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  • Masoud Dalvand 5:26 pm on 31 Aug 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Amnesty International, ,   

    Amnesty International: UN Must Investigate Iran’s 1988 Massacre 

    In the lead-up to the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances on 30 August, Amnesty International on Wednesday called on the United Nations to set up an independent investigation into Iran’s1988 massacre of thousands of political prisoners.

    The Iranian authorities’ “continued failure to disclose the fate and whereabouts of thousands of politicaldissidents who were forcibly disappeared and extrajudicially executed in secret during Iran’s 1988 prisonmassacres has sparked a crisis that for decades has been largely overlooked by the international community,” Amnesty International said on its website on August 28, 2019.

    “Thousands of the victims’ deaths remain unregistered and, across the country, there are thousands of missing bodies buried in unidentified mass graves. For more than 30 years, the Iranian authorities have failed to officially acknowledge the existence of these mass graves and concealed their locations causing immeasurable suffering to families who are still seeking answers about their missing loved ones,” thehuman rights group wrote.

    Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Research and Advocacy Director at Amnesty International, said: “The families of those secretly killed in the 1988 prison massacres are still living through a nightmare. They and many others in Iran are haunted by the thousands of missing bodies, which have cast a spectre over the country’s justice system to this day.”

    “It is misguided to view the 1988 mass killings as historical events. The enforced disappearances are ongoing and, 30 years later, victims’ families continue to be tormented by anguish and uncertainty over the fate of their loved ones,” he added.

    Under international law, the crime of enforced disappearance continues until the state reveals the fate or whereabouts of the individual concerned and this requires, when the disappeared person is found to be dead, returning the remains of the victims to their families.

    Amnesty International’s December 2018 report Blood-soaked secrets: Why Iran’s 1988 prison massacres are ongoing crimes against humanity concluded that by continuing to systematically conceal the fate and whereabouts of victims of the secret extrajudicial killings of 1988 in Iran, Iranian authorities are committing the ongoing crime against humanity of enforced disappearance.

    The Iranian authorities have an obligation under international law to investigate these ongoing crimes and to provide victims with truth, justice and reparations, Amnesty International wrote. They should involve independent experts in exhuming and identifying the remains, including through DNA analysis, return the remains of deceased victims to their families and allow the families to conduct commemorations and dispose of those remains according to their own beliefs, religion or culture.

    In any case of a death, the authorities have a duty to issue a death certificate, setting out accurately the date, location and cause of death. However, for victims of the secret extrajudicial killings of 1988 this has not happened in thousands of cases.  

    “Crimes against humanity are exactly what the term suggests: crimes so serious that they concern not only their victims, survivors and the state in question but also humanity as a whole,” said Philip Luther.

    “UN member states must use every opportunity, including the upcoming review of Iran’s human rights record at the UN Human Rights Council in November, to press the Iranian government to identify mass graves and reveal the fate and whereabouts of all victims of these tragic events.”

    Amnesty International has called for the UN to set up an independent investigation into the extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances to establish the truth, enable prosecutions of those suspected of responsibility and ensure that survivors and families of victims receive reparations.

    The human rights group’s appeal further stated:

    The Iranian authorities did not return the bodies of any of the victims of the extrajudicial killings of 1988 to families. They also refused to tell most families where the bodies were buried, in an apparent effort to eliminate all trace of the victims.

    Amnesty International knows of only five cities – Ahvaz, Ardabil, Ilam, Mashhad and Rudsar – where the authorities eventually told some families verbally that their loved ones were buried in mass graves and revealed their locations. However, publicly and officially, the authorities have never acknowledged these or other known or suspected mass grave sites across the country, which have been subjected to desecration and destruction.

    According to information obtained by Amnesty International, in several other cities, including Bandar Anzali, Esfahan, Hamedan, Masjed Soleiman, Shiraz, Semnan and Tehran, the authorities gave a few families the location of individual graves and allowed them to install headstones, but many fear that the authorities may have deceived them and that these graves may be empty.

