The followings are excerpts from a statement by the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran issued on December 17, 2000 on the dimensions of the 1988 massacre of political prisoners:
2. The first reference that Mr. Montazeri makes to the number of executed prisoners covers only the first days of the massacre, when he writes: “Finally, they executed 2,800 or 3,800 women and men in the country (I doubt which figure is right)... I felt that this was not the correct way of doing things and decided to write a letter to the Imam.”
Mr. Montazeri then proceeds to describe the first letter he wrote to Khomeini on this issue, dated July 31, 1988.
In this letter, Mr. Montazeri mentions the massacre of political prisoners and writes in the last paragraph: “The execution of several thousand prisoners in a few days will not have positive repercussions and will not be mistake- free.”
While Mr. Montazeri clearly states that by July 31, in the first days of the massacre, the number of mass executions reached “2,800 or 3,800” or, as he wrote in his letter, “several thousand prisoners,” he does not mention any figure for the number of executions at the end of the massacre... It is also clear from the contents of his first letter to Khomeini that by July 31, he was still unaware of the mass executions in the provinces and the figures he gives refer only to Tehran.
3. Montazeri also writes in his memoirs:“A few days later, a judge from Khuzestan by the name of Hojjat ol-Islam Mohammad Hossein Ahmadi came to see me and was very distressed. He told me: ‘Over there, they are executing them with great speed. They conjure up a majority vote out of the three member panel. They are angry about the Monafeqin’s operation, but are venting our anger on the prisoners.’ “
Montazeti says that following this meeting, he wrote a second letter to Khomeini, dated August 2, 1988, in which he protested against the procedures.
4. Montazeri notes that after writing the second letter to Khomeini, “I noticed that they were still continuing the executions. On the first of Moharram, I summoned Mr. Nayyeri, the religious judge of Evin, and Mr. Eshraqi, the prosecutor, and Mr. Raissi, the deputy prosecutor, and Mr. Pour-Mohammadi, the Intelligence Ministry representative. I told them, ‘Now is the month of Moharram and at least halt the executions during this month.”
The first day of the month of Moharram coincided with August 13, 1988. Mr. Montazeti thus makes it clear that mass executions were going on with the same intensity up to that point
5. Montazeti wrote in the following section, “Later, they obtained a letter from the Imam for nonreligious prisoners. At the time, there were about 500 nonreligious and atheist prisoners. The aim was to liquidate these prisoners, as well and get tide of them.”
Several weeks separate Montazeri’s August 14 letter and the new fatwa by Khomeini which concerned the execution of non-Mojahedin prisoners. Investigations by the Mojahedin at the time showed that Khomeini’s second fatwa (which dealt with non-Mojahedin prisoners) was issued on September 6, 1988 or thereabouts. In other words, by the time this new fatwa was issued, mass execution of Mojahedin political prisoners in Tehran had been going on with great ferocity for more than 40 days.
6. In his memorandum to the members of the “Death Commission” in Tehran on August 15, 1988, Montazeri referred to the execution of “prisoners and former prisoners.”
The reference to “former prisoners” being executed was prompted by the fact that once the massacre of political prisoners got under way, the clerical regime launched a nationwide effort to re-arrest former political prisoners, as Khomeini’s fatwa stressed that all Mojahedin supporters and members must be executed.
The French daily, Le Monde, wrote: “‘Imam Khomeini’ summoned the Revolutionary Prosecutor, Hojjat ol-Islam Khoeiniha, to instruct him that henceforth all of the
Mojahedin, those in prison and elsewhere, must be executed for waging war on God” (Le Monde, March 1, 1989).
According to reports from across Iran, thousands of former political prisoners and Mojahedin supporters were rounded up over a period of several months in 1988 and most were executed.
7. Mr. Kamal Afkhami Ardekani, a former Official at Evin Prison , has said in testimonies to human rights rapporteurs of the United Nations: “In July 1988, after Khomeini issued a fatwa ordering the massacre of Mojahedin prisoners, a meeting was held in Evin Prison in which the following persons participated (the positions mentioned here are the positions they held at the time): Ibrahim Raissi, Tehran’s deputy prosecutor, Mohammad Mohammadi Rayshahri, the Intelligence Minister, Gholam Hossein [Mohseni] Ezhei, a top judiciary official, [Seyyed Hossein] Mortazavi, the governor of Evin, [Ah] Mobasheri and LJaafar] Nayyeri, religious judges based in Evin Prison. There they agreed on the procedures for carrying out Khomeini’s orders. They would line up prisoners in a 14 x 5-meter hail in the central office building of Evin. The maximum capacity of the hail was 180 prisoners. They would then ask simply one question: ‘What is your political affiliation?’ Those who said the ‘Mojahedin’ would be hanged from cranes that had been in position behind the building.
