In the name of God,
I am Rasoul Tabrizi. I was arrested in 1981 for being a supporter of the People’s Mojahedin Organization (MEK). I was sentenced to 10 years in prison in “a trial” that took just a few minutes. From Evin prison, I was transferred to Qezelhesar Prison, where I spent five years, and in 1986 I was returned to Evin Prison. There, I spent almost two years in various wards of Evin Prison. In February 1988, after the prisoners were sorted based on their sentences, I and a few others who were sentenced with over ten years of imprisonment were transferred to GoharDasht Prison to face punishment.
Before the massacre took place, we were in one of the Gohardasht sub-sections, which coincided with Khomeini’s reception of the ceasefire in the war he waged with Iraq. The day after Khomeini accepted the UN resolution, we felt that the conditions had become a little unusual, and they transferred us to a place that was actually part of the ‘Jihad Ward.’ We went on hunger strike on day one, and we didn’t want to stay there. Meanwhile, the guard who brought us food told us to stay and keep our mouths shut as this was a good place. But we didn’t listen to him, and the same story continued until August 6 or 7, when Nasserian came along with Hamid Abbasi (Noury) and Davood Lashkari and a few other Revolutionary Guards. They said that those who do not want to stay in this ward should come out. We all left that place, and we were called one by one in a room and were questioned about our charges. There were 60 of us who said that we were accused of being sympathizers of the MEK, and we were separated from the others. They took us to solitary confinement in the main part of Gohardasht Prison.
After two days of being in solitary confinement, if I’m not mistaken, it was on August 9th that they took us to the death corridor for the first time. There was a very unusual situation on death row. I’d never seen that they’d insist on security issues in prison that much. They forced us to keep a distance between each person for about 2 meters, and the number of guards present was high. People were not allowed to talk and communicate while we were all blindfolded. Previously, we used to be able to look under the blindfold to see what was going on around us or who was there and who they were talking about, but that day, I absolutely couldn’t find the possibility. There was absolute silence there. After sitting in the same corridor for hours, a revolutionary guard came to me, grabbed my collar, and called my name. He took me to the room where the death commission was sitting. When I entered the room, I was standing blindfolded, and as much as I could figure out, I understood that there was a table in front of me with piles of files on it, so that the person sitting behind it seemed as if he was buried under these files. As I looked a little under the blindfold, I was able to get to know Morteza Eshraghi and Hossein-Ali Nayeri. I think Ebrahim Raisi and Pourmohammadi were sitting on the left side of Nayeri. The table was L-shaped, and Nasserian, Hamid Abbasi (Noury), and Davood Lashkari were sitting behind it. They asked me about my charges, and I answered that I was a supporter of the organization. Eshraghi asked me what organization? And I replied that I was a supporter of the same organization that we all know.
As I heard from the others, those who had death sentences were lined up on one side of the wall, and they were taken to Hosseinieh, where they were executed. The rest were temporarily sent back into solitary confinement.
This went on, and we started to realize that the executions were being carried out in earnest. During this period, newspapers, television, and even family visits were not allowed, and we lost track of the outside world. A few months later, when the executions stopped, Hamid Abbasi (Noury) came to our ward and wanted to speak to us. He began saying things like he was asking God and his Imam Khomeini for forgiveness. He was asking to be forgiven that they did not fully execute the fatwa and failed to kill some of us.
Then he turned to us and said that the sentence still stands and that if we commit the slightest mistake or protest or if they find out that we are still loyal to our beliefs, they would carry out this sentence immediately. Then he said, if they would have properly executed their Imam Khomeini’s fatwa, they should have arrested and executed half the ordinary people outside the prison.
With these words, he wanted to deter and imply the same atmosphere of terror inside the prison. He wanted to highlight that the sentence was still in place, and the authorities could execute people whenever they’d please.
When some people try to tie the trial of Hamid Noury and the 1988 massacre to the NLA’s armed operation inside Iran, as if the regime had retaliated the MEK’s actions, I would say that is wrong. Since 1986, or even since 1986, the cruel Assadollah Lajevardi announced that one day, if they’d realized that the MEK wants to come and release the prisoners, then they’d drop a grenade in every cell and make sure no one is going to leave the prison alive.
Since 1986, when prisoners were regularly taken for interrogation, the interrogators affiliated to the minister of intelligence specifically pointed out in different ways that ‘one day they’d settle with us and take care of us for good.’
When Massoud Moghbeli was taken to the former Joint Committee, he was told that the regime had some plans for the prisoners and that they had categorized us into three groups: red, yellow, white. He said that they’d beat the reds ones, ‘they’d take care of the yellowish and that they might release the whitish. He was asked ‘to go and tell others that we’re coming for them.’
Once, the representative of Ayatollah Montazeri, named Hossein Ansari, had seen the prisoners, and when they told him about what was going on inside the prison, he had said that there was nothing they could do and that we should take care of ourselves. He warned them that the prison authorities had some plans and they had used the equipment they found in our wards as proof that the prisoners wanted to rebel. He told us about the conspiracies and asked the prisoners to be careful.
These facts and evidence show that the massacre and genocide they launched in 1988 had nothing to do with the MEK’s armed conflict, and this was a plan that they had been seriously pursuing since 1986 and 1987. The genocide was even supposed to take place in the autumn and winter of 1987, but for some reason, this was postponed to 1988.
Therefore, given the process we witnessed in prison ourselves, the executions had nothing to do with Operation Eternal Light. Precisely because Khomeini wanted to solve the year-long prison sentence for his regime, he committed this genocide and crime, and many of the children who had been sentenced to life sentences ranging from a few years to a life sentence, all of these children were sentenced to five years, ten years, 15 years, and were convicted. But at that time, without facing a new crime, they were charged in a few minutes trials with a very short question or answer, especially on days when only the charges were questioned as we heard, and it was enough to say that the MEK and sympathizers of the MEK, then without any questions or answers, would have been signed-in their death sentences.
This was nothing but genocide, a massacre of those whose sentences were determined and who had served part of their sentences in prison. I was in prison for seven years. Other prisoners had a sentence of six years, seven years, or people who had been arrested since 1980. Sometimes, people had finished their sentences and were still kept in prison because they refused to give televised interviews to denounce their organization and beliefs. They executed prisoners who were arrested in 1980. Some prisoners had been arrested because they were doing political activities and whose sentences had expired. Also, those who were sick or who had suffered severe mental health problems due to the high pressures in prison were executed. There was Nasser Mansouri, who committed suicide due to severe pressure from prison guards. He had thrown himself down from the second floor and had been paralyzed due to spinal cord damage. They took him to the ‘Death Commission’ on a stretcher, and after a minute or two, he was carried to the gallows on the same stretcher.
There were people with severe illnesses, such as Mohsen, whose surname I forgot. He was congenitally paralyzed and always walked with two crutches.
All these crimes and atrocities and the execution of 30,000 young freedom-loving people, who wanted nothing but the freedom of their own people, happened in two months based on the same fatwa of Khomeini. More than two to three hundred of whom we lived together in the ward; through hardships and joy, were executed. We were all in this together. Why have they been executed? I have asked this question for more than 30 years, why my friends were killed.
Many families have no indication of where their children are buried. These families do not know where to go to mourn their loved ones. For years our families have endured this pain. Many family members were shocked, like Masoud Moghbeli’s father, who had a heart attack when he heard his son had been executed. He died afterward. Many mothers or fathers had a heart attack after hearing about their children’s execution, and many suffered serious illnesses after they had such strokes and became stranded. Some are still looking forward to the day that they will open the door, and someone will step in and give them information about where they can find their children.