“My brother was sentenced to death by Raisi”—survivor of Iran’s 1988 massacre

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Iran, October 22, 2021—Unfortunately the summer 1988 massacre in Iran has been one of the most under-reported atrocities in our times. In the span of just a few months the ruling mullahs’ regime sent over 30,000 political prisoners to be executed, mostly members and supporters of the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).

Countless Iranian families throughout the country have long been devastated by the mass killing, now defined by experts as a “crime against humanity” and “genocide.” Numerous families lost numerous loved ones and the regime, seeking to forever bury these atrocities, carried out the horrific executions in hasty manner.

Mohammad Sar Kheyli, a political prisoner in Iran and now PMOI/MEK member, recalls how his brother, cousin, and friends were executed sentenced to death by regime President Ebrahim Raisi himself.

“My name is Mohammad Sar Kheyli and I was born in 1955 in the city of Abadan in southwest Iran. I was imprisoned in Evin and Gohardasht prisons from 1984 to 1993. In 1988, [regime founder and first supreme leader] Ruhollah Khomeini executed over 30,000 political prisoners based on his explicit fatwa,” Mr. Sar Kheyli said.

“I was imprisoned in Tehran Evin Prison from 1986-1987. At that time, [Assadollah] Lajevardi was replaced by an individual by the name of Razini as the new head of the prison. Razini had chosen a deputy named Ebrahim Raisi, who is now the president of the regime. My brother, Gholamreza Sarkhaili, and cousin, Abbas Sahraei, were arrested in 1981-1982, and we didn’t think they might be executed. However, Raisi sentenced them to death,” he continues.

Many of the 1988 massacre survivors recall the names of those who lost their lives, and especially minors who were sent to the gallows as the regime sought to eradicate the PMOI/MEK. The survivors also remember the horrific tortures that the political prisoners had endured prior to the massacre.

“Many of my cellmates who were my very close friends, such as Mahmoud Bani Najarian, Muzaffar Izadi, Kourosh Khavarian, Hamid Hosseini, and Afshin Baradaran Ghasemi, who was only 16 years old, were executed. One of my friends that I remember a lot is Ahmad Moghimi Zanjani. He had received more than 6,000 lashes. I I witnessed it myself and saw his feet. There was nothing left of his feet. There was no toe left, no nails, no flesh. It was just a piece of bone with skin on it that had been taken from his leg. But even with that condition, Raisi sentenced him to death in 1985,” Mr. Sar Kheyli explained.

“In September 1983, I was in ward one of Evin Prison. There, Hamid Noury, who is currently on trial in Sweden, was our prison guard. He repeatedly pulled me out of my cell and tried to force me to repent and then work for him,” he continued.

As we speak, an Iranian regime operative by the name of Hamid Noury stands trial in Stockholm, Sweden, for his role in the 1988 massacre. Dozens of survivors and witnesses are providing testimony describing Noury’s crimes and demanding how all senior regime officials should face justice in international tribunals for their crimes against humanity, especially the summer 1988 massacre.

“In 1984, I was interrogated in Branch 3 of Evin Prison. The senior interrogator there was Mohammad Moghisei, aka Nasserian. He had two deputies, one of whom went by the name of Daneshjoo and the other was Hamid Noury. These three were torturing me. I was tied to a bed; my legs and arms were tied tightly.

“Nasserian was sitting on my back, pulling my neck back and inserting a blanket into my throat, and squeezing my throat. Meanwhile, another interrogator was flogging me. Whenever I got to the point that I was suffocating, Nasserian lifted his hands from my throat, and I felt the pain of the whip all over my body and started screaming. After that, I was forced to run on sand that had been poured on the ground while being whipped. Every sand pierced into my feet like a nail, and at that time I felt severe pain and did not know what to do in that situation,” Mr. Sar Kheyli recalls.

The regime had begun transferring prisoners to different facilities prior to the 1988 massacre. Mr. Sar Kheyli was among those taken from his previous facility, Tehran’s Evin prison, to Gohardasht prison in the city of Karaj, located west of the Iranian capital.

“During the 1988 massacre, I was in ward one of Gohardasht prison. Nasserian and Hamid Noury, who was his deputy, and an individual by the name of Lashkari, who was the prison warden at the time, came to our ward and said that the ward should be emptied. Then they took about 60 of us,” Mr. Sar Kheyli explains.

“They rounded up us in the courtyard, took us to the so-called ‘jihad’ ward, and asked us the same three questions they used to ask in their [kangaroo] courts. We did not know at the time that this was a court, but it really was a court. Out of the 60 people they took, 45 were executed and we never saw them again,” Mr. Sar Kheyli added.

“Another example in Evin Prison: There were 34 of us who had established contact with each other at the time. I saw only four out of those 34 after the executions. All of them were executed on charges of supporting the MEK,” he continued.

Regime President Ebrahim Raisi is best known for his direct role in Iran’s summer 1988 massacre, being one of the main members of the mullahs’ notorious “Death Commissions” responsible for determining the fates of each political prisoner during the massacre in kangaroo trials that lasted mere minutes. All political prisoner showing signs of loyalty to the PMOI/MEK in any way were immediately sentenced to certain death.

Raisi and other regime officials have committed genocide and crimes against humanity and should be held accountable in international tribunals. The world community should not provide these criminals any kind of legitimacy and instead, choose to stand alongside the Iranian people in their ongoing struggle to reach justice.

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