Amnesty calls to end impunity for perpetrators of 1988 massacre

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Iran, April 10, 2021—In its annual report, Amnesty International called for the end of impunity for the perpetrators of the 1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran.

“The authorities continued to commit crimes against humanity by systematically concealing the fate and whereabouts of several thousand political dissidents forcibly disappeared and extrajudicially executed in secret in 1988. Mass graves believed to contain their remains were subject to ongoing destruction,” Amnesty International stated.

Amnesty International also mentioned that Iranian authorities have continued their involvement in enforced disappearance by systematically concealing the fate and whereabouts of several thousand political dissidents who were forcibly disappeared and extrajudicially executed in secret in 1988 and destroying unmarked mass gravesites believed to contain their remains.

“Security and intelligence forces threatened victims’ families with arrest if they sought information about their loved ones, conducted commemorations, or spoke out,” wrote Amnesty in its report.

Amnesty International emphasized that impunity prevailed for past and ongoing crimes against humanity related to the 1988 prison massacres, with many of those involved continuing to hold top judicial and government positions, including the current Head of the Judiciary and the Minister of Justice.

The current head of judiciary, Ebrahim Raisi, was a member of the Tehran “Death Commission,” a trio of officials that acted as judges and sent thousands of prisoners to the gallows after minutes-long trials.

“No public official was investigated or held accountable for crimes of unlawful killings, torture and enforced disappearance or other grave human rights violations. Judicial authorities failed to conduct independent and transparent investigations into the use of lethal force by law enforcement officials against individuals who posed no imminent threat to life or serious injury,” Amnesty’s report reads. “Enforced disappearances, torture, and other ill-treatment were committed with impunity on a widespread and systematic basis. Judicial corporal punishments amounting to torture, including floggings and amputations, were imposed.”

Amnesty International also stressed that the Iranian regime continued to use death penalty as a weapon of political repression in 2020. “Executions were carried out, one in public and some others in secret. Those executed included people aged under 18 at the time of the crime,” Amnesty said.

According to Amnesty International, scores of protesters were charged with “enmity against God” (moharebeh) and “spreading corruption on earth” (efsad f’il arz), which carry the death penalty. Several protesters were sentenced to death following unfair trials which relied on torture-tainted “confessions.” “Executions were carried out after unfair trials,” Amnesty wrote.


In the summer of 1988, Iranian regime supreme leader Ruhollah Khomeini ordered the purging of all prisons from opponents of the regime, especially members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). On Khomeini’s orders, regime officials carried out mass executions of political prisoners across Iran. According to information obtained by the MEK’s network inside Iran and the few prisoners who survived the carnage, more than 30,000 prisoners were executed in the span of a few months and were buried in mass unmarked graves.

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