The enforced disappearances of thousands of political dissidents perpetrated by the government of Iran, in what became known as the 1988 massacre, continue unabated, as Iran continues to conceal the fate and the whereabouts of the victims, the United States State Department announced on August 30, 2020.
The US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor said in a Tweet: “The enforced disappearances Iran perpetrated as part of its so-called 1988 “death commissions,” targeting thousands of political dissidents, continue unabated, as Iran continues to conceal the fate and the whereabouts of persons who have disappeared.”
“Iran has failed to investigate or hold perpetrators accountable for these crimes and has promoted former death commission members to senior regime positions, including the head of the Iranian judiciary and the Minister of Justice”, the State Department added.
Following a fatwa handed down by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini in mid-July 1988, more than 30,000 political prisoners with various political tendencies, mostly affiliated with the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI or MEK), were secretly mass executed over several months after mock trials lasting just five minutes. Their corpses were doused with disinfectant, packed in refrigerated trucks, and buried at night in mass graves across the country.
An investigation in 2017 by Justice for the Victims of the 1988 Massacre in Iran (JVMI) uncovered the identities of 87 Death Commission members. Many still hold senior positions in the Iranian Judiciary or government. They include Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi and Justice Minister Alireza Avaei. The perpetrators have never been held accountable.