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The Free Iran World Summit 2019

Remarks by Henri Leclerc–Call for Justice Summit, July 19, 2020

Henri Leclerc, French lawyer and Honorary President of the Human Rights League joined the Online Free Iran Global Summit—day 2. In his remarks, Mr. Leclerc said, “It is evident that when we look back on the massacres of 1988, we know of all the executions that occurred.”

In July 1988, the Iranian religious fascism’s founder and the first supreme leader Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa ordering the execution of imprisoned opponents, including those who had already been tried and were serving their prison terms. This was the beginning of what turned out to be the biggest massacre of political prisoners since World War II.

Following the decree, some 30,000 political prisoners were extra-judicially executed within several months. Today, thanks to the initiative of Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), known as “Call for Justice” many legal and international bodies have joined the families of victims in search of justice.

Here is the speech of Mr. Leclerc:

My dear friends, I cannot forget the fight that we have led since 2003. These meetings started a little after, and more or less every year, we have gathered to discuss the scandal of persecution against a certain number of people, including Maryam Radjavi, in France.

This fight has been ongoing for a long time, and I think about when, ten years on, the anti-terrorist judge Marc Trvidic said that terrorism should not be confused with resistance to oppression, and that we certainly couldn’t prosecute these men and women for acts of violence towards.

Some violence occurred, but these were more of a reaction, protection, a resistance to the oppression which came from a regime that terrorized its own people. I believe that is the first thing: we succeeded, at least, to secure this anti-terrorism justice, which had unfairly come after a number of men and women for diplomatic reasons, and it has now been recognized that the this was all in the name of resistance towards repression from a tyrannical regime.

You know, France is a country proclaimed the human rights declaration two centuries ago. This declaration concerned France at that specific period in time. The authors stated that the forgetting of and contempt towards human rights were the causes of the corruption of governments, and all of the problems within a country.

We know that there are certain places, Iran particularly being one of them, where it is not permitted to speak out, and where belief is used as a weapon. When I think about how people are sentenced to death for being “enemies of God”: how do they define enemies of God? It is solely because they resisted oppression.

It is evident that when we look back on the massacres of 1988, we know of all the executions that occurred. We see a level of crimes against humanity that keeps occurring, and men and women are executed. This is not stopping. There are those of 1988.

Not just those who were condemned to death, but those who disappeared, which is terrible. Because when someone disappears, we do not even know where they lie, their place of rest. It is in our memory, and this ongoing fight, in which we partake, is their tomb.

Nothing is changing in Iran: death sentences, they happen non-stop. We don’t stop tallying them, hearing about them. At the start of January, there was one, then another a little later, and then again another. Then, the two deaths of July 14, the two Kurdish militants who were condemned to death solely based on confessions that we know were made following torture.

Within this case, there are multiple pieces of evidence to prove their innocence. Furthermore, they were arrested in 2013 and executed in 2020. Condemned in 2015, executed in 2020, facing agony and atrocious pain in prison so well described by our great poet Victor Hugo in The Last Day of the Condemned. They suffered by being made to wait.

We need to keep fighting because the death penalty is above all else a horror, and we need to fight it in all countries of the world. But, with an old fighter like me, we started in Iran as campaigners, and Iran held us in their hearts. We were all young when we started campaigning to defend freedoms in Iran.

Following this, for a long time, we fought, denounced, and intervened against the awful Savak of the Shah of Iran. After this, we saw a revolution. We rejoiced, and our friends, the Iranian fighters in France, were thrilled with us when they returned to Iran. Then, we watched them get executed one after the other.

Therefore, the fight must continue. We need the international community to intervene. We need to push the U.N., the security council, the human rights council and get them to act. Iran is being ravaged by the same illness which we are experienced here, and maybe they are less capable there, I do not know. But, that is not the problem. It’s that this doesn’t stop the tortures, but exacerbates them.

There are now, at this very moment, many Iranians who are on their way to prisons, to be subjected to atrocious tortures, and tomorrow they will be dead. We need to act and we need to not stop, we need to not lower our arms. We need to come together and denounce so that at least the whole world knows what is going on in these countries so that this abomination can be stopped.

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Remarks by Henri Leclerc–Call for Justice Summit, July 19, 2020