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IHRDC Urges Canada's Parliament to Recognize the 1988 Prison Massacre as Constituting Crimes against Humanity

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Iran Human Rights Documentation Center Urges Canada’s Parliament to Recognize the 1988 Prison Massacre in the Islamic Republic of Iran as Constituting Crimes Against Humanity

(June 3, 2013) – The Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC) calls on the Canadian Parliament to adopt a unanimous consent motion, expected to be presented on June 5, 2013, recognizing the massacre of political prisoners by the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) in the summer of 1988 as constituting crimes against humanity.  The motion before the Canadian Parliament has been proposed by the Massacre88 campaign—a group of Iranian-Canadian human rights activists seeking justice and accountability for the atrocities committed by the Iranian authorities in 1988.

IHRDC supports the motion before Canada’s Parliament in the strongest terms.  The 1988 prison massacre remains one of the single most brutal periods in the history of the IRI.  Pursuant to a fatwa­—or religious edict—issued by then-Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini, the IRI systematically interrogated, tortured and summarily executed thousands of political prisoners for their ideological and religious beliefs.  Many families were not notified of the executions of their loved ones and most of the victims were buried in unmarked mass graves.  The Iranian government has never identified those who were secretly executed and tortured, and has never issued an official explanation for this crime.

In its report Deadly Fatwa: Iran’s 1988 Prison Massacre, IHRDC concluded—on the basis of interviews with survivors and family members of the victims of the 1988 massacre and other documentation—that the crimes committed by the IRI in the summer of 1988 undoubtedly constituted a crime against humanity.  Since the release of that report, the Iran Tribunal—a people’s court established to adjudicate serious allegations of human rights violations in the IRI during the 1980s—determined, pursuant to the judgment of a judicial bench composed of international legal practitioners that heard testimony from survivors and witnesses of the massacre, that the IRI “committed crimes against humanity in the 1980-1989 periods against its own citizens in violation of applicable international laws.”

Members of Canada’s Parliament can demonstrate their firm commitment to accountability in Iran by saying “yes” to this motion.  A positive vote will send a strong message to the Iranian authorities that the international community has not forgotten these crimes and serve as an affirmative step in achieving justice for the survivors and families of the victims of these atrocities.

For further information please contact:

Gissou Nia

Executive Director

Iran Human Rights Documentation Center

Email: gnia@iranhrdc.org

Phone: +1 203 654 9342

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1988 Prison Massacre