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Geneva: Demonstrators condemn Iran’s human rights abuses, commemorate 1988 massacre victims

Exhibition at the UN headquarters in Geneva, commemoration of victims of 1988 massacre-File photo
Exhibition at the UN headquarters in Geneva, commemoration of victims of 1988 massacre-File photo

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Geneva, November 10, 2019—In tandem with the sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR) in Geneva and the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Iran’s human rights situation, Iranian ex-pats and supporters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) held a demonstration to denounce the human rights abuses of the Iranian regime.

While condemning the Iranian regime’s crimes against humanity, the demonstrators and speakers underlined the need to refer Iran’s human rights dossier to the UN Security Council and international tribunals. They also stressed the need to expel the regime and its representatives from international bodies, including the Human Rights Council.

Among the speakers at the event were Laurence Fehlmann Rielle, Swiss Federal Parliament member; Alfred Zayas, former UN rapporteur and Professor of International Relations at Geneva University; Christiane Perregaux; and Daniel Neeser, priest and longtime supporter of the Iranian Resistance.

The demonstrators also set up an exhibition to commemorate thousands of Iranian political prisoners executed by the mullahs in 1988. At the time, Ruhollah Khomeini, founder and then-supreme leader of the regime, ordered all prisoners who were linked to the MEK to be executed. Within weeks, the regime executed more than 30,000 political prisoners, most of whom were supporters and members of the MEK.

The speakers and demonstrators demanded that the perpetrators of the 1988 massacre be brought to justice, including Ebrahim Raisi, the current head of the regime’s judiciary; Alireza Avaei, the current minister of justice; and Mostafa Pourmohammadi, the former justice minister. All three were members of the “death commissions,” delegations of judges appointed by Khomeini to decide the fate of political prisoners in 1988. The prisoners were tried in minutes-long sessions and immediately sent to the gallows if they did not renounce their support for the MEK.

On November 4, the U.S. Treasury Department recently imposed sanctions on Raisi because of his pivotal role in the 1988 massacre and his continued human rights abuses as the head of the regime’s judiciary.

The issue was also raised in a special telephone briefing of the Department of State. In the briefing, a U.S. Senior Administration Official said: 

“Specifically, our actions today target, first and foremost, Ebrahim Raisi.  He is the head of Iran’s judiciary and he was appointed by the supreme leader in March of 2019.  When he was deputy prosecutor general of Tehran, Raisi participated in the so-called death commission that ordered the extrajudicial killings of thousands – I repeat, thousands – of political prisoners in 1988.  Raisi’s oversight of the judiciary in Iran perpetuates the country’s record of barbaric human rights abuses.”