On March 14, 2017, a side meeting entitled “Massacre of Political Prisoners in Iran from 1988 to 2017” was held at the UN. Mrs. Zinat Mirhashemi, an activist, spoke during the meeting and noted that it was not only members of the PMOI that were victims of this massacre.
She noted that there were communists and cultural figures that were among the victims. They were sentenced to death without a lawyer or defence counsel. Their families are seeking justice for their children and loved ones.
“These bereaved mothers have been fighting all their lives to denounce the crimes committed by the fundamentalist Islamic regime and to maintain the memory of those who fell victim to the repression in 1988,” said Mirhashemi. “What happened in Iranian prisons in 1988 left deep scars on the body and soul of the Iranian people. We cannot remain silent in the face of these tears…the suffering of these mothers.”
Mirhashemi also acknowledged that these executions were in response to the Fatwa issued by Khomenei. Death commissions took steps to eliminate any opposition to the regime. Individuals were brought before these commissions and asked for their political affiliations. If they chose not to give up their affiliation to groups deemed a threat to the regime, they were sentenced for immediate execution. These executions occurred by mass hangings and by firing squads, before they were disposed of in mass graves.
Many of those who were later put to death were originally given prison sentences, which they were in the process of serving out. Some had even finished their sentences, but had not yet been released, while others had been imprisoned without any basis. Others had actually been released, but they were rearrested and then executed in 1988.
The massacre of 1988 is a crime against humanity and those on these death commissions must be brought to trial before an international tribunal, noted Mirhashemi. She also acknowledged that there is enough evidence for such trials to take place. Failure to do so, she indicated, has emboldened the Iranian regime to continue to violate international laws and human rights.
“This is an important step to avoid further deaths in Iran,” said Mihashemi. She also indicated that the UN members bear a heavy responsibility for achieving justice for these victims. “This is the only way to move toward peace, brotherhood and progress,” said Mirhashemi.