Political Prisoner’s Open Letter About Iran’s 1988 Massacre
Written by Hamideh Taati
Iranian political prisoner Maryam Akbari Monfared has written an open letter on the 1988 anniversary of the massacre of political prisoners in Iran, criticising the West for their silence on the matter, noting that those responsible still hold positions of power in the Regime, and asserting that those two things are connected.
She wrote: “Anyone who [remains] silent and fails to speak out against injustices [or] decides to pursue appeasement [betrays] human cognizance and freedom of choice. This destroys the gem that exists in all human beings and distinguishes human beings from all other living creatures. Your concealing of this crime, remaining silent about it, and encouraging the masterminds and perpetrators of the massacre of Iran’s valiant children, have emboldened the religious fascism in suppression and warmongering.”
Akbari Monfared, who is being held in the Women’s Ward of Evin Prison, lost a sister and a brother in the 1988 massacre and two more brothers in the other mass executions of the 1980s. She says that the martyrs are the blood that runs through the veins of history. Her siblings were members of the main democratic Iranian opposition group People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI), also known as the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK)
he wrote: “In that dawn when the victims kissed their hanging nooses, they turned into the blood that runs in the veins of history. Their warm breaths spread the seeds of the future on the soil of the past. In the hot weather and repressive atmosphere of the torture chambers, their chants at the gallows wrote our history.”
Akbari Monfared explained that the people of Iran hail the martyrs and regard the massacre as part of their fight for freedom, which continues to this day.
Akbari Monfared said that the West should speak out against the ‘greatest crime against humanity since World War II’, noting that the mullahs have only continued their crimes, because they were not held to account. (For example, the murder of Mohammad Salas in March 2018 to justify the regime’s clampdown on the religious minority Dervishes and the murder of Alireza Shir-Mohammad-Ali earlier this year in relation to his protests about prison conditions.) She urged the West to adopt a firm policy with regards to human rights in Iran.
She wrote: “These slaughters perpetuated because of the policy of appeasement pursued by European countries and America. The regime relied on this policy to commit their crimes… The time has come for you to set this disgraceful policy aside and clear your eyes. This is a regime propped up by genocides and the perpetrating murderers are still in power. It is an indisputable truth, however, that the blood of martyrs roars endlessly.”
Akbari Monfared’s open letter was first published by the Women’s Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran.
In the summer of 1988, the Iranian regime summarily and extra-judicially executed tens of thousands of political prisoners held in jails across Iran. The massacre was carried out on the basis of a fatwa by the regime’s then-Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini.
• 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 PMOI (MEK).
• A Death Committee approved all the death sentences.
• Alireza Avaei, a member of the Death Committee, 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.