Massacres of Political Prisoners in the 1980s by the Islamic Regime in Iran


Massacres of Political Prisoners in the 1980s by the Islamic Regime in Iran

After the change of regime in Iran in February 1979, the Islamic regime took over power. But in reality it was just a change from monarchy dictatorship to Islamic dictatorship. Oppression, imprisonment, torture and execution continued, and the Iranian people’s uprising against the Shah-regime was put down. From the first day of the Islamic regime in power, they attacked all demands of the people during the uprising against the shah regime – for instance freedom, democracy, equality etc. The Kurdish people was attacked and bombarded, Iranian workers during the uprising had formed various worker’s councils, but these were closed down by the regime, and the workers were heavily oppressed – as during the Shah regime. Iranian women who were fighting for equality and freedom, were attacked as one of the first groups in society. Iranian students and universities had always in history played an important role in society against dictatorship, but the Islamic regime closed the universities ” in the name of the Islamic culture revolution”. And many students were killed, and the students’ organizations as well as the universities were closed from 1980 until 1983. The other minority people as the Turkmen, Baluche, Arabs, Lor, etc. were attacked, and many of them killed by the Islamic forces. Freedom of speech – one of the slogans of the uprising against the shah regime – has been continuously oppressed by the Islamic regime. All newspapers were closed down and forbidden, and the right to organize, demonstrate, strike etc. was forbidden.

Political organizations and parties who were against the shah regime were persecuted and forbidden from the first day of the Islamic regime, and many of the members and supporters were sent to jail, tortured and executed.

With the start of the war between the two reactionary regimes of Iraq and Iran in 1980, the Islamic regime found a new excuse to oppress all movements accusing them of collaboration with the enemies – for instance when the movements made demonstrations, strikes etc.

In 1981, after the Islamic regime had been three years in power, they organized – beside the military and intelligence services (Savak) of the Shah – various Islamic military (Pasdaran) and intelligence services (Savama). From this period they intensified mass imprisonments, tortures, executions, oppression etc.

In the beginning of 1981, one of the big massacres in Iranian history took place. Every day and every night many political prisoners were executed in prison. Hundreds of political prisoners were executed or tortured by the Islamic regime

The judicial system was headed by mullahs (Islamic priests). Political prisoners were called in for a so called trial in which just one mullah asked three or four questions (name, believe in your party, will you condemn your organization or will you collaborate and make interview on television and say you did wrong, and that you believe in Islam etc.). Thousands of them were sentenced to execution and others to long imprisonments. In prison, the interrogation and torture continued all the time. Because the Islamic laws say prisoners must apologize and accept Islam. Female political prisoners in prisons obtained equality by Islamic laws – as for torture and execution. Many female political prisoners were raped in prison, and many of them raped just before execution, because – according to Islamic rules – if you are a virgin and you die, you are going to paradise.

From 1981 until 1988, tens of thousands of the political prisoners were executed or killed under torture in prison by the Islamic regime. In 1988, after the end of the war between Iran and Iraq, and after the Islamic regime’s accept of UN resolution 598, Khomeini, leader of the Islamic regime, ordered to “clean up” the prisons in Iran. In a letter he sent to the responsible for the Islamic judicial system he ordered the execution of the political prisoners. In August and September 1988, according to the order of Khomeini, a “death commission” consisting of five members was established. They went to different prisons in Iran, for instance in Tehran the Evin prison and Gohardasht prison and called the political prisoners to so called courts. The prisoners, during two-three minutes, were interrogated: Do you believe in Islam? Do you believe in your organization or party? Will you cooperate and make interview on television? If the answer did not satisfy the death commission, