dartmouth College, USA
83. Mahshid Pegahi – Women’s Rights Activist, Germany
84. Ahmad Purmandi – Political Activist, Germany
85. Fariba Rad – Human Rights Activist, USA
86. Saeed Rahnema, PhD, Retired Professor,York University, Canada
87. Fatemeh Rezaie – Human Rights Activist, Germany
88. Taraneh Roosta – Women’s Righs Activist, USA
89. Banoo Saberi – Wife of a political prisoners executed in 1988, USA
90. Reza Saffari – Human Rights Activist, Canada
91. Kourosh Sehati – Human Rights Activist, USA
92. Soli Shahvar, PH. D. Director, The Ezri Center for Iran @Persian Gulf Studies, The University of Haifa, Israel
93. Hassan Shariatmadari – Political Activist and Author, Germany
94. Behrouz Sotoodeh – Political Activist, USA
95. Raheleh Tarani – Political Activist, Canada
96. Mehdi Khanbaba Tehrani- Political Activist, Germany
97. Nayereh Tohidi – Professor at California State University, Northridge, USA
98. Mohsen Yalfani, Writer, France
99. Reza Fani Yazdi – Former Political Prisoner, Political Analyst, CIO of CPUC, USA
100. Hamid Zangeneh, Professor of Economics, Widener University, USA