On Thursday, July 14, a court in Sweden convicted Hamid Noury of life imprisonment for his role in the 1988 massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners, mostly members of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (PMOI/MEK)
Noury was a prison official in Gohardasht prison in Karaj, west of Tehran. During his trial, survivors of the 1988 massacre shared harrowing accounts of what they witnessed in the regime’s dungeons, particularly during those dark days in 1988.
Noury’s conviction brought joy to tens of thousands of Iranians, who have suffered for forty years due to the crisis of impunity in Iran, which has allowed regime officials to continue their human rights abuses and be rewarded instead of being held accountable.
But Noury’s conviction was indeed bitter news for the regime and its officials. Nasser Kanani, the regime’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, protested Noury’s conviction. “Mr. Noury has spent 30 months in solitary confinement and is deprived of proper medical attention. As a result, he couldn’t even read the court ruling,” Kanani blatantly claimed on July 14, as quoted by state-run Hamshahrionline.
This is not the first time the authorities of the world record holder of hangings per capita complain about Noury’s “human rights” being violated!
Kanani avoided talking about the 1988 massacre and how a fatwa by the regime’s then-supreme leader allowed the so-called “Death Commissions” to seal the fate of tens of thousands of people in a few minutes after years of imprisonment and torture, and while they were deprived of having a lawyer.
Yet, Noury was given a fair trial, was not tortured, and had hours in court to rehash the regime’s allegations against the opposition and defend criminals like Khomeini and the regime’s current president Ebrahim Raisi who was a member of Tehran’s death commission in 1988.
The latter was pointed out by Mr. Kenneth Lewis, who represented dozens of the MEK members and supporters during Noury’s trial at a rally held by supporters of the Iranian Resistance in Stockholm on Saturday.
“Unlike Noury, who had two lawyers during the 92 days of trials, the victims had no lawyers, and their trials lasted only minutes before they were sent to their deaths,” Lewis said.
Kenneth Lewis: Unlike Noury, who had two lawyers during the 92 days of trials, the victims had no lawyers and their trials lasted only minutes before they were sent to their deaths. #1988Massacre https://t.co/SPBU1rYx7M
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) July 16, 2022
Besides, the Iranian regime speaks of human rights, while since Raisi became its president, the number of executions has dramatically increased. Between July 6 and 13, Tehran hanged 25 prisoners. According to independent sources, such as Iran Human Rights Monitor (Iran HRM), At least 193 prisoners have been executed in Iran from the beginning of 2022 until June.
The rising number of hangings in Iran is followed by other inhumane treatments, such as cutting hands and amputating limbs, arbitrary arrests, public lashing, and attacking women on the street under the pretext of promoting virtue and preventing vice.
What emboldens regime officials to blatantly speak of human rights and threaten Western powers is the latter’s weak approach toward the regime, creating the crisis of impunity in Iran.
When Raisi became the regime’s president in June 2022, Amnesty International described it as a “grim reminder that impunity reigns supreme in Iran.”
In a letter published in September 2020, seven U.N. experts underlined that the failure of UN bodies to act over the 1988 massacre has “had a devastating impact on the survivors and families” and “emboldened” the Iranian authorities to “conceal the fate of the victims and to maintain a strategy of deflection and denial.”
Noury’s arrest, trial, and conviction, which happened in the context of “universal jurisdiction,” can set a precedent and allow other Western countries to hold Iranian officials involved in mass killings accountable.
As Amnesty International highlighted on July 15, Thursday’s court ruling “sends an unequivocal, and long overdue, message to the Iranian authorities that those responsible for crimes against humanity in Iran will not escape justice.”
“This critical ruling must serve as a wake-up call to the international community to tackle the crisis of impunity that prevails in Iran,” Amnesty added.
In addition, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, Javaid Rehman, urged other states “to take on similar investigations and prosecution of serious human rights violations in Iran using principles of universal jurisdiction.” Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, urged other countries to “use universal jurisdiction to bridge the accountability gap for serious crimes and ensure truth and justice.”
Now the ball is in the court of Western powers. The time has come for Westerners fully abide by human rights values that they cherish and hold Iran’s genocidal regime accountable.
As Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the Iranian opposition leader, highlighted on Thursday, Noury’s conviction was a “First step in the path of full justice” and “that prosecuting [the regime’s supreme leader Ali] Khamenei and Raisi is now more imperative than ever.”