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Free Iran Global Summit 2020: 1988 massacre conference

Ashraf 3, Albania, headquarters of People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK)
Ashraf 3, Albania, headquarters of People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK)

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Iran, July 20, 2020—As part of the Free Iran Global Summit 2020, which is taking place online because of the coronavirus pandemic, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) organized a conference about the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in Iran, which remains unpunished some 32 years later. Most political prisoners were members of the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).

This conference is part of the ongoing Call for Justice campaign that was officially launched by NCRI President Maryam Rajavi in 2016, which calls for those responsible for the massacre and subsequent cover-up, including over 60 current regime members, to be tried for crimes against humanity at the Hague’s International Criminal Court.

The conference, held in the MEK headquarters of Ashraf 3, Albania, and joined by many political figures and dignitaries from around the world, featured many calls to bring the regime to justice for this horrific crime.

 

 

Political prisoner Damona Taavoni, whose father was killed in the massacre, explained how the trials of the MEK prisoners worked. They would be asked “do you support the MEK?” and if, as all 30,000 martyrs did, they said yes, they would be hanged.

She said: “I shed tears because I love my father, but I am proud that he chose freedom for his country.”

This was echoed by MEK member Bahador Kiamarzi, who said that the sacrifice of the martyrs would not be in vain.

British human rights lawyer and ex-UN judge Geoffrey Robertson was tasked with investigating the 1988 massacre. He told the conference he was “staggered” by what he uncovered, describing it “as the worst crime against humanity since World War II”. He said that the perpetrators must be held to account.

Tahar Boumedra, the former head of the UN Advisory Mission for Iraq’s Human Rights Office, said: “The crime committed against political prisoners in the 1988 Massacre has been well established and documented. The UN and relevant institutions have been informed and received documents on this issue.”

He advised though, that the regime could not be trusted to investigate themselves, as the UN previously ordered, and said that the international community must investigate instead.

Former vice president of the European Parliament Alejo Vidal-Quadras said that the  1988 Massacre was painful for the families because they have not seen justice, but advised that this would probably change soon and that “all the perpetrators of this crime will be held accountable in international courts”.

Other advocates for this are former Norwegian MP Lars Rise and former Palestinian Chief Justice Taisir al-Tamimi.

 

Other human rights violations

Renowned French Lawyer Henri Leclerc reminded us that arbitrary executions are continuing in Iran, with “confessions” extracted under torture and activists charged with “crimes”, like “enmity against God”.

Former Colombian Senator and presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt said: “Iran's regime holds the population as hostages and uses the name of God to do evil. Iran's people understand that the best way to hold this regime to account is to overthrow it.”

British lawyer Sir Geoffrey Bindman said that Iranian officials “must be sanctioned for human rights violations” and that the UK, the EU, and the UN have a duty to prosecute those responsible for these abuses.

American Civil Liberty Lawyer Alan Dershowitz said the regime is “the most serious human rights violator on this planet” and will not stop its efforts to preserve its “illegitimate and undemocratic regime”.

The demonization of the MEK

The regime uses its demonization campaign to justify these human rights crimes against the Iranian people.

NCRI President Maryam Rajavi spoke about the regime’s four-decade-long attempt to destroy the MEK, “seeking to deny” the MEK’s existence in order to get begrudging support for the mullahs and, when that didn’t work, depict the MEK as worse than the regime.

She continued: “By his fatwa for the 1988 Massacre, Khomeini intended to annihilate the PMOI/MEK generation to guarantee his rule. In those very days, Montazeri wrote to him that the Mojahedin were a type of logic which could not be annihilated by killing, but would further propagate.”

Betancourt said that the regime has tried and failed to paint the MEK as terrorists, but the Iranian people (and eventually Western governments) knew better.

Former political prisoner Homa Jaberi expressed anger at the regime’s lies about the MEK being the perpetrators of torture, saying that she was subjected to that for five years by the regime and would not remain at Ashraf 3 if this was true.

She said: “The world must know what happened to the MEK in the past 40 years. European leaders should know when they shake hands with Iran's regime, [that] they must remember the suffering of the Iranian people.”

Iran regime’s threat to the world

Former Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi highlighted the case of Iranian diplomat Asadollah Assadi, who was responsible for carrying out the bomb plot against the Free Iran Summit in 2018 in Paris, with the full knowledge and approval of the higher-ups.

Assadi is now on trial in Belgium.

Belgian MP Els Van Hoof said: “We hope justice will be served. Men and women are rotting in cells because they have a different opinion. This must not be tolerated in the 21st century. I wish you victory in your struggle for human rights in Iran.”

In a related matter, Italian Senator Lucio Malan urged the UN not to let the arms embargo against Iran to expire in October because the regime fails to respect international law, constantly meddles in other countries, and cheated on the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Support for the people and the resistance

Former US Ambassador to the UN Human Rights Commission Ken Blackwell said that supporting the Iranian people would give “humanity and freedom a fighting chance”, so everyone should work together to expose the regime.

Dershowitz said: “If you care about human dignity, human rights, civil life, join the current campaign against the regime in Iran. The world, the people of Iran need regime change. If you’re a supporter of human rights, you must be an opponent of the regime of Iran. History will show you are on the right side of history.”

British Baroness Betty Boothroyd praised Maryam Rajavi and her ten-point Free Iran plan, urging the UK government to “stand on the right side of history” and recognize Maryam Rajavi as the true representative of Iran.

Canadian Senator Leo Housakas said: “The Iranian people deserve to have democracy. The greatness of Iran is still ahead of us and we will achieve it with freedom and democracy. Nothing will hinder this movement, nothing will prevent the people of Iran to bask in freedom and Iran. The people of Iran deserve it.”