“Prisoners were hanged in Evin Prison with six cranes and three fork-lift trucks. Each time, 33 people would be hanged. On each crane, there was an iron beam and five ropes were suspended from the beam. The six cranes were positioned in these locations: one was placed next to the administrative courtroom building, two were placed next to Ward 325, and three were placed next to the special ward for the clergy and the central administrative building.
“The fork-lift trucks, each fitted with a beam with four ropes, were placed in the parking lot outside the prosecutor’s office. The parking lot was also used as an execution yard. There was a crane in the garage next to the parking lot and that was also used for executions.
“The mass executions began in late July, 1988. Every half an hour, 33 persons were being hanged by these cranes and the process went on and on without any interruption. The bodies were examined by Dr. Ata Foroughi who was head of the prison’s clinic, and Dr. Mirza’I who was head of Lajevardi’s office. [Assadollah Lajevardi was the former governor of Evin Prison and the most notorious executioner and torturer in the mullahs’ regime. Later he became the head of the State Prisons Organization]. Once they were pronounced dead, the bodies would be piled into covered trucks and taken out of prison. The trucks had been on loan from Evin’s police station. Some of the trucks belonged to Evin Prison itself.
“The same procedure went on for two weeks, from 7:30 am until 5 pm. Soon they were also using the parking lot for the executions and the number of executions every half-hour reached 37 to 40.”
On the basis of these revelations by a former official of Evin Prison, we can safely extrapolate that if 19 rounds of executions were carried out every day, and in each round 30 prisoners were hanged, then at least 570 prisoners were being executed in Evin Prison every day. In 14 days, the number of executions exceeded 8,000. Beating in mind that executions were continuing even after two weeks, and that by early September Khomeini issued another decree ordering the execution of non-Mojahedin prisoners who, according to Montazeti, numbered about 500, then the number of male prisoners executed in Evin Prison was more than 10,000.
There were thousands of female prisoners, many of whom were executed. In addition, there were thousands of inmates in other jails in and around Tehran, including Gohardasht, where the massacre was carried out with equal ferocity. When all these are added together, the number of executions in Tehran jails becomes exceedingly high. One must also bear in mind that the Iranian Resistance had revealed a list of 635 prisons with their addresses and specifications, which gives an idea of the magnitude of the carnage....
8. Reports compiled by the Mojahedin show that the carnage went on in at least 100 cities and towns across the country. In many of these cities, not a single political ptisoner was left alive. These cities included Kermanshab, Zanjan, Mashhad, Arak, Hamedan, Orumieh, Semnan, Roodsar, Ahwaz, Qom, Sari, Qaemshahr, Shahr-e Kord, Khorramabad, Zahedan, Karaj, Tabriz, Sabzevar, Rasht, Shiraz, Masjid Soleiman, Isfahan, Sanandaj, Babol, Lahijan, Bandar Anzali, Chaloos, Boroujerd, Kashan, Manjil, Garmsar, Fassa, Andimeshk, Behbahan, Kelachai, Gachsaran, Kerman, Someh Sara, Abhar, Shaahinshahr, Dezful, Islamabad, Kerend, 11am, Borazjan, Toyserkan, Poldokhtar, Ardebil, Shahrood, Gorgan, Gonbad, Shahreza, Langrood, Amol, Aligoodarz, Quchan, Maku, Qazvin, Birjand, Maragheb, Mahshahr, Bushehr, Khoy, Kazeroun, Salmas, Golpaygan, Estahbanat, Aliabad and so on.
Throughout the rest of 1988, there were reports on continuing executions in different parts of Iran:
Orumieh: Around 400 prisoners were the city in groups of 10, 20 and 30 people. (November 8, 1988)
Semnan: Eight prisoners supporting the Mojahedin were hanged in public from a construction crane. (November 8, 1988)
Sabzevar: Twenty-nine Mojahedin supporters were executed after years of imprisonment.
Manjil: Following torrential rains, a mass grave containing 80 bodies of political prisoners was discovered two kilometers west of the Tehran-Rasht highway.
Garmsar: Two truckloads of bodies of prisoners were transferred from Evin and Qezel Hessar prisons to wastelands around the city and buried in a big large mass grave.
Tabriz: Twenty-one prisoners were executed in Tabriz Prison. (December 2, 1988) Four opponents of the clerical regime were hanged in a traffic circle. The bodies were left hanging for 24 hours. (January 2, 1989)
Isfahan: In a suburb of Isfahan called Shaahinshahr, 700 people were executed over several months. (December 31, 1988) In the beginning of 1989, bodies of executed political prisoners were buried in groups of 40, 60 and 100 in Bagh-e Rezvan cemetery.
Tehran: Agents of the mullahs’ regime buried corpses of a large number of massacre victims in a big canal in Behesht-e Zahra Cemetery’s Block 93. In blocks No 106, 107, 108 and 109 of the same cemetery the graves of a considerable number of executed prisoners have been discovered by their families.
Near Khavaran road (east of Tehran), agents of the Revolutionary Prosecutor’s Office buried the bodies of a large group of the executed
beside the Armenian cemetery. Stray dogs dug out some corpses from shallow graves and the mass graves were exposed.
Sixty people from Khazaneh (southern Tehran), 40 people from the residents of Ray Street and 11 people from Norouzkhan district in Tehran’s Bazaar were executed. (December 31, 1988)
Southwestern Iran: Thirty-three Mojahedin supporters were executed over several weeks in the cities of Ahwaz, Andimeshk and Behbahan. Among them were at least seven women. At the same time, more than 20 political prisoners were executed in Bushehr. Dozens of prisoners in Ahwaz were sent before the firing squads.
Southern Iran: Twenty-six political prisoners, who were completing their prison terms, were executed in Fassa. Also in Adelabad Ptison in Shiraz 14 inmates were executed inone day.
Northern Iran: Following the discovery of 10 corpses belonging to Mojahedin prisoners butied in two mass graves in Kelachai and Roodsar, citizens clashed with the guards.
The guards dug a big mass grave near Someh Sara-Kasma road in the northern province of Gilan and during one night buried several truckloads of corpses in it. An unspecified number of prisoners in Roodsar were sent before the fitting squads.
During the last days of 1988, 40 people were executed by fitting squads in the northern city of Lahijan.
Western Iran: Amnesty International reported that it was receiving information pointing to hundreds of executions from Kurdish opposition groups in Ommieh Prison and 50 executions in Sanandaj.
Also in October, 150 prisoners were executed in the prison of Khorramabad.
Doting the last days of 1988, 10 Mojahedin members were hanged in public in one day in three different places in the city of Islamabad.
Slaughter continues across Iran
Mass executions and public hangings continued at the same rate in towns all over the country. In November 1988, further reports on more executions in different cities began coming in. Eighteen prisoners in Arak, 18 prisoners in Astara and another group of prisoners in Shahr-e Kurd were sent before the firing squads. (November 8, 1988)
According to confirmed reports by different sources, 84 people were executed in Mashhad Prison in October. (December 2, 1988)
Ninety-four people from the town of Abhar were sent before the firing squads.
All political prisoners in the prisons of Dizel Abad (Kermanshah), Vakil-Abad (Mashhad), Gachsaran, Khorramabad, Kerman and Masjid Soleiman had been executed by January 10, 1989.
Thirty-one people in Sanandaj, 25 in Borazjan and 27 in Baneh were executed. In only one village named Deh Kohneh, in the vicinity of Borazjan, five Mojahedin supporters were sent before the firing squad. In Taq Nosrat district Of Toyserkan, three supporters of Mojahedin were hanged in public in one day. In Karaj the extent of secret execution of political prisoners was extremely high, leaving only three people out of 500 in one ward of Gohardasht Prison. (February 10, 1989)
It was known afterwards that a number of Army servicemen who had refused to fight the National Liberation Army during Operation Eternal Light in July 1988 and had deserted the ranks of the army were executed. In one day, two officers, one NCO and two soldiers were hanged in public in the city of Kermanshah, western Iran.