“What goes around, comes around” is the best expression to describe what happens regarding the authoritarian regime in Iran today. In the past 42 years, the ayatollahs have done “whatever it takes” to hold onto power.
Since 1979, they mercilessly suppressed freedom-loving individuals and entities, human rights defenders, ethnic and religious minorities, and even peaceful protesters on the tarmac. During the 1980s, they committed enormous crimes against dissidents, including the extrajudicial executions of 30,000 political prisoners in the summer of 1988.
The mass killing of dissidents, which is known as the 1988 massacre, is one of the most prominent crimes in Iran’s history. Numerous prominent rights defenders and international law experts believe that the perpetrators of the crime should be held accountable for crimes against humanity.
“The execution of imprisoned opponents, including those who had already been tried and were serving their prison terms, was the biggest massacre of political prisoners since World War II,” Baroness Boothroyd, the former Speaker of the House of Commons pointed out at the call for justice summit on July 19.
Swedish Judges Decide to Transfer Hamid Noury’s Trial to Albania
These days, one of the massacre executioners Hamid Noury is being brought to justice by Swedish authorities in Stockholm. He was detained in November 2019 due to his role in the 1988 crime. At the time, he was an interrogator in the notorious prison of Gohardasht, in the northwest of the capital Tehran.
In July 1988, Islamic Republic founder Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, ordering judicial authorities to immediately purge prisons from political prisoners, particularly those who insisted on supporting the main opposition Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK).
“It is decreed that those who are in prison throughout the country and remain steadfast in their support for the [MEK] are waging war on God and are condemned to execution,” read Khomeini’s fatwa.
In this context, Swedish judges decided to transfer the court to the coastal city of Durrës in the west of Albania to hear former political prisoners’ testimonies. The judges were convinced that these testimonies would shed light on bleak parts of this case.
During the 35th to 37th sessions of Hamid Noury’s trial in Durrës, MEK members Mohammad Zand, Majid Saheb-Jam, and Asghar Mehdizadeh testified and recounted horrible truth about the 1988 massacre. They mentioned the role of Hamid Noury in the crime, and they shared their experiences about the regime’s atrocities in Gohardasht Prison.
The court is supposed to continue for several other days to hear more testimonies provided by the 1988 massacre survivors affiliated with the MEK.
Aban People’s Tribunal in London
Furthermore, thanks to an initiative by human rights activists and organizations, including The World Coalition Against the Death Penalty (WCADP), Iran Human Rights (IHR NGO), and Justice for Iran, the People’s Tribunal of Aban (November) was held in London.
During the tribunal presided by Judge Zak Yaccob, a prominent anti-apartheid activist from South Africa, hundreds of witnesses and families of victims gave their testimonies. According to dissidents and an exclusive report by Reuters, Iranian authorities murdered at least 1,500 protesters within two days.
Aban Tribunal is a significant point to hold criminal authorities in Iran, including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, President Ebrahim Raisi, then-President Hassan Rouhani, then-Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Commander-in-Chief Hossein Salami, and hundreds of other intelligence and security officials to account.
Historic testimonies and details provided by witnesses should be considered as a call on the international community for prosecuting criminal officials in Iran. “People’s tribunal on deadly protest crackdowns must serve as a wake-up call for all UN member states,” said Raha Bahreini, an Amnesty International’s Iran Researcher and a human rights lawyer.