In July 1988, prisons in Iran, crammed with government opponents suddenly went into lockdown. All family visits were cancelled, televisions and radios switched off and newspapers discontinued. Prisoners kept in their cells, disallowed exercise or trips to the infirmary. The only permitted visitation was from a delegation, turbaned and bearded: a religious judge, a public prosecutor, and an intelligence chief. Before them were paraded, briefly and individually, almost every prisoner, and there were thousands of them, who had been jailed for adherence to the MEK.
The delegation had but one question for these young men and women; most of them detained since 1981 merely for taking part in street protests or possession of ‘political’ reading material, and although they did not know it, on the answer their life would depend. Those who by their answer evinced any continuing affiliation with the MEK were blindfolded and ordered to join a conga-line that led straight to the gallows. They were hung from cranes, four at a time, or in groups of six from ropes hanging from the stage in an assembly hall; some were taken to army barracks at night, directed to make their wills and then shot by firing squad and buried by night in mass graves.
Months later their families, desperate for information about their children or their partners, would be handed a plastic bag with their few possessions. They would be refused any information about the location of the graves and ordered never to mourn them in public.
By mid-August 1988, over 30,000 prisoners had been killed in this manner by the state – without trial, without appeal and utterly without mercy.
Now, three decades later, together, we have made the world address one of the most brutal genocides since World War II.
Join the movement seeking to end impunity and hold those responsible for the continuous crimes against humanity in Iran accountable.