Iranians involved in 1988 massacres remain in public life

Sydney Morninh Herald

The anniversary at the weekend of Iran's rigged election turned the spotlight on the man who approved it - the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei - and the man who was cheated of the presidency, Mir Hossein Mousavi.
If there was justice in the world, both men would be still be serving prison sentences, along with Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and a number of the nation's top judges and politicians. All were complicit in one of the gravest crimes against humanity since World War II, the mass slaughter of political prisoners at the close of the Iran-Iraq War in 1988.
Then, Mousavi was prime minister, Khamenei was president and Rafsanjani commanded the Revolutionary Guards. They implemented a secret fatwa which ordered the mass murder of left-wingers in prisons nationwide.
The victims were mainly student protesters who had been arrested and sentenced for leafleting and demonstrating against Khamenei's revolutionary republic in the early 1980s. They sympathised with the Mujahideen-e-Khalq, an armed Islamic group with Marxist leanings, or with communist and socialist organisations that did not believe in God and certainly not in the ayatollah's theocracy.
As the war with Iraq ended in 1988, the regime decided it was too dangerous to let these dissidents live, so its leaders plotted a 'final solution'. On July 28, a week after the ceasefire, the secret fatwa was issued, at first decreeing death for all who remained 'steadfast' in their Mujahideen sympathies.
They were hauled from their cells and were paraded before a death committee - a religious judge, a prosecutor, and a man from the Intelligence Ministry - and 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 buried by night in mass graves, the locations of which are still withheld from their families. Between July 28 and August 13, several thousand Mujahideen-e-Khalq members were killed in this manner.
After a short break for a religious holiday, the death committee began to kill the left-wingers. All prisoners who were Marxists, communists and members of other political groups and had been born Muslim but who did not believe in the official version of Islam, were deemed apostate. If male, they were sent straight to the gallows after a brief trial with no notice or right of defence. Women were sentenced to torture (severe whipping five times a day) until they repented and prayed or died from the lash.
The second wave of killings also claimed several thousand victims and was accompanied by the same secrecy. Eventually, several months later, relatives were called to the prison and handed a plastic bag with their children's effects. By October many thousands of prisoners had been killed without trial, appeal or mercy.
When word of the mass murder began to leak out, Iran's diplomats and politicians began a cover-up. They pretended the victims were few and were planning to take over the prisons by violence. Mousavi played a particularly shameful part, urging 'Western intellectuals' to see him as an Allende-like victim, who had acted in time against encircling enemies. His election meetings last year were interrupted by shouts to explain his role in 1988; he has never come clean about his part in this international crime.
Nor, of course, have the other perpetrators. Most notably the present Supreme Leader, Khamenei, who passed it off at the time with a brutal remark: 'Do you think we should give them sweets?'. Rafsanjani, still politically active, played an important part: he dispatched the Revolutionary Guards to carry out the slaughter.
The death committee members remain in senior positions in the judiciary and several are government ministers. They cannot hide behind a defence of ''superior orders'' - not even a fatwa can protect them from legal responsibility for an international crime. (I exclude the President, Mahmoud Ahamdinejad: although he was a Revolutionary Guard and one witness claims to identify him as a torturer, this has not been corroborated.) Khamenei, as head of state, has some immunity but, as Charles Taylor discovered, this does not fully protect sitting heads of state from indictment for international crimes.
For the past year, I have conducted an inquiry into the 1988 massacres for a Washington foundation and my report sets out the evidence justifying the international law indictment of a number of Iranian leaders. Those who conducted the prison massacres in 1988 are not only guilty of directing torture and murder but of implementing a plan to exterminate a group on the basis of its religious belief (the Mujahideen prisoners who believed in a different form of Islam) or, in the case of the Marxists, its non-belief.
That amounts to genocide and there is an international obligation on all nations under the Genocide Convention to bring them to book.
The men who implemented the fatwa did so knowing they were committing an international crime. They were well versed in the Geneva Conventions because they were always complaining about Saddam Hussein's breaches. By refusing to explain the fate or identify the burial places of the victims, Iran's present leaders perpetuate the crime.
The Security Council would be entitled to use its power to set up an ad hoc international court to indict the Supreme Leader and others in his government. This may be a better way to deal with a theocracy whose inability to punish, or even admit, the barbaric behaviour of 1988 provides the greatest reason for concern over its future access to nuclear weaponry