    In the case of Tehran, these concerns are reinforced by Amnesty International’s finding that 99% of the names on 335 gravestones at the Behest Zahra cemetery that the authorities have attributed to victims of the mass killings are not registered in the cemetery’s online burial registers; only three are registered.

    There are reports that many of these individual gravestones were erected suddenly in late 1988 and early 1989 without any sign of prior digging or burial in the area. Some families and survivors suspect that the authorities identified these graves in an attempt to trivialize the number of those killed and show that the location of their remains was known. They fear that in fact these victims may have been buried in unmarked mass graves along with several thousand other victims.

    In one case a family discovered in June 2017 that the ground beneath the headstone where they had believed their loved one was buried for decades was in fact empty and contained no bones or other remains.

    Background on Iran’s 1988 massacre

    In the summer of 1988, the Iranian regime summarily and extra-judicially executed tens of thousands ofpolitical prisoners held in jails across Iran.

    The facts:

    • More than 30,000 political prisoners were massacred in Iran in the summer of 1988.
    • The massacre was carried out on the basis of a fatwa by Khomeini.
    • The vast majority of the victims were activists of the opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran(PMOI, Mujahedin-e Khalq or MEK).
    • Death Commissions approved all the death sentences.
    • Alireza Avaei, a member of the Death Commissions, is today Hassan Rouhani’s Justice Minister.
    • The perpetrators of the 1988 massacre have never been brought to justice.
    • On August 9, 2016, an audio tape was published for the first time of Khomeini’s former heir acknowledging that that massacre took place and had been ordered at the highest levels.
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  • Masoud Dalvand 10:24 pm on 28 Dec 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Amnesty International, , ,   

    Action Needed on Amnesty International’s Iran Report 

    Action-Needed-on-Amnesty-Internationals-Iran-Report

    By: RezaShafiee

    After 30 years, Amnesty International published a 200-page comprehensive report on the massacre of political prisoners in Iran. Its main focus is the dark days of the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in Iran. Had the 1988 massacre been given enough international attention it deserved back then, the Iranian people would not have faced unbridled human rights abuses the following years. Impunity for crimes in those days emboldened the regime over the years to the extent that it is leveling the graves of the same victims all over Iran.

    The report concludes that only when “The UN establishes an independent, impartial and effective international mechanism to help bring those responsible for these abhorrent crimes to justice,” the “Blood soaked” history of the 1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran will be put to rest. The human rights watchdog also says that such crimes amount to crimes against humanity and the perpetrators should be hauled before the international criminal court.

    Massacre of political prisoners in 1988

    There are different accounts of the 1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran because of the shroud of secrecy the Iranian regime’s officials wrapped around it. Many former and current top Regime officials flatly deny gruesome events of that summer.

    What really happened?

    In the summer of 1988, Khomeini’s ambiguous war with its neighbor Iraq came to a screeching halt when his top brass Revolutionary Guards commanders foresaw a crushing and imminent defeat if he did not stop the war soon. War with Iraq served as a cover for internal suppression. At home, Khomeini had a powerful opposition and he needed to get rid of the existential threat to his absolute rule, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). He saw thousands of political prisoners as a potential asset for the opposition.

    Khomeini hastily put together a committee to exterminate the prisoners. It, of course, needed some kind of religious green light. His infamous handwritten fatwa did the trick. The “Death Commission,” as it is known among Iranian political prisoners, was born to set in motion one of the most heinous crimes against humanity the world had seen in the 20th century. The commission oversaw the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in the summer of 1988, mostly members and supporters of MEK.

    On the eve of 28th anniversary of the 1988 massacre in the summer of 2016, Maryam Rajavi, President of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, the (NCRI) tasked the members of the opposition to embark on a worldwide campaign called “Movement for Justice.” The campaign sought justice for fallen victims of the theocratic regime in 1988. The final goal is to get the UN Security Council to hold the Iranian officials, past and present, accountable for 1988 crimes and stand trial before an international court for crimes against humanity.

