Iran must stop desecrating mass grave of 1988 massacre

Iran must stop desecrating mass grave of 1988 massacre

Published by on September 5, 2017

Amnesty International started a campaign on Monday for calling on the Iranian regime authorities to “urgently stop the destruction of a mass grave in the southern city of Ahvaz”.

A footage obtained by Amnesty International shows the site being buried under construction waste after a construction near the area began earlier this year.

“Bulldozing the mass grave at Ahvaz will destroy crucial forensic evidence that could be used to bring those responsible for the 1988 mass extrajudicial executions to justice. It would also deprive families of victims of their rights to truth, justice and reparation, including the right to bury their loved ones in dignity. By joining Amnesty International’s campaign, people can help to press Iran’s authorities to stop the imminent destruction of the site,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

He added: “Instead of desecrating the mass grave with piles of rubbish and waste and further tormenting families, who face repression for their efforts to protect the memory of their loved ones, the authorities should be upholding their duty to preserve all Iran’s mass grave sites so that investigations can be carried out into the 1988 extrajudicial executions and other mass killings.”

Amnesty International is calling on people to join the campaign by promoting the hashtag #MassGraves88 on social media.
More than 30,000 political prisoners were executed in the summer of 1988 based on a fatwa by Iran’s Supreme Leader at the time, Ruhollah Khomeini.

The victims were buried in secret mass graves across the country and their relatives have been denied information about the burial site of their loved ones.

The late Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, the designated successor of Khomeini at the time, described the 1988 massacre as “the worst crime in the history of the Islamic Republic” in an audio tape released by his son last summer.

Many of those responsible for this crime currently hold high positions within the regime. President Hassan Rouhani and many members of his cabinet held positions of influence in the summer of 1988 and were undoubtedly aware of the massacre. The Justice Minister during Rouhani’s first-term, Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi, was one of the four member ‘Death Committee’ of Tehran.

Last month Rouhani replaced Pour-Mohammadi with Alireza Avaie who held a similar role on the ‘Death Committee’ in Khuzestan Province, the same province in which a mass grave is being destroyed. A few days after the replacement Ali Khamenei, Iranian regime’s Supreme Leader, appointed Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi an advisor to the Head of Judiciary.

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Abolish death penalty

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Dear Secretary General of United Nations,

The number of executions is rising in Iran, journalists are being detained for doing their job and activists face cruel and degrading punishments, long prison terms and even execution. According to the most recent reports by Amnesty International and the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, “Iran’s judiciary continues to sentence child offenders to death, and carry out their execution by hanging”. Also, on August 9th, 2016 the son of late Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, Khomeini’s designated successor in 1988, published a shocking audio tape of his father’s meeting with the “Death Commission” which summarily and extra-judicially executed tens of thousands of political prisoners held in jails across Iran. The massacre was carried out on the basis of a fatwa by the regime’s then-Supreme Leader Khomeini.

We, the undersigned, hereby urge you to take up this issue and raise it in the General Assembly in order to;

1. Put pressure on Iran to immediately halt the executions and abolish death penalty in Iran.
2. Call on all Western governments to make any improvement in economic relations with Iran contingent on its human rights record.
3. Demand in its resolution on human rights violations in Iran, to bring the perpetrators of 1988 massacre (one of the worst atrocities the post-war world has ever seen – Geoffrey Robertson-QC) to justice before an international tribunal.

Executions must stop.

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