On Thursday, Hamid Noury’s trial reached its 80th session since his arrest in 2019 in Sweden. Noury, an Iranian prison official, was apprehended due to his role in the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners.
Most of the victims were members of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK/PMOI).
During Thursday’s session, Alireza Akbari Sepehr, a former political prisoner from the Organization of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class (Paykar), shared his painful memories in prison. Sepehr was arrested in 1982 in southeast Iran along with his pregnant wife, months after the organization he supported had been dismantled.
Sepehr’s wife gave birth to their son a few months later in a solitary cell. Akbari Sepehr testified on Thursday that he had three encounters with Hamid Noury, known as Abbasi, in the notorious Evin prison, where Abasi was “assistant prosecutor.” Mr. Akbari Sepehr was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
In 1987, following political prisoners’ hunger strike in Evin prison, Akbari Sepehr and hundreds of MEK members were transferred to Gohardasht prison.
Akbari testified about the so-called “Death tunnel.” Upon the prisoners’ arrival, the guards started savagely beating prisoners who had to go through a corridor surrounded by guards. “After going through the tunnel, MEK prisoners and I were transferred to a cell, where the guards stripped us naked and blindfolded us, then they continued beating us,” he told the court.
Akbari Sepehr told the court that days before the 1988 massacre, the guards took away the TV set under the pretext of fixing it and also stopped bringing newspapers. All meetings were canceled, and prisoners were informed through morse codes that the “Death Commission” had come to the prison.
The so-called “Death Commissions” were created soon after the regime’s then-supreme leader, Ruhollah Khomeini, issued a fatwa to eliminate political prisoners, primarily MEK members. They only identified MEK members who refused to disavow the organization and its democratic ideals.
The regime’s current president, Ebrahim Raisi, aka hanging judge, was a key member of the Death Commission.
Marxist prisoners, such as Akbari Sepehr, were forced to pray and conduct an interview condemning their previous positions. “When I became certain about the executions, I accepted to pray and do the interview,” he said.
Sepehr confirmed Noury’s role in the 1988 massacre and testified under oath that Hamid Noury is indeed the infamous Hamid Abbasi who worked in Gohardasht prison as the deputy warden.
Simultaneous with Noury’s trial, MEK supporters and family members of victims continued their protest outside the courthouse in Stockholm, demanding the world community to hold leaders of Iran’s genocidal regime accountable for their crimes against humanity.
In 1988, Khomeini saw the MEK and its progressive interpretation of Islam as a serious threat to his reign and ideology. Hence, he decided to eliminate everyone unwilling to submit and choose fate over faith. The entire regime would prefer those tens of thousands of youths to surrender to the regime and return to their families with the message that dissent against Khomeini is futile. Instead, these men and women stood tall and chose to die for an ideal that would live on to inspire love, equality, and prosperity for generations to come. The uprisings today in Iran show that the message and spirit of those executed in 1988 lives on and that they did not die in vain.
Indeed, Khomeini’s designated and later sacked heir, the late Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, told members of the Death Commission on August 14, 1988, “The People’s Mojahedin are not individuals; they are an ideology and a world outlook. They have logic. It takes the right logic to answer the wrong logic. You cannot rectify wrong with killings; you only spread it.”