    An early whistleblower

    Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri was the first whistleblower of the 1988 massacre in Iran. Montazeri, the handpicked successor of Khomeini, was sacked for his public objections to mass executions in 1988. He spent the rest of his life under house arrest and died in 2009. His son leaked an audiotape of his conversation with the members of Death Commission in 2016.

    In the moving tape, Montazeri can be heard telling a meeting of the “Death Commission” in 1988 and that they are responsible for a crime against humanity. He said: “The greatest crime committed during the reign of the Islamic Republic, for which history will condemn us, has been committed by you. Your names will in the future be etched in the annals of history as criminals.”

    Rewarding the culprits

    In the backward system of twisted logic, culprits of crimes are rewarded. Some members of the Death Commission still hold high offices in Iran. Ebrahim Raisi is one of them. He was a low-level cleric at the time and in return for his services was elevated in the rank and files of the mullahs’ hierarchy. Raisi is a close confidant of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Currently, Raisi is the custodian of Astan Quds Razavi, the wealthiest charity foundation in charge of Iran’s holiest shrine in Mashhad, northwestern Iran, with very close ties to Khamenei’s powerhouse.

    Raisi and Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi, Iran’s Justice Minister in Hassan Rouhani’s cabinet, were two of the four members of the Death Commission who were tasked by the then Supreme Leader Khomeini to summarily execute political prisoners. In the summer of 1988, the Commission handed down 30,000 death sentences. The kangaroo courts hardly lasted more than three minutes on average. Some of the political prisoners who miraculously survived the slaughter have written or spoken of their ordeals. The judges asked a simple question: Do you still believe in Mojahedin? Depending on the answer, one could go to gallows. The gruesome accounts of survivors, especially female prisoners, often leave the listeners in shock.

    Pour-Mohammadi has since admitted his role in the “Death Commission” and boasted that he was proud to “carry out God’s will and he has not lost sleep over what he did.”

    Alireza Avaie, another member of the commission, replaced Pour-Mohammadi as Rouhani’s Justice Minister in his second cabinet. His personal record in participating in human rights violations goes a long way back when he was partner in crime with the likes of Ebrahim Raisi.

    “The abject failure of the UN and international community to pursue truth and justice for the atrocities committed by Iranian authorities has had catastrophic consequences not only on survivors and victims’ families but also on the rule of law and respect for human rights in the country. Iran’s authorities must no longer be allowed to shield themselves from accountability for their crimes against humanity,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    Source: ACTION NEEDED ON AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL’S IRAN REPORT

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 8:23 am on 10 Aug 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amnesty International, , , ,   

    Amnesty International Calls on Iran Regime to Release All Protesters 

    Amnesty International Calls on Iran Regime to Release All Protesters

    The Iranian regime’s response to the largely peaceful protests that spread across Iran over the past week was mass arrests.

    In a letter dated August 8th, 2018, Amnesty International calls upon the Iranian authorities to release any individual held solely for peacefully taking part in the protests. They also called for authorities to conduct a prompt, impartial, and independent investigation into the killing of a protester in Karaj, north-west of the capital, Tehran, on August 3rd, 2018.

    Amnesty also urged the authorities to protect all detainees from torture and any other ill treatment, as well as to reveal the fate and whereabouts of dozens of detainees who have not been heard from since their arrests.

    Amnesty-International-Calls-on-Iran-Regime-to-Release-All-Protesters

    Arrests of Iranian protesters by secret agents of the Iranian regime during the August 2018 protests

    Human Rights Defender N. Afshari, is among those detained. He was arrested by Ministry of Intelligence officials on August 1st, 2018 in the city of Karaj, north-west of Tehran. His whereabouts are unknown. He believed to be held in a secret detention facility.

    High inflation and the steep devaluation of the rial have added to the economic crisis in Iran, sparking protests that began on July 31st. However, dozens of videos that have been shared on social media also show protesters chanting slogans opposing the political establishment — specifically, Iran’s Supreme Leader.

    By and large, the demonstrations appear to have been peaceful, but some protesters have engaged in acts of violence, like stone-throwing, arson, and other damage to vehicles and buildings.

    State-run Tasnim News Agency reported on August 3rd, 2018, that a group attacked a religious school in the district of Eshtehard in Alborz province. They threw stones and bricks through windows.

    On social media, reports and videos show the use of unnecessary and excessive force by security forces to disperse demonstrations. According to reports from journalists and human rights activists inside Iran, as well as independent news groups outside the country, security forces have detained scores of people in jails and secret detention facilities. Human rights lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani reported that he believes between 50 and 60 protesters who were arrested in Tehran had been taken to Evin prison since the start of the protests.

    Fifty women protesters have been taken to Shahr-e Rey prison in Varamin, outside Tehran, according to reports on social media. Shahr-e Rey prison (also known as Gharchak) holds several hundred women convicted of violent offenses in overcrowded and unhygienic conditions, allegedly without access to safe drinking water, decent food, medicine, or fresh air.

    Male protesters have reportedly been taken to Fashafouyeh prison in the south of Tehran following their arrests.

    Amnesty International is concerned by reports that the detainees who have been taken to Evin prison, Shahr-e Rey prison, and Fashafouyeh prison have been given little or no access to their families or lawyers. Amnesty International fears for the well being of Nader Afshari and other detainees.

    During the violently dispersed protests, dozens of people are said to have been injured. Videos of the protests shared on social media show crowds running from what sounds like gunfire. On one video, the voice of a bystander recording a protest in the city of Shiraz can be heard saying, “Plain-clothed security forces are beating the people.” 

    Reza Outadi, a 26-year-old protester, was killed in Karaj, north-west of Tehran, on August 3rd. The Prosecutor General of Karaj announced that he had been “killed by gunfire that came from protesters amidst the rioting that took place” in Karaj. He said that Reza Outadi was “shot in the back and killed”. He also claimed that a number of security forces personnel in Alborz province had been injured after being shot, stabbed, and hit with stones.

    Fars News reported on August 7th, that the Prosecutor General of Karaj announced that a special unit has been set up to investigate Reza Outadi’s death.

    Initially, authorities told the family that they considered Outadi to be a “rioter” (shooreshi) and consequently would not be releasing his body to them. They have since released his body, and his family were able to hold his funeral under heavy security presence, on August 6th.

    Amnesty International is concerned that the special unit that has been established to investigate the death of Reza Outadi does not meet the requirements of impartiality and independence under international law and standards. Amnesty urges the Iranian authorities to ensure that the investigation into the death of Reza Outadi is impartial and independent, and that anyone reasonably suspected of criminal responsibility be brought to justice in fair trials, and without recourse to the death penalty.

     

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 8:34 pm on 21 Aug 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Amnesty International, ,   

    All the President’s Men: Iran’s Cabinet Candidates 

    While humans lack the ability to see into the future, we do possess the power to analyze our world to predict what the future has in store for us. The result of Iran’s so-called presidential election back in May rendered a second term for the incumbent Hassan Rouhani. During Iran’s short election season, lasting no […]

    via All the President’s Men: Iran’s Cabinet Candidates — Iran Commentary

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 5:43 pm on 12 Apr 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amnesty International, , , ,   

    Comment by Shahin Gobadi, on the Amnesty International’s report on human rights situation in Iran 

    Comment by Shahin Gobadi, member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran on the Amnesty International’s report on human rights situation in Iran and extension of sanctions on the Iranian regime’s officials for human rights abuse by the European Union and upcoming sham presidential elections in Iran.

     
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