By Jubin Katiraie
The Iranian government has recently destroyed a mass grave in Ahvaz, where many victims of the 1988 massacre were buried, and plan to build a road over the area in a clear attempt to destroy evidence of this crime against humanity.
Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK/PMOI) supporters in Ahvaz and Khuzestan province have presented a documentary report about the destruction, with a local truck driver confirming after three days of investigations that MEK members killed in the 1988 massacre are buried at the site.
Urgent Action Needed to Save the Lives of Political Prisoners
Meanwhile, officials are using the guise of infrastructure improvements to cover up their desecration of these graves and hide their involvement in the massacre.
There are dozens of mass graves containing the remains of political prisoners in Iran; most of these dating from the period 1981-1988. All of the graves are located in remote areas, with no names registered or gravestones marking the site.
The Unforgivable 1988 Massacre in #Iran https://t.co/KfIYciOKSd via @Iran_Focus #IranHumanrights
— Iran Focus (@Iran_Focus) September 10, 2020
Over the past 40 years, the mullahs have repeatedly tried to (and in some cases managed to) destroy these mass graves that link them to the genocide of their people as these should, if the world worked the way it was supposed to, be used as evidence in their trial at The Hague. The idea is to make people forget what happened in Iran’s prisons in the 1980s, particularly in 1988 when 30,000 political prisoners were killed in one summer.
Most of the time, this destruction of evidence is covered up with building work with the hopes that the international community won’t look too closely at roads being constructed in remote areas. Not that they’d have to look that far to see the problem. Two of the sites had cement poured over them in large square shapes, which should have raised suspicions, and other mass graves were covered in rubbish to further insult the victims and discourage the families from visiting.
In May 2017, the government previously tried to build a boulevard over other mass graves in Ahvaz, something that was halted following an outcry by the families and an investigation by the Iranian Opposition. Just one month later, authorities promised not to interfere with the graves when building the road, but by June 2018, the government was at it again and razed one mass grave in less than 24 hours, destroying the grave markers left by relatives with large machinery.
Ahvaz is a particularly important site for mass graves because it’s where the first group of executed political prisoners was buried in 1981, followed by many more groups over the years; something made painfully obvious by satellite images.