Free Human Rights Lawyers and Advocates

For the first time in the contemporary history of Iran, an international campaign has been launched to investigate the mass executions of Iran’s political prisoners, and to hold the Islamic Republic of Iran accountable for its crimes against humanity during the 1980s and, in particular, the summer of 1988.
This grassroots campaign was initiated in October 2007 by the families of the victims, survivors of the atrocities and many conscientious and freedom-seeking political and human rights activists. Since that date, all the necessary preparatory work to set up an international tribunal has been carried out. The project was publicly launched at a press conference on the 10th December 2009, on International Human Rights Day. Two months later the first conference call was held on Thursday 11th February 2010, which outlined the structure and framework of the Tribunal and the “Legal Steering Committee”. The draft outline was discussed among the jurists for a period of one month and was completed on 11th March 2010.

Based on the draft, the Legal Steering Committee was to be established to prepare the work and the legal proceedings. Following multilateral international efforts, Mr John Cooper QC, a high profile English barrister, agreed to lead the Committee. Since this positive development and after two more months of preparatory work, the plenary conference of the Iran Tribunal was held on 1st October 2010. Fifteen prominent jurists and human rights activists took part from Britain, South Africa, Belgian, Germany, Turkey, USA, Canada, Sweden and France.

The Conference discussed the establishment of the Legal Steering Committee, its format and tasks. The Committee will be composed of international jurists and activists and is charged with the task of organising the Tribunal, selecting judges, prosecutors and defence teams. Mr John Cooper QC was made Chairman of the Committee and a group of three was appointed to organise the Committee.

Iran Tribunal
16 October 2010 — with Ali Ghalebani, Jonathon Zee Dee, Kourosh Deyhim, ALi Allipour, Karim Khiav, Kanone Socialisthaye Kargari, John Smith, Hamid Kashefi, Ladan Moezi, -azadi Barabari, Alexander Broumand, Jocelyn Lumba, Jan Azadi, Kourosh Freedomfighter, راه کارگر, John Doran, Ali H.Zamani, Aarash Kamaan, Adeltina Salierno, Ahmad Rahmani, Eli Victory, Fariborz Irani, ‘Afsaneh Zahed, Awara Azizi, Ali Bahrami, Bessi Shamari, Babak Shadidi, Kourosh Esteki, Irantribunal English III, Iransk Tribunal, -Nik Nikomanesh, -Aarash Kamangir, Ahmed Pouri, Shani Shokri, St Winds, Yousef Dendi, Babak Emad, Ramin Joubin, کۆمه له پارتی and Bahman Nassiri at Where was this photo taken?
Iran’s leadership guilty of crimes against humanity says report by UN jurist Geoffrey Roberston Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, recent presidential candidate Mir Hossein Moussavi and a number of sitting and retired judges and officials, including former head of the Supreme Court, Abdolkarim Mousavi Ardebili, are all liable to arrest under international law for complicity in the murder of thousands of political prisoners at the end of the Iran/Iraq War. This is the conclusion of a 145-page report by Geoffrey Robertson QC, who urges the Security Council to set up a special court, along the lines of the International Tribunals for Yugoslavia and Rwanda, to try these men “for one of the worst single human rights atrocities since the Second World War”. The report concludes that the leaders were guilty of implementing a fatwa issued by Ayatollah Khomeini in July 1988, which sentenced thousands of political prisoners to death without a trial. At Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison and twenty other prisons through out Iran. Dissidents who had previously been sentenced to various prison terms and had refused to recant their religious beliefs were blindfolded and paraded before judges who directed thousands to the gallows. “They were hung from cranes, four at a time, or in groups of six from ropes hanging from the stage of the prison assembly hall. Their bodies were doused with disinfectant, packed in refrigerated trucks, and buried by night in mass graves. The locations of which are still withheld from their families”. Mr Robertson concludes that the leaders of Iran planned for this “final solution” when it became clear that they would have to accept a truce with Iraq. Death committees (a religious judge, a prosecutor and an intelligence official) were sent to prisons to arrange the extermination of steadfast sympathizers of Mojahedin Khalq Organization. Then came the turn of the Marxists and atheists who were born in Muslim families and were declared apostates. The men were hanged and the women were tortured until they repented. The evidence set out in the report shows that the victims were killed because of their beliefs about religion – because they were atheists or because they were Muslims who opposed the Ayatollah’s version of Islam (the “Guardianship of the Jurist”) that had been adopted by the theocratic state. Mr Robertson points out that the crime of genocide includes the destruction of groups because of their religious beliefs or non-beliefs and that those who implemented the fatwa, which directed the extermination of prisoners because of their different religious beliefs, were committing genocide. The significance of this finding is that it would give the international community a legal basis for arresting many of the present leadership of Iran. The report uncovers official statements justifying the slaughter and identifies those present leaders who are suspected of participating in its implementation and cover-up. The best known are the current Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was then president of the Islamic Republic, Ali Rafsanjani, still a powerful political player, was then the speaker of the islamic parliament, who, when asked about killing prisoners replied: “Do you think we should have given them sweets?”Then there is the man who in 1988 was Iran’s prime minister – Mir Hussein Mousavi, today’s reform movement leader. The report uncovers hitherto unknown statements by Mir Hossein Moussavi justifying the action. Mr Robertson says “he has not given any account of his role at the time, or his reaction to it today, although he is frequently asked. His statements at the time were part of the cover-up”. Mr. Robertson names other currently powerful judges as being complicit in the killings. He says that the scale and cold-bloodedness of these killings, and the fact that they were carefully planned, makes them of greater infamy that the slaughter at Srebrenica and the allied prisoner death marches by Japan at the end of World War II. The report accuses Tehran of continuing to deny relatives of the victims their right to know where their loved ones are buried. Some months after they were killed, the families were given plastic bags containing their belongings, but were refused all information about their burial places. The location of mass graves has been established in Tehran’s cemetery area, but attempts by families to gather there to mourn on anniversaries of the massacre have been dispersed by the authorities. The situation in Iran today, the report argues, illustrates the consequences of impunity for crimes against humanity that have never been properly investigated or acknowledged. Some of the leaders who engaged in such a level of lawlessness and barbarity against their own people and their acolytes remain in powerful positions in the judiciary and the state, who’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, has in the past year called upon the Revolutionary Guards to use violence against peaceful protests. “Those staged television show trials of the 1980s, with televised ‘confessions’ by leftist prisoners wracked by torture and fear for their families, writes Geoffrey Robertson, re-emerged in 2009, this time featuring ‘Green Movement’ reformists confessing to participation in an international conspiracy. Once again, dissidents are being prosecuted for being moharebs (“warriors against God”) and some are being sentenced to death”. The inquiry was conducted for the Washington-based Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation, an NGO concerned with human rights in Iran.

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