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Hamid Noury’s Trial: “Only 150 Individuals Survived in Iran’s Evin Prison” Says Ex-prisoner

On Thursday, the 50th session of Hamid Noury’s trial in Sweden ended. Noury, an Iranian prison official, involved in crimes against humanity in the 1980s, was incarcerated in 2019 upon his arrival in Sweden.  

He is accused of active participation in the 1988 massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners. The prime victims of this massacre were the supporters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).   

Noury’s trial in Sweden resumed last week after the trial location was briefly transferred to Albania per prosecutors’ request to hear testimonies of the MEK members who were in prison in 1988 and are plaintiffs to Noury’s case. It is worth noting that nearly 3,000 MEK members reside in Albania after their relocation from Iraq in 2016.  

On Thursday’s session, Reza Shemirani, a MEK supporter, testified. Shemirani had spent ten years in prisons in the 1980s and witnessed the massacre of political prisoners in Evin prison in 1988. He has written a book about his memories in prison.  

“The massacre of political prisoners began on July 27, 1988, and continued for several months,” Shemirani told the court on Thursday. “Around 3,500 to 4,000 men and women were executed just in Evin prison. When the massacre ended, only around 120 male prisoners and 20 to 30 female prisoners were alive.”  

Shemirani recalled that Mosa Vaezi, the regime’s Ministry of Intelligence representative, had acknowledged they had massacred prisoners by order of the regime’s then-Supreme Leader, Ruhollah Khomeini.  

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“In the middle of October, he told me that we committed [this massacre] by the orders of Imam [Khomeini]. We would arrest and immediately execute you if you attempt to join the MEK. Then, we will tell you, families, they are now with the MEK in Iraq, parading,” Shemirani said.  

“Around a month before the massacres, in June 1988, I was in a ‘closed-door’ cell with ten to twelve inmates. Mojtaba Halvaie and Mohammad Elahi [prison officials] came to our cell and told us to pack our belongings. You are leaving.” Shemirani said. When one of the prisoners asks where they are going, Halvaie says, “You are going to a good place with all the facilities you want.” They were taken to the so-called “Residential” building. Prisoners were separated into groups of two to three. According to Shemirani, they were in their cells until July 1988.  

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“On July 24, a guard came to our cell and gave us a form to fill. We had to write our names, our father’s name, address, date of birth, and accusation. They encouraged us to write MEK supporters. When the guard left, we started talking and wrote MEK supporter. It was very odd that they insisted on writing MEK name as it was their red line,” Shemirani said.  

They were then taken by a minibus to the prosecutor’s office. He was later taken to the notorious 209 wards in Evin prison. There he sees many prisoners, both men, and women.   

After some time of waiting, the guard takes him to the “Death Commission.” The Death Commissions consisted of four individuals who were tasked with identifying loyal MEK supporters and sending them to the gallows.  One of the Tehran Death Commission members was Ebrahim Raisi, the Iranian regime’s current president.

“[Hossainali] Nayeri asked my name and asked about my charge. Sadly, I didn’t do the right thing as my friends did. I didn’t say the word [MEK supporter] that I should have. Nayeri told a man walking to take me out, who later I recognized as Raisi, the regime’s current president,” Shemirani said. 

“Raisi was not very happy as he was holding my case. He said, ‘Haji, he is a hypocrite [a derogatory term used by regime officials to describe the MEK supporters].’ He wanted to convince Nayeri to execute me,” Shemirani said.  

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Encounter with Noury 

Noury was at Gohardasht prison during the 1988 massacre. He had previously worked in Evin prison. Shemirani sees Noury several months after the massacre in Evin prison.  

“I was walking with Akbar Samedi [a MEK member now in Albania]. It was before noon. Two individuals entered our ward and checked all cells. When they passed Akbar and me, I asked Akbari who are these people? He said, ‘Hamid Noury and Nasserian who were in Gohardasht,” Shemirani said.  

“Then, Abbassi [Noury] saw Akbar Samadi and said, ‘Oh! What are you doing here? Are you still alive? You cheated the hangman! But there wouldn’t be the next time,” he added. 

“You should have been executed”—Political prisoner recounts massacre in Iran’s prisons

It is worth noting that Samadi is one of the plaintiffs and testified two weeks ago in Albania, and he skipped execution miraculously.  

During his hearing sessions last week, Noury acknowledged that the MEK’s name is a red line in Iran under the mullahs’ regime. And using this name would even endanger Noury’s life, despite his loyalty to the Iranian regime.  

Simultaneous with Noury’s trial, the MEK supporters protested in freezing weather outside the court. The family members of victims attended this rally and shared their dreadful stories with the media.