By Staff Writer
Amnesty International has launched an urgent campaign to prevent the Iranian Regime from building a road over the mass graves of political prisoners who were assassinated in the 1980s.
The human rights group is urging people from all over the world to write to the Regime officials responsible for this decision and to their local diplomatic representatives before September 6.
Amnesty advises that each letter ask the Regime to:
• stop the destruction of these graves
• allow loved ones to bury their dead with dignity
• stop harassing families who are seeking justice for their relatives
• recognise that mass graves are crime scenes that should be investigated by forensic experts
• conduct a thorough criminal investigation of the disappearances, including holding those responsible to account
On July 20, photo and video evidence surfaced that showed the destruction of the concrete structure marking the mass graves, as well as the grave markers for dozens of individual graves, with barbed wire and heavy surveillance now surrounding the site.
An official board at the site reports that the Regime will be building a boulevard and a park there, despite initial promises from the Regime to the families that the project would not interfere with the gravesites.
Amnesty wrote: “The destruction of the graves follows a three-decade-long campaign of enforced disappearance by the authorities which has involved concealing the truth about the fate and whereabouts of those extrajudicially killed in 1988, denying families the right to receive and bury the remains of their loved ones according to their traditions, desecrating the gravesite by turning it into a rubbish dump, forbidding mourning rituals, and cracking down on any critical public discussion about the killings.”
In 1988, on the orders of then-Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini, 30,000 political prisoners, mainly members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) were executed in just a few short months. Many of those killed, including teenagers and the elderly, had already served their sentences and were awaiting release.
Their murders were covered up by the Regime and their bodies buried in mass graves. Their families have consistently been threatened with arrested and even execution for asking questions about the 1988 massacre, which constitutes a form of torture banned under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and is a crime under international law.
The UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances said: “A detention followed by an extrajudicial execution is an enforced disappearance proper, if … subsequent to the detention, or even after the execution was carried out, State officials refuse to disclose the fate or whereabouts of the persons concerned or refuse to acknowledge the act having been perpetrated at all.”