The Municipality of Paris’ 5th District held an exhibition and conference at the Town Hall on 28 November 2017 to remember the thousands of political prisoners who perished in Iran during the prison massacre of 1988.
Invited by Florence Berthout, Mayor of the 5th District of Paris, the conference was co-sponsored by the Committee to Support Human Rights in Iran and the Committee of French Mayors for a Democratic Iran. A number of political personalities, lawyers and elected representatives of France called on the United Nations and its Member States to take appropriate action against this “crime against humanity”.
Speakers included former Algerian Prime Minister Sid Ahmad Ghozali, former French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, former French Human Rights Minister Rama Yade, Mayor of Paris’s 1st District Jean-François Legaret, former Columbian Senator and Presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, distinguished French lawyer William Bourdon, and Tahar Boumedra of JVMI, who called for the formation of an international commission of inquiry to investigate the extra-judicial executions of 30,000 political prisoners in the summer 1988.
The executions were carried out based on a fatwa by Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the theocratic regime in Iran, the speakers pointed out.
Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, sent a video message to the conference, stating that “the international community’s appeasement of the Iranian regime and the immunity enjoyed by its officials over some 40 years has emboldened these criminals. The mullahs who carried out the massacre in 1988, now hold the world record in per capita executions.”
The mothers of several victims of the 1988 massacre spoke of their grief in still searching for the bodies of their loved ones. Representatives of Iran’s young generation pointed out that young Iranians inside the country demand accountability for the Iranian regime’s officials over these crimes.
Bernard Kouchner recalled that Khomeini decided in the name of God to order the death of 30,000 political prisoners within a few months. Kouchner described the massacre as the ‘climax of barbarism’. He condemned the fact that a member of the 1988 Death Commissions, that sent prisoners to their death, is currently the Justice Minister in Hassan Rouhani’s cabinet.
Rama Yade called for an international investigation into the 1988 massacre and pointed out that the Iranian Judiciary, whose officials had a direct role in the massacre, is not competent to investigate this crime.
William Bourdon pointed out that the 1988 massacre in Iran is the largest massacre of political prisoners since World War II. We must put an end to the impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators of the massacre, he said.
The co-chair of the Committee of French Mayors for a Democratic Iran, Jean-François Legaret announced that more than 2,000 French Mayors and councilors have signed a new declaration endorsing the conference’s objectives. He pointed out the mayors and councilors had signed the declaration at the recent annual Congress of Mayors of France and that the text reiterated the need for an international investigation into the 1988 massacre in Iran.
Numerous documents, photographs, video footage, handicraft of executed prisoners and other artwork were put on exhibition on the sideline of this conference.