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Lawmaker, legal expert call for prosecution of perpetrators of Iran’s 1988 massacre

NCRI – A prominent lawyer and a lawmaker, both from the UK, took part in an online conference on Wednesday to discuss the human rights situation in Iran especially given the recent revelations about the 1988 massacre of political prisoners.

Lord Maginnis of Drumglass, member of the UK House of Lords, and Malcolm Fowler, a former member of the Human Rights Committee of the Law Society of England and Wales, talked about the leaked audio which proves the involvement of the mullahs’ regime in the massacre and expressed hope that the UK government would commission an inquiry into it.

An audio tape featuring a meeting between the late Hossein-Ali Montazeri, former heir to the Iranian regime’s Supreme Leader Khomeini, and senior officials of the Iranian regime who were responsible for the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners during the summer of 1988, leaked earlier this month. The victims of the massacre were mainly activists of the main opposition group People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI or MEK).
The audio file, which was released by Montazeri’s official website on August 9, has spread like wildfire inside Iran. It sheds further light on the 1988 mass execution of political dissidents in Iran and reveals the true nature of the theocratic regime. The regime’s security forces summoned Montazeri’s son and ordered him to take the file down from the website.

In the recording, Montazeri can be heard addressing the “In my opinion, the greatest crime committed in the Islamic Republic … for which history will condemn us, is being committed by you. In the future your (names) will be etched in the annals of history as criminals.”

Lord Maginnis said: “The 3000 executions in Iran during the last three years are in a way the continuation of the 1988 massacre … the execution of a 15-year-old girl during the massacre is sadly not unique, as execution of minors is still taking place in Iran.”

He regretted that the UK did not have a realistic moral policy towards Iran so far but he hoped that the new Prime Minister, Theresa May, would take a more principled stance towards Iran and adopt a policy that focuses on the regime’s human rights violations in line with the British morality.

He added: “So long as Iran is treated as a trading partner and we focus on financial gains, the executions in that country will continue. The UK’s policy must focus on the plight of the Iranian people and sacrifices that for trade deals.”

Mr. Fowler condemned the massacre as an injustice of historic proportions and a clear violation of international law. He pointed out that lawyers have a responsibility to help bring the perpetrators to face justice, especially in light of Montazeri’s new revelations.

Mr. Fowler said: “The massacre of political prisoners in Iran in 1988 is unacceptable under international law. Prisoners were executed for vague crimes like waging war against God. The trials were a joke, there was no due process … [this] even runs contrary to the conventions that the Iranian regime has ratified. We must pursue this crime from every avenue.”

Pointing to the role of senior Iranian officials like the current Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the current Justice Minister in Hassan Rouhani’s cabinet in the 1988 massacre, Mr. Fowler said: “Khamenei’s responsibility in 1988 massacre shows the real character of the regime, where central figures are capable of injustice of great proportions … All the atrocities the regime officials hide in the closet must be exposed.”

Mr. Fowler said: “There must be an investigation by the UK government into the 1988 massacre in Iran. [From a judicial point of view] the end result should be the referral of those responsible to the International Tribunals and it must be tried, even if some countries in the UN Security Council are expected to cause problems by vetoing such efforts.”

He added: “A draft indictment should be sent to the International Criminal Court to this end as many of the perpetrators are known … what has happened in 1988 massacre in Iran, was wrong yesterday, is wrong today and will not be justified.”

Echoing these remarks, Jim Fitzpatrick from the UK House of Commons, said in a video message to the conference: “There should be an enquiry, there should be charges levelled. Somebody has to be held responsible for the deaths of these people whose only crime was [being the political] opposition to Ayatollah Khomeini.”

Lord Maginnis also raised other concerns with the Iranian regime.

He said: “Iran is involved in atrocities all over the region. [Iran backed proxies in Iraq] attacked Camp Liberty residents with rockets [on several occasions] … we have let them down.”

He was referring to repeated rocket attacks by the Iranian regime’s terrorist proxy forces on members of the PMOI (MEK) in Camp Liberty in Iraq.

“We must create a new attitude to help the Iranian people, who have endured so much. At the end it is down to us to pressure the government and the Prime Minister to not compromise on Iranian people’s plight for financial gains”, he concluded, while expressing his concerns about the media not covering the message about the 1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran as much as they should.