On October 10, people gathered at the mayor’s office in Paris to commemorate victims of the 1988 massacre in Iran and those suffering from human rights violations in Iran today, as part of The World Against Death Penalty Day.
During this event, which was organized by the Support Committee for Human Rights in Iran (SCHRI), officials and human rights activists joined eye-witnesses and victims of human rights abuse in Iran to discuss the state of human rights abuse in the country today. Iran is currently the world’s leading country for executions per capita. The UN General Assembly have issued a report which claimed at least 966 death penalties were committed during 2015 in Iran. The number of executions in Iran is at its highest point in over two decades. According to the same report, so far in 2016, “at least 200 people were executed”. Honorable President of the League for Human Rights, Mr. Henri Leclerc, who was among the speakers, stated that “in Iran, the use of the death penalty is massive and we cannot let this go unchallenged.” He called upon the UN to get involved and bring justice to the innocent victims. “It is a crime against humanity when we know that thousands were executed while they were in prison. This must be denounced and we must act. We have sufficient materials. I hope that the UN conducts an investigation which brings those responsible to trial.”
Jean-François Legaret, the mayor of district 1 in Paris, opened the event by saying that there is “a battle to fight against the death penalty and other barbaric acts in Iran”, the 1988 mass execution being one of them. More information has surfaced recently surrounding the 1988 executions of more than 30,000 political prisoners, including pregnant women and children. The executions were carried out in the space of just a few months and were firmly objected by the once-thought heir to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri. Audiotapes that were recently released by his son, shed further light into these crimes as they portray a meeting by the Death Commission who were responsible for carrying out these mass murders. Most of the victims were followers of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) which remains the strongest force of resistance to the Iranian regime today.
During the meeting, speakers discussed the urgent need to bring the perpetrators of these horrendous crimes to justice, many of whom remain in leading roles within the Iranian government today. Mr. Leclerc said that the victims of the 1988 crimes “died for liberty around the world; these men, women, and children have a right to justice. If we leave such crimes unpunished, it is our future that will truly be tragic.”
Mr. Legaret also expressed his hopes that this and other campaigns will help bring justice to the victims by judging the perpetrators in an international tribunal. It comes as no surprise that years after the 1988 massacre, innocent people are still being punished by death for crimes that are often related to differences in political views, religion or even down to gender differences. It is believed that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for hanging 1,000 people every year.
Mr. Legaret stressed that business dealings and commercial trade with Iran should never take precedence over stopping human rights violations witnessed in the country.
Jacques Boutault, the mayor of district 2 in Paris, expressed his gratitude to those who take the side of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) to defend human rights in Iran. Mr. Boutalt also stressed the role that the Iranian regime play in contributing to the war in Syria and specifically the city of Aleppo where some 200,000-300,000 civilians remain trapped. He expressed his conviction that the government of France should denounce the involvement which Iran has in Syria, further perpetuating the crimes.