On March 14, 2017, a side meeting entitled “Massacre of Political Prisoners in Iran from 1988 to 2017” was held at the UN. One of the speakers was Azade Zabeti, the Director of JVMI (Justice for the Victims of the Massacre in Iran) and vice president of the Committee of Iranian Lawyers.
Ms. Zabeti noted that there was a red line within the Iranian regime, with 28 years of silence regarding the massacre until the release of the Ayatollah Montazeri audio tape last year. “It was as if a bomb had gone off,” said Zabeti. She also noted that the tape is very detailed, as it was recorded at the time of the massacre. He even stated on the tape that “history will not forgive us”.
The work being done with survivors and victims’ families has revealed what the families find galling is that the ones who perpetrated the killings have not been punished, but appear to have been rewarded by the Iranian regime. This includes receiving higher positions within the Iranian regime today.
The case of a father of two victims wrote in a letter, “There was no investigation, there was no fair trial for my son.” This particular father knows where his son is buried, but does not know in what mass grave his daughter was buried. But this massacre deserves justice, but this is not in the past. The families are still being persecuted, as protesters and freedom fighters continue to face prison terms and executions within Iran.
Political prisoners are often charged under blasphemy against God or propaganda against the regime, both vague charges that can be drummed up for those who question the regime in anyway or disagree with the Iranian government and work for change.
“So much of what has gone on in Iran over the past 37 years has roots in what happened in the 1980s, the reign of terror and all that followed,” said Zabeti. She also quoted from a letter discussing Ahmad Montazeri, the son of Ayatollah Montazeri.
The Iranian people have the right to a secular Iran with all the freedoms and “that we need to be a voice to all those in Iran that don’t have a voice.”