Arab News daily published a report about an open letter sent to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet and the Member States of the UN Human Rights Council seeking an international inquiry into the 1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran.
The open letter, organised by JVMI, has been co-signed by 466 current and former UN officials, world leaders, distinguished jurists, human rights experts, Nobel laureates, NGOs, and academic institutions.
Below is the full text of the report by Arab News, dated 27 January 2022.
Rights Experts, Jurists, Politicians Urge UN To Probe 1988 Iran Massacre
Arab News, 27 January 2022
- Letter: ‘Mass executions, enforced disappearances of thousands of political prisoners constitute ongoing crimes against humanity’
- Many were sent to their death by current President Ebrahim Raisi
LONDON: Hundreds of international lawyers and human rights scholars have penned an open letter to the UN’s Human Rights Council urging it to open an investigation into Iran’s 1988 massacre of political prisoners.
Dozens of rights groups also joined more than 450 individuals, many of them former world leaders and prosecutors in the International Criminal Court, in signing the letter, which was released to the public on Thursday.
“We urge the UN Human Rights Council to urgently challenge the impunity enjoyed by Iranian officials by mandating an international investigation into the 1988 mass executions and enforced disappearances of thousands of political prisoners which constitute ongoing crimes against humanity,” the letter said.
“We believe it’s long overdue for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to investigate the 1988 massacre.”
The letter was organized by a London-based association of victims’ families called Justice for the Victims of the 1988 Massacre in Iran.
In the immediate aftermath of the war with Iraq and on orders of then-Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini, Iranian authorities executed thousands of political prisoners accused of betraying the state during the conflict.
By some estimates 30,000 were killed, many of them members of the Mujahedin-e Khalq, a revolutionary group that later fell out of favor with the regime.
Many of those prisoners were sent to their death by Iran’s current President Ebrahim Raisi, who served as a deputy prosecutor in Tehran at the time.
The US placed him on a sanctions list in 2019, citing the executions and other alleged rights abuses. He has denied involvement in the executions.
Among the letter’s signatories is Sang-Hyun Song, president of the ICC from 2009 to 2015; Jacques Santer, former prime minister of Luxembourg; Guy Verhofstadt, former prime minister of Belgium; and hundreds of former UN officials and human rights professionals.
Other signatories include former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and 18 Nobel Laureates.
The letter is the latest in a series of calls by rights groups and others urging the UN to take action on the 1988 massacre, which remains controversial internationally as well as in Iran.