Belgian experts and politicians in the conference with 1000 Political Prisoners Urge the World Community To Investigate 1988 Massacre

Over 30 years have passed since the 1988 massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners. The perpetrators of this crime against humanity, as described by many human rights experts, have enjoyed systematic impunity, rendered by the international community’s inaction.

This systematic impunity reached its peak in June 2021 when the Iranian regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei selected Ebrahim Raisi as the new president. Raisi was a member of Tehran’s “Death Commissions,” responsible for killing thousands of political prisoners, mostly members and supporters of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK).

Today, 1000 political prisoners, including dozens of the survivors of the 1988 massacre along with international dignitaries from across the globe joined a virtual conference to continue the effort to seek justice and accountability.

Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) was the key speaker of this conference who stressed the importance to investigate 1988 massacre to prosecute Iranian regime officials.

“From the onset of the 1988 massacre, the Iranian Resistance provided information about the mass executions to the United Nations. Unfortunately, they chose to turn a blind eye to these crimes,” Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, said in her keynote speech at the conference. Mrs. Rajavi described the 1988 massacre as “a clear example of genocide.”
“Khomeini’s fatwa was an explicit decree to execute all the Mojahedin who remained steadfast… the goal of the regime goes far beyond the execution of several thousand; it is the obliteration of a generation, an ideology, and men and women who rejected religious extremism under the guise of Islam and stood up for human freedom and dignity,” she said.
Accordingly, the gathering of 1,000 PMOI/MEK prisoners is a unique capital for the Call-for-Justice movement and the Resistance movement that seeks to overthrow the regime, she added. “The fact that such a large and valuable group of witnesses to the regime’s crimes are at the core of a revolutionary movement speaks volumes about a tremendous social reality,” Mrs. Rajavi said. “Over the past 33 years, they have continuously contributed to the Call-for-Justice Movement with their high spirit and effective presence in the struggle against religious fascism.”
Mrs. Rajavi also stressed that the ongoing rallies and demonstrations of freedom-loving Iranians and supporters of the Iranian Resistance outside a Stockholm court “are yet another glorious feature of the Call-for-Justice Movement.”
“For us, the Call-for-Justice movement is synonymous with perseverance, steadfastness, and resistance to overthrow this regime and establish freedom with all our strength. For this reason, the regime has denied the massacre, minimized the number of victims, and erased their identities in a bid to prolong its rule,” she said. “The discussion about erasing the identity of the victims of the massacre is not a partisan issue. It is the core of the issue and the critical step to undermine the principles and positions those martyrs laid down their lives for and walked to the gallows.”
Therefore, the powerful movement that seeks justice for the victims of the 1988 massacre has defied the expectation of Khomeini, Khamenei, and their accomplices, who ordered the hanging of thousands upon thousands of prisoners by executioners like Ebrahim Raisi.
In her speech, Mrs. Rajavi reiterated the responsibility of the international community in holding the perpetrators of the 1988 massacre to account.
“I again call on the U.S. and Europe to recognize the 1988 massacre in Iran as genocide and a crime against humanity. They must not accept Raisi in their countries. They must prosecute and hold him accountable,” she said.
Mrs. Rajavi also reiterates her call to the UN Secretary-General, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN Human Rights Council, the UN special rapporteurs, and international human rights organizations to “visit the Iranian regime’s prisons and meet with the prisoners there, especially the political prisoners.”
“The dossier of human rights violations in Iran, especially regarding the regime’s conduct in prisons, should be submitted to the UN Security Council,” she concluded.

After the speech of Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the panel experts and politicians expressed their points about the importance of the 1988 Massacre and what need to be done at the international level to investigate this crime and prosecute its perpetrators.

Professor Eric David from ULB and MEP Guy Verhofstadt, former Belgian Prime Minister, were two Belgian speakers in this conference.

Eric David, Professor of International Law from ULB: There is no doubt that this is a crime against humanity. It was an attack on a civil population. This is also a genocide because the victims were killed based on their adherence to a set of beliefs that was banned by the mullahs. All international jurisdictions can try this crime. If a regime official is in any country, that country can easily accuse and try that person for his responsibility in the 1988 massacre. We have no difficulty judicially bringing this case to court. We have to reiterate that these criminals be brought to justice in international courts.

Guy Verhofstadt, Prime Minister of Belgium (1999 to 2008): I am still shocked by what happened in 1988 and it is because the people had no chance to protect themselves and flee from torture. They were locked up and deprived of freedom. And based on the fatwa, they were hanged after short inquisitions by the death commission. The 1988 massacre targeted an entire generation of young people. It is crucial to know that this was planned in advance. It was the consequence of the regime itself. The regime is always trying to brutally silence those who ask for the improvement of human rights and freedoms. The 1988 massacre was planned and rigorously executed with a clear target in mind. It qualifies as genocide. Imagine if these people were not slaughtered and were freed and given the chance to build their country. Without that massacre, there would be a totally different Iran. This is why the 1988 massacre has a deep signification. The massacre was never officially investigated by the UN and the perpetrators were not indicted. They continue to enjoy impunity. Today, the regime is run by the killers of that time.

Watch the conference in English

Full Conference in French