We are deeply concerned over another spike in the number of executions in Iran, in particular an increase in the execution of juveniles. According to reports from Iran, the authorities carried out 87 executions in January alone.
Earlier this month, planned execution of juveniles has been criticised by UN human rights experts as well as Amnesty International calling on the Iranian authorities to immediately stop these executions.
Today, the right to life is once again under serious attack in Iran and the culture of impunity for human rights abusers, especially for perpetrators of the 1988 massacre of political prisoners, is the main reason behind this alarming development.
Sadegh Zibakalam, a political science professor at Tehran State University and an associate of former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, recently acknowledged that “Thousands of members of the People's Mujahedeen opposition organisation were killed without any trial and any proof of the crime on them, during the first years after the revolution.”
His comments referring to the massacre of 30.000 political prisoners in the summer of 1988 was published by the state run Gooya-News website.
Zibakalam’s admission provides further evidence about the state’s involvement in the arbitrary mass execution of tens of thousands political prisoners in Iran.
This was first exposed last year when the son of late Ayatollah Montazeri, published a shocking audio tape from 28 years ago (August 15, 1988) in which Montazeri, the heir to Iran’s first Supreme leader Khomeini at the time, is telling a meeting of members of the Death Committee that “The greatest crime committed during the reign of the Islamic Republic, for which history will condemn us, has been committed by you.”
Montazeri’s son was later sentenced to 20 years in prison accused of acting against the national security for making the audio file public.
Labour MP for Birmingham Selly Oak, Steve McCabe, said, “the Iranian regime has no interest in holding the perpetrators of this massacre accountable but instead it punishes those who provide evidence and rewards the perpetrators with senior and ministerial position, like Rouhani’s Justice Minister, Mostafa Pourmohammadi.”
Under these circumstances, the British government and its allies have an obligation to step up at UN level to secure justice for the families of the victims by holding the Iranian regime accountable.
“Continued impunity for these human rights abusers is unacceptable in light of the many evidences proving their involvement and the perpetrators of the 1988 massacre must be held accountable”, the Rt Hon Lord Dholakia OBE DL, Deputy Leader of Liberal Democrat and member of House of Lords, said.
The coming session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva later this month provides an opportunity for the UK to raise this urgent matter.
We urge the British government to take action at the UN to recognise and condemn this brutal massacre as a crime against humanity and ask the UN Human Rights Commissioner, Human Rights Council, the General Assembly and the Security Council to order an investigation and bring the perpetrators to justice, as called for in the parliamentary motion, the EDM448 Death of Political Prisoners in Iran in 1988 supported by 80 cross party MPs.
We expect this demand by cross party MPs, which also has a similar strong support in the House of Lords and among other Western Parliamentarians, to be addressed in the next UN resolution on human rights situation in Iran and call on the British government, the UN Special Rapporteur on Iran and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to take appropriate steps to this end.
Sir David Amess MP
Co-chairman of the British Committee for Iran Freedom
5 March 2017