European Parliament President David Sassoli, who was hospitalized in Italy in recent weeks, has passed away.
David Sassoli, a 65-year-old Italian socialist, had been chairing the European Parliament since July 2019, concluding his term at the end of this month. He has been a member of the European Parliament in the Socialist faction since 2009. According to David Sassoli’s office spokesman, he had been hospitalized for several months due to a weakening immune system.
European Commission President Ursula van der Leyen, President of the Council of Europe Charles Michel and many other European officials praised Sassoli’s role while mourning his death, and the flags of the EU institutions in Brussels were lowered to half-mast. Malta’s first deputy speaker, Roberto Metzuli, took over the rotating presidency temporarily.
During his tenure in the European Parliament from 2014 to 2019, as Vice President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli supported the Iranian Resistance and the rights of the Iranian people against the dictatorship of the mullahs. He was a steadfast supporter and signatory of the statements condemning massacres in Camp Ashraf in Iraq, as well as condemning the gross human rights violations and increasing executions in Iran and the justice movement for the 1988 massacre.
On June 17, 2016, when he was Vice President of the European Parliament, he was one of the signatories of the statement issued by more than 270 members of the European Parliament in support of the Iranian Resistance and Ms. Maryam Rajavi’s 10-point plan.
The statement said:
“During a visit to the European Parliament in March 2016, Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi outlined her 10-point plan, which includes a pluralist democratic republic with universal suffrage, freedom of expression, abolition of torture and the death penalty, separation of religion and state, a non-nuclear Iran, an independent judiciary, the rights of minorities, peaceful coexistence in the region, gender equality and a commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“Given the human rights violations in Iran, we call on the European Union and its member states to make any further relations with the Iranian regime conditional on clear progress on human rights and an end to the executions.”
On May 18, 2017, David Sassoli signed a joint statement by 156 members of parliament calling for condemnation of the growing human rights violations in Iran and the establishment of a commission to investigate the massacre of political prisoners in 1988.
The statement said:
“We are very concerned about the large number of executions in Iran. More than 3,000 people have been hanged during the first term of the so-called moderate president, Hassan Rouhani.
“The Revolutionary Guards, which controls much of Iran’s economy, are involved in domestic repression and the export of death and destruction to other parts of the region.
“Documents recently leaked inside Iran by a senior cleric (Mr. Montazeri) confirm that the current Iranian Minister of Justice was a key member of the so-called Death Commission, which carried out the mass executions of more than 30,000 political prisoners, including several thousand women, in Iran, carried out in the summer of 1988. This is a massacre that Amnesty International has called a crime against humanity. Most of the victims were affiliated with the opposition, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran.
“As a result, we call on the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the United Nations Human Rights Council to establish a commission of inquiry into the 1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran.”
David Sassoli was also among the 265 members of the European Parliament, including four vice-presidents, 23 chairmen of commissions and delegations, as well as four former ministers from various countries, who called out the sham presidential elections in Iran, while condemning the regime’s gross human rights violations and increasing number of executions. They called on the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Human Rights Council to investigate the 1988 massacre and bring the perpetrators to justice.
During his presidency of the European Parliament in December 2019, which coincided with the bloody crackdown on the November 2019 protests, Mr. Sassoli proposed an immediate debate on Iran to support the demonstrators and to condemn the clerical regime at the European Parliament, despite a pre-arranged schedule. Parliament debated and later adopted a resolution strongly condemning the repressive clerical regime while supporting the people and the demonstrators. The European Parliament called on the Vice President and Foreign Minister of the European Union Josep Borrell to adopt a firm policy towards the regime in order to improve the human rights situation, ensure the immediate release of those arrested and to prosecute the perpetrators of the killing of 1,500 defenseless demonstrators.
Mr. Sassoli also declared a minute of silence in parliament on January 13, 2020, for the victims of the Ukrainian civilian airliner that was shot down by the Iranian regime, writing on Twitter: “There must be a thorough and transparent investigation to ensure justice.”
Today, the @Europarl_EN observed a minute of silence in memory of the 176 people killed when their plane was shot down in Iran last week. Our thoughts are with their families and friends. There must be a full and transparent investigation to ensure justice. pic.twitter.com/VoVSqmXPas
— David Sassoli (@EP_President) January 13, 2020
I would like to extend my deepest sympathies and condolences on the passing away of EP President, Mr. #DavidSassoli, to his family and friends and to the members of the @Europarl_EN.
— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) January 11, 2022