Commenting on the announcement on 6 April 2017 that Ebrahim Raisi will stand in Iran’s Presidential election next month, Tahar Boumedra of Justice for the Victims of the 1988 Massacre in Iran (JVMI) said:
“Ebrahim Raisi was a member of Khomeini’s ‘Death Committee’ in Tehran in 1988 that sent tens of thousands of political prisoners to the gallows for refusing to denounce their political affiliation. The Death Committees were formed based on a fatwa by Khomeini calling for the elimination of all political prisoners who continued to support the main opposition group People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI / MEK). As Deputy Prosecutor of Tehran at the time, Raisi sat on most of the Death Committee sessions in the capital and has been identified by numerous survivors as a key decision maker in ordering the executions. He was also named by Khomeini’s former deputy, Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, who broke with the regime and published the text of Khomeini’s hand-written fatwa in his memoires.
“The 1988 massacre has been described by international human rights jurists as an unpunished ‘crime against humanity’. Death committees, comprising a religious judge, a representative of the Intelligence Ministry and a Prosecutor, were formed in towns across the country which held hasty ‘trials’ for prisoners, lasting no more than a few minutes. Prisoners were posed a simple question of where their loyalty continued to lie, and a ‘wrong’ answer meant immediate execution, regardless of the fact that the victims were already serving their sentences which had been handed down by the regime’s courts. Within weeks, according to survivors and defectors within the regime, more than 30,000 political prisoners were exterminated.
“Accountability for the perpetrators and justice for the victims is long overdue. We call on the international community to end the impunity for the perpetrators of the 1988 mass executions who to this day continue to carry out gross violations of human rights in senior positions within the regime. It is high time for an impartial investigation into the atrocity by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights that would lead to the prosecution by international courts of those Iranian officials who are found to have played a role in the mass killings.”