We have the right to know the truth and we will never give up that right, an interview with Massoumeh Raouf.
Massoumeh Raouf, a victim of the Iranian regime, is speaking out against the inhumane treatment of the mullahs. As a former political prisoner in Iran, Raouf lives in exile in Europe.
In a recent statement and interview, Raouf expressed her concerns about the regime and its treatment of her brother and family. Her 16-year-old brother spent five years in the Ayatollah’s prisons before being executed during the #1988massacre of political prisoners. In July 1988, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) transported political prisoners to the hills around Urumiyeh Lake and executed them, before putting them in mass graves. Recently, she visited an exhibition in #Paris for the victims of the 1988 massacre.
What was the impact of the exhibition on you personally?
“A picture in the display of executioners caught my attention. The despicable face of the person who, 35 years ago, ‘sentenced’ me to twenty years of imprisonment, during a 10-minute session. This took me back to the past. The picture was that of a mullah named Moghadassi Far, religious judge of the city of Rasht, and a leading member of the ‘Death Committee’ in this large city at the Caspian Sea shores, who took part in the massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners in #Iran. He is now a high-ranking official with the current regime in my homeland,” said Raouf.
What was your experience during that time of sentencing?
“I can still hear in my ears the terrifying laughter of the torturers. The criminals who used to tell us: ‘Now that we are in power, we will do with you whatever we want.’ I heard the executioners many times asserting that ‘if there was any popular uprising, you will be the first to be killed.’ Rasht Prison’s warden used to scream at us these words: ‘Get this thought that you will be victorious and would leave the prison as heroes out of your mind. Only your lifeless corpses will leave this prison,” said Raouf.
How did this impact your family?
“The executioner, Mullah Moghadassi Far, in addition to ‘sentencing’ me, put my ill mother and my 16-year-old brother in prison as well. My mother’s ‘crime’ was having children who were affiliated with People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), and for her support for PMOI“. Moghadassi Far had told my mother: ‘If we arrest your daughter again, I will personally blow her brain out.’ The reason behind this beast like hatred towards me was that I had managed to escape from the prison and was ready to testify against the crimes committed behind the tall walls of the regime’s prisons. My mother passed away a short while after her release,” said Raouf.
What happened to your brother in 1988?
“My brother, Ahmad Raouf Bashari Doust, was arrested when IRGC agents raided our house. He spent five years in the Ayatollah’s dungeons. He was then executed, in the most brutal way during the 1988 massacre in the Urumiyeh Prison. His death was but just one sample of crimes the ISIS Godfather was brutally committing in Iran 29 years ago. Eyewitnesses to the massacre of prisoners…have identified the place of the executions using Google Earth…The prisoners were told they were being transferred to the Tabriz prison. IRGC agents had previously taken control of the place of executions in the hills, armed with various cold weapons, such as knives, machetes, clubs, axes, and hacks. Prisoners arrive in chains and shackles and were literally butchered by IRGC agents. Villagers who hear the loud screams of PMOI prisoners getting slaughtered head for the hills, but they are stopped and turned away by heavily armed IRGC agents,” said Raouf. “It has been 29 years since the massacre and people are yet to know the details. The world remained silent about it and in order to appease the Ayatollahs, turned a blind eye on their biggest criminal act. And there has not yet been an independent, international inquiry into this massacre.”
What encouraging actions are you seeing from the international leadership?
“This year, Asma Jahangir, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, has broken the 29 years of silence by the United Nations and has covered the 1988 massacre in her latest report…Now that the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur has spoken about 1988 massacre, it is time for the UN and all its relevant entities to address this issue in depth and reveal the truth so that perpetrators of these crimes face justice. The first step is the establishment of an independent, international fact-finding mission. In the following step, the issue would need to be referred by United Nations Security Council to the International Criminal Court (ICC), so that the high-ranking officials in Iran’s government, who took part in the massacre, would have their day in court,” said Raouf.
What do you hope to see happen going forward?
“As Ms Jahangir has written, we have the right to know the truth. We will never give up that right. Calling for justice for the victims of the 1988 massacre is no longer an issue specific to us the families of the victims and the survivors and witnesses of the Crime Against Humanity in Iran. It is a national movement and part of the Iranian people’s aspiration, both inside the country and abroad,” said Raouf.