The British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom (BPCIF) strongly condemns the unjust detention of prisoner of conscience Maryam Akbari Monfared in Evin Prison and warns about the danger to her health following Iranian authorities denying her access to necessary medical treatment outside the prison.

In an urgent action campaign on November 2, 2016, calling on the Iranian authorities to release her immediately and unconditionally, Amnesty International, said, “Prisoner of conscience Maryam Akbari Monfared, who is serving a 15-year sentence in Tehran’s Evin Prison, is being denied access to medical treatment. She is facing reprisals after filing a formal complaint that seeks an official investigation into the mass killings of political prisoners, including her siblings, in the summer of 1988 …, the location of mass graves where their bodies were buried, and the identity of the perpetrators involved.

The denial of access to medical care follows other forms of reprisals against her, including an order from the Office of Prosecutor to stop prison visits from her family, and threats to bring fresh criminal charges against her”, Amnesty adds.

These measures targeting the family members of the victims who seek justice for their loved ones are just another troubling sign that the Iranian authorities continue their efforts to erase the 1988 massacre of political prisoners from memories in order to prevent an investigation into these mass killings of dissidents that followed a fatwa by the founder of Islamic republic and the Supreme Leader at the time, Khomeini.

Such efforts demonstrate the Iranian authorities’ clear contempt for recommendations in the UN resolution on human rights in Iran adopted by Third Committee on November 15, 2016, calling on the authorities to launch “a comprehensive accountability process in response to all cases of serious human rights violations, including those involving the Iranian judiciary and security agencies, and to end impunity for such violations”.

In an interview with the state television on October 17, 2014, Ahmad Jannati, the head of Guardian Council and a confident of the Supreme Leader Khamenei, admitted to deeply flawed justice system in Iran and said, “When the revolution took place and the Revolutionary Courts were supposed to form, ... we were constructed to become judge but ... we did not know anything about justice and we had not studied law. We were not educated, but we were familiar with the revolution and Islamic issues. Finally, they told us there is no choice [so] I went to Khuzestan [a province in the south of Iran] and we launched the Revolutionary Courts ...

Every day there were more and more prisoners, they would be arrested and many times they had no place for them and there were no judges. [We] started to work but we did not know what to do and I was desperate. Then I asked Imam [Khomeini] that whom we can execute. He gave me an example and a story and said work like this and many times we worked under his supervision”, he said revealing his role in the arbitrary mass executions that took place in Iran during the years that followed the 1979 revolution.

The British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom (BPCIF) calls on the British government and NGOs to support the urgent action campaign by Amnesty International calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Maryam Akbari Monfared.

We also reiterate the call supported by over 200 cross party MPs from both Houses of Parliament in a recent statement on Iran and urge the government to 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.

Such decision will give voice to many Iranian victims such as Maryam Akbari Monfared who are being silenced when seeking justice for 1988 massacre. It also concurs with remarks by Ambassador Martin Shearman, of the UK Mission to the United Nations, on the Third Committee resolutions on Iran that “It remains crucial that we keep a focus on human rights and continue to hold the Iranian Government to account for its human rights record.

British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom

24 November 2016