They join the Anglo-Iranian community in urging the British government to act for the prosecution of the perpetrators of 1988 massacre
On Thursday, October 20, the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom (BPCIF) organised a conference and an exhibition for members of both Houses of Parliament, their staff and the general public highlighting the gross human rights violation in Iran and commemorating the victims of executions.
The exhibition at Attlee Suite in the House of Commons showcased the Iranian authorities’ past and ongoing atrocities targeting all sectors of the Iranian society including activists and dissidents.
A special part was dedicated to the 1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran, which many prominent human rights lawyers and NGOs refer to as one of the worst forgotten and unprosecuted crimes since the World War II and Iran’s modern history.
On display for the public was the fatwa from Khomeini, Iran’s Supreme Leader at the time of this massacre, which started the wave of executions in Iran during the summer of 1988.
Speaking on the fatwa, Mark Williams MP, said, “[Khomenei] decreed that those who are in prisons throughout the country and remain steadfast in their support for the opposition … are waging war on God and are condemned to execution.”
An estimated 30.000 political prisoners and members of Iran’s main opposition group the PMOI were subsequently rounded up and executed in prisons all over the country.
The public also heard from former political prisoners and eyewitness accounts from the survivors, and family members of the victims living in the UK. They shared their ordeals and told their tragic accounts that testified to the brutality with which the authorities carried out these executions.
One member of the Anglo-Iranian Youth Association speaking at the event told the audience that the Iranian regime has executed four members of his mother’s family during the 1988 massacre.
They underscored that senior Iranian officials and current ministers in Rouhani’s government were among those responsible for this atrocity. This was also exposed in an audiotape from the late Ayatollah Montazeri, Khomeini’s successor at the time, published by his son in early August this year.
Members of both Houses of Parliament also addressed the gathered audience at the exhibition expressing their deep concerns over the alarming rate of executions in Iran, the hanging of juveniles, arbitrary arrests of activists and dual citizens and the ongoing crackdown on freedom of expression.
The cross party MPs reiterated that around 3000 executions, including hanging of women and juveniles, during Rouhani’s presidency show that the human rights situation has worsened in many areas during his tenure.
“The people of Iran want an end to the impunity for those who committed this crime and other authorities of the regime … I urge the British government to recognise and condemn this massacre as a crime against humanity and act in the UN Human Rights Council and the UN Security Council in order to bring the known perpetrators to justice in an international tribunal”, Dr Matthew Offord MP, who chaired the conference said.
His call on the government was echoed by the other members of both Houses who agreed that such steps would be significantly important to pressure the regime in Tehran to stop its executions.
Reiterating this call, Lord Cotter said, “The recent upgrading of our relations with Iran is most puzzling in the light of consistent human rights violations ... Looking at Iran, we see that many of those who committed the 1988 massacre of political prisoners are still very much in charge so it would be naive to think there will be any change unless the international community raises the cost for the Iranian authorities of committing these atrocities against dissidents and ordinary citizens.”
Lord Clarke of Hampstead CBE reminded the audience of previous deadly rocket attacks against Camp Liberty, Iraq, and said, “the successful relocation of thousands of PMOI members from Camp Liberty to Europe is an example of BPCIF preventing another 1988 massacre at the behest of the theocratic regime in Tehran … I hope our success would encourage the government to act more firmly to stop executions in Iran.”
Other speakers at the conference were Jim Shannon MP and Malcolm Fowler, former member of the Human Rights Committee of Law Society of England and Wales.
British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom
20 October 2016