The 29th anniversary of the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in Iran was observed in a ceremony attended by political and human rights figures from the US and Europe, and a large number of PMOI members in Tirana, Albania.
Addressing the ceremony, the Iranian Resistance’s President-elect Maryam Rajavi underscored the expansion of the movement seeking justice for the victims of the 1988 massacre among Iranians as well as human rights advocates from around the world. She urged the UN Human Rights Council and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to launch an international commission of inquiry to investigate this horrendous crime. She called on the UN Security Council to refer this dossier to the International Criminal Court or a special court to prosecute the perpetrators of this crime against humanity, criminals who are presently among the leaders of the clerical regime.
A number of political and human rights personalities addressed this ceremony, including Ms. Kerry Kennedy, daughter of the late Senator Robert Kennedy and President of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights; Mr. Mariano Rabino, member of the foreign affairs and human rights committees of the Parliament of Italy; Senator Pietro Liuzzi, member of the cultural and EU policy committees of the Italian Senate; Ms. Ingrid Betancourt, former senator from Columbia; and Mr. Tahar Boumedra, former director of the Human Rights Office of UNAMI.
Kerry Kennedy, who strongly believes that it is time for Iran to be free, noted, “You are trying to bring back to Iran a government that is based on humanity, not on suffering and oppression, but on compassion and love for one another. And in that, all the world is with you. And I am proud to stand here with you, today. We are here today because we believe in freedom and we stand in solidarity with the people of Iran. We stand against the mullahs who have caused untold terror in your beloved country… The mullahs denied the people of Iran the pride of their extraordinary heritage, a heritage admired across the globe… Iran wrote the first human rights charter some 2500 years ago…”
Senator Pietro Liuzzi reminded, “In the summer of 1988, in less than a few weeks, they executed more than 30,000 prisoners. The majority of the victims were from members and affiliates of the PMOI. This was a crime against humanity. One of the several greatest crimes in the contemporary history of mankind. None of those murderers involved in the massacre were ever prosecuted. They did not face justice. Some of the criminals are among the highest officials of the regime.”
He continued by emphasizing, “The Iranian regime has always been trying to actively destabilize the region. It supports terrorist organizations. Proxy militias play this role for the Iranian regime. It was for this cruel role that the IRGC (Revolutionary Guards) was rightly designated as a terrorist entity [by the U.S.]. Europe must also do the same.”
Mariano Rabino said: “Due to international pressures, Rouhani was compelled to replace Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi with Alireza Avaie, another member of the Death Committee, who was responsible for the murder of many individuals including scores who were juveniles. As previous speakers pointed out, our governments and the EU should give priority to human rights in its dealings with Iran. No realpolitik consideration or business interest should take precedent to human rights. All of us, all human rights advocates, and all those who seek freedom and democracy should urge the UN to provide a factual and documented report on the 1988 massacre.”
“All Western governments share the blame, all of them have procrastinated. But eventually a movement has begun and things are moving. In Italy, a majority members of the parliament signed a petition in June, condemning the 1988 massacre and demanding that the masterminds and perpetrators of this massacre be brought to justice.”
“Scores of dictatorial regimes in contemporary history committed crimes against humanity. They enjoyed impunity for a while, but this is the time for awakening. From Nuremberg, to The Hague, to the courts pertaining to the former Yugoslavia, to the trials of crimes against humanity that took place in Africa, Asia, and in America, the dictators and criminals were eventually brought to justice. They had to face the fact findings that were pursued by the international community and by the people of those countries.”
Ingrid Betancourt said: “Twenty-nine years ago, Khomeini came with a fatwa that was only comparable to the final solution Hitler enacted years before during World War II. This was the starting chapter of the most cruel years in the history of the people of Iran. And 30,000 people were killed without any legal support... The very frightening part of this story is that we have all the information, all the names, all the documents, the proofs; we have the witnesses; we have the survivors. We have the testimonies; we even have the confessions of those who perpetrated those crimes. We have it all but we still have impunity."
Ms. Betancourt added: “In history, the wrong is only turned into good through justice. If there is no justice, the wrong is still active, the suffering is still active, the pain and the wounds are still open. Today, the criminals that perpetrated those crimes are in highest positions in the government in Iran. They are high officials of the regime... If we are silent, we become accomplice of the crime...
“We need to ask the UN to play its role. We need to ask the High Commissioner for Human Rights to begin an independent inquiry to investigate what we know... Khomeini is gone but those who are alive today have to go on trial in an international court; and we will not have any rest until this is achieved.”
Tahar Boumedra, former director of the Human Rights Office of the United Nations in Iraq, said, “The law is on our side. We will send the fear that you used to suffer from in Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty, the persecution you suffered from, it has to change camps, has to go to Tehran. So, those people who committed those crimes, they must now start to fear, the fear that you used to have in Ashraf and Liberty. That will start from now when the negotiation teams will travel abroad. They cannot just travel without being previously arranging their immunity. Their travel abroad with impunity will come to the end. But I do not want to forget those who were assassinated in Ashraf and in Liberty. Those assassins have to be held accountable as well. So, although our focus today is on the crimes of 1988, we must also focus on the blood that was shed in total impunity in Iraq. So, I hope that we will be able to extend our mandate JVMI (Justice for the Victims of the 1988 Massacre in Iran) to cover also the crimes committed in Ashraf and Liberty. And we also need to work very hard to bring those who committed these crimes to justice. It is feasible; it is reachable and we must do it.”
The ceremony commemorating the 30,000 political prisoners massacred in 1988 also featured inspiring artistic and theatrical performances.