ايرانياني كه در قتل عامهاي 1988 دست داشتند در زندگي سياسي باقي هستند
به قلم جفري رابرتسون- سالگرد انتخابات دست كاري شده ايران در آخر هفته توجهات را متوجه مردي كرد كه آن را مورد تاييد قرار داد - - رهبر عالي علي خامنهاي - - و مردي كه رياست جمهوري از وي ربوده شد, يعني مير حسين موسوي.
اگر در جهان عدالتي وجود ميداشت, هر دو آنها بايد همراه با علي اكبر هاشمي رفسنجاني و تعدادي از قضات و سياستمداران ارشد كشور, هنوز دورههاي زندان خود را سپري ميكردند. آنها همه در يكي از بزرگترين جنايت عليه بشريت از بعد از جنگ جهاني دوم مشاركت داشتند. قتل عام زندانيان سياسي در پايان جنگ ايران و عراق در سال 1988.
در آن موقع, موسوي نخست وزير, خامنهاي رئيس جمهور و رفسنجاني فرمانده سپاه پاسداران بود. آنها فتوايي سري را به اجرا گذاشتند كه به قتل عام زندانيان چپ در سراسر كشور فرمان ميداد.
قربانيان اساساً دانشجويان معترضي بودند كه به خاطر پخش اعلاميه و تظاهرات عليه جمهوري انقلابي خميني در اوايل سالهاي 1980 دستگير و محكوم شده بودند. آنها از مجاهدين خلق, يك گروه اسلامي مسلح با گرايشات ماركسيستي, يا سازمانهاي كمونيستي يا سوسياليستي كه به خدا و قطعاً تئوكراسي آيتاللهها اعتقاد نداشتند حمايت ميكردند.
به دنبال پايان جنگ با عراق در سال 1988, اين رژيم تصميم گرفت كه زنده نگه داشتن اين مخالفان بيش از حد خطرناك است, و از اين رو رهبران آن ”راه حل نهايي“ را طراحي كردند. در 28 ژوئيه, يك هفته پس از آتش بس, فتواي سري صادر شد, و ابتدا حكم اعدام تمامي آنهايي كه نسبت به هواداري خود از مجاهدين ”سر موضع“ بودند را صادر نمود.
آنها از سلولهاي خود بيرون كشيده ميشدند و از مقابل يك هيأت مرگ - - يك قاضي شرعي, يك دادستان, و يك مرد از وزارت اطلاعات - - رژه ميرفتند و در گروههاي 4 يا 6 نفره از جرثقالها يا طنابهاي كه در سالن زندان آويزان بود حلق آويز ميشدند. اجساد آنها شبانه در گورهاي جمعي به خاك سپرده ميشد. بين 28 ژوئيه و 13 اوت چندين هزار عضو مجاهدين خلق كشته شدند.
پس از توقف كوتاهي به خاطر ايام تعطيل مذهبي, هيأت مرگ قتل چپها را شروع كرد...
دومين موج كشتارها نيز چندين هزار قرباني طلبيد و با همان مخفيكاري به اجرا گذاشته شد... تا ماه اكتبر, چندين هزار زنداني بدون محاكمه, استيناف يا ترحم كشته شدند.
وقتي خبر قتل عام به بيرون درز كرد, ديپلماتها و سياستمداران ايران روي آن سر پوش گذاشتند. آنها وانمود كردند كه قربانيان تعداد اندكي بودند و قصد داشتن زندان را به زور تسخير كنند. موسوي به طور خاص نقش شرم آوري ايفا كرد, و از ”روشنفكران غربي“ خواست كه وي را قرباني مانند آلنده تلقي كنند, كه در زمان مقتضي عليه دشمنان احاطه كننده (encircling enemies ) عمل كرده است. جلسات انتخاباتي وي در سال گذشته با شعارهايي براي توضيح نقش خود در سال 1988 مختل گرديد؛ او هيچگاه در مورد نقشش در اين جنايت بينالمللي توضيحي نداده است.
البته ساير عاملان نيز چنين كاري نكردهاند...
اعضاي هيأت مرگ در مواضع بالا در قوه قضاييه باقي هستند و چندين نفر وزراي دولت ميباشند. آنها نميتوانند پشت دفاع از ”فرامين عالي“ پنهان شوند - - حتي يك فتوا هم نميتواند از آنها در برابر مسئوليت حقوقي به خاطر يك جنايت بينالمللي حفاظت كند...
من در سالهاي گذشته براي يك بنياد واشنگتن در مورد قتل عامهاي 1988 تحقيقاتي انجام دادهام و گزارش من اسنادي را در مشروعيت كيفرخواست قانون بينالملل براي تعدادي از رهبران ايران ترسيم ميكند. آنهايي كه قتل عام زندانيان را در سال 1988 به اجرا گذاشتند, نه تنها به شكنجه و قتل, بلكه به خاطر به اجرا گذاشتن طرحي براي نابود كردن يك گروه بر مبناي عقايد مذهبي آن (زندانيان مجاهدين كه به نوع متفاوتي از اسلام اعتقاد داشتند), يا در مورد ماركسيستها, بر مبناي عدم اعتقاد آنها نيز مقصر هستند.
اين به مثابه نسل كشي است و طبق ميثال نسل كشي براي تمامي كشورها اين التزام وجود دارد كه آنها را تحت بازخواست قرار بدهند...
شوراي امنيت ميتواند براي برگزاري يك دادگاه بينالمللي براي محاكمه رهبر عالي و سايرين در دولت وي, از قدرتش استفاده كند. اين شايد روش بهتري براي برخورد با تئوكراسي باشد, كه ناتواني آن در مجازات كردن رفتار وحشيانه سال 1988, يا حتي اعتراف به آن, بزرگترين دليل براي نگراني نسبت به دسترسي آينده آن به سلاح هستهيي است. (سيدني مورنينگ هرالد- 24/3/89)


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