An Independent, International Fact Finding Mission, is the Primary Step Towards Discovering the Truth About the 1988 Massacre in Iran
● My 16 year old brother spent 5 years in the Ayatollahs dungeons; he was then executed, in the most brutal way, during 1988 Massacre in the Urumiyeh Prison.
● In July of 1988, Islamic Republic Guard Corps (IRGC) members, transported the political prisons to the hills surrounding Urumiyeh lake, and literally butchered them with various cold weapons such as knives, machetes, clubs, axes and hacks.
Recently, while visiting an exhibition in Paris for the victims of the 1988 Massacre, a picture in the display of executioners caught my attention. The despicable face of the person who, 35 years ago, “sentenced” me to 20 years of imprisonment, during a 10 minute session. This took me back to the past. The picture was that of a Mullah named Moghadassi Far, religious judge of city of Rasht, and a leading member of the “Death Committee” in this large city at the Caspian Sea shores, who took part in the massacre of over 30,000 Political prisoners in Iran; he is now a high ranking official with the current regime in my homeland.
I can still hear in my ears the terrifying laughter of the torturers. The criminals who used to tell us: “now that we are in power, we will do with you whatever we want”. I heard the executioners many times asserting that “if there was any popular uprising, you will be the first to be killed”. Rasht Prison’s warden used to scream at us these words: “Get this thought that you will be victorious and would leave the prison as heros out of your mind. Only your lifeless corpses will leave this prison”.
The executioner, Mullah Moghadassi Far, in addition to “sentencing” me, put my ill mother and my 16 year old brother in prison as well. My mother’s “crime” was having children who were affiliated with People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI or MEK), and for her support for PMOI. Moghadassi Far had told my mother: “if we arrest your daughter again, I will personally blow her brain out”. The reason behind this beast like hatred towards me was that I had managed to escape from the prison and was ready to testify against the crimes committed behind the tall walls of the regime’s prisons. My mother passed away a short while after her release.
My 16 year old brother, Ahmad Raouf Bashari Doust, was arrested when IGRC agents raided our house. He spent 5 years in the Ayatollahs dungeons; he was then executed, in the most brutal way during 1988 Massacre in the Urumiyeh Prison. His death was but just one sample of crimes, the ISIS’s Godfather was brutally committing in Iran 29 years ago. Eyewitnesses to the massacre of prisoners in Urumiyeh have identified the place of the executions using Google Earth. In July of 1988, Islamic Republic Guard Corps (IRGC) members, transported the political prisons. most of them PMOI members, to the hills surrounding Urumiyeh lake using a couple of mini-buses. The prisoners were told they were being transferred to the Tabriz prison. IRGC agents had previously took control of the place of executions in the hills, armed with various cold weapons such as knives, machetes, clubs, axes and hacks. Prisiones arrive in chains and shackles and were literally butchered by IGRC agents. Villagers who hear the loud screams of PMOI prisons getting slaughtered head for the hills, but they are stopped and turned away by heavily armed IRGC agents.
I have often wondered if my brother was among those who were brutally killed in those hills? Answer is most likely yes. Even the thought of such horrifying death gives me heart ache and puts my entire body in pain. I do not want to believe that this is how my brother died, but the facts are telling me he was. Many years after my brother’s execution, while my father was searching for the whereabouts of his execution, was told by criminals in charge that he was “executed in Urumiyeh”. But the how and why and where his body was buried? are all questions that have remained unanswered for me. As it has been unanswered for the brothers, sisters and relatives of many more who were victims of the 1988 Massacre and have ended up in the mass graves.
It has been 29 years since the massacre and people are yet to know the details. The world remained silent about it and in order to appease the Ayatollahs, turned a blind eye on their biggest criminal act. And there has not yet been an independent, International inquiry into this massacre.
But this year, Asma Jahangir, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, has broken the 29 years of silence by the United Nations and has covered the 1988 Massacre in her latest report. The Special Rapporteur writes: “Between July and August 1988, thousands of political prisoners, men, women and teen-agers, were reportedly executed pursuant to a fatwa issued by the then Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khomeini. …. (those responsible for executions included) officials who had carried out and defended the executions, including the current Minister of Justice, a current high court judge, and the head of one of the largest religious foundations in the country and candidate in the May presidential elections.”
The report added: “Some clerical authorities and the chief of the judiciary admitted that the executions had taken place and, in some instances, defended them”. Report also declares: “The families of the victims have a right to know the truth about these events and the fate of their loved ones without risking reprisal. They have the right to a remedy, which includes the right to an effective investigation of the facts and public disclosure of the truth; and the right to reparation. The Special Rapporteur therefore calls on the Government to ensure that a thorough and independent investigation into these events is carried out.”
Now that the United Nation’s Special Rapporteur has spoken about 1988 Massacre, it is time for UN and all its relevant entities to address this issue in depth and reveal the truth so that perpetrators of these crimes face justice. First step is the establishment of af an independent, International fact finding mission. In the following step, the issue would need to be referred by United Nations Security Council to the International Criminal Court (ICC), so that the high ranking officials in Iran’s government, who took part in the massacre, would have their day in the court.
As Ms. Jahangir has written, we have the right to know the truth. We will never give up that right. Calling for justice for the victims of the 1988 Massacre is no longer an issue specific to us the families of the victims and the survivors and witnesses of the Crime Against Humanity in Iran. It is a National movement and part of Iran people’s aspiration, both inside the country and abroad.