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Amnesty International Annual Report: Iran’s Deplorable Human Rights Situation and Crisis of Impunity

On March 29, Amnesty International published its annual report assessing the global human rights situation. Four pages of this comprehensive report shed light on Iran’s deplorable human rights situation under the ruling theocracy.

Apart from addressing the Iranian regime’s systematic human rights violations, such as its high number of executions per capita and using torture to extract confessions from prisoners, Amnesty’s report also refers to the Iranian regime’s worst crime against humanity, which is the 1988 massacre of thousands of political prisoners.

Amnesty’s report mainly refers to Ebrahim Raisi’s rise to the presidency while he is a known perpetrator of the 1988 genocide and played a key role during that tragic event as a member of the so-called “Death commission.”

“In Iran, Ebrahim Raisi rose to the presidency instead of being investigated for crimes against humanity related to the mass enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions of 1988,” the report reads.

Amnesty underlines that Raisi’s ascendence to the presidency reflects the “systemic impunity in Iran.” The organization’s report also refers to the unprecedented electoral boycott of the regime’s sham presidential election in June, which resulted in Raisi’s presidency.

It is worth noting that after the regime’s announced Raisi as the winner, Ms. Agnes Callamard, Amnesty’s Secretary-General, underlined that “Ebrahim Raisi has risen to the presidency instead of being investigated for the crimes against humanity of murder, enforced disappearance and torture, is a grim reminder that impunity reigns supreme in Iran.”

The crisis of impunity in Iran was also highlighted by seven UN human rights experts, including Callamard, in December 2020.

“There is a systemic impunity enjoyed by those who ordered and carried out the extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances,” the UN experts wrote.

Amnesty’s annual report also refers to the Iranian regime’s attempts to destroy the evidence of the 1988 massacre, including demolishing mass graves.

“Authorities prevented Baha’is from burying their loved ones in empty plots at a cemetery near Tehran, insisting they bury them between existing graves or at the nearby Khavaran mass grave site related to the 1988 prison massacres,” the organization wrote in its report.

Amnesty’s report also emphasized the Iranian regime’s deadly crackdown on protesters during the major Iran protests in 2019 and covered up the actual extent of this heinous massacre.

“The authorities continued to cover up the number of those killed during November 2019 protests, dismissed complaints by victims’ families, and praised security forces for the crackdown. Throughout the year, security forces dispersed peaceful gatherings of relatives seeking justice and beat and temporarily detained them,” the report adds.

In its annual report, the renowned human rights organization refers to the ongoing trial of Hamid Noury (Abbasi), an Iranian prison official arrested in Sweden in 2019. “The trial of Hamid Nouri, arrested in Sweden for alleged involvement in prison massacres in 1988, began in August under the principle of universal jurisdiction.”

Amnesty’s annual report once again highlights the need to hold the Iranian regime accountable for its human rights abuses. The world community should use the principle of “universal jurisdiction” and punish criminals like Raisi.


In the summer of 1988, over 30,000 political prisoners were sent to gallows. Most were members and supporters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).

In 1988, the Iranian regime’s then-supreme leader, Ruhollah 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 youth 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 idea 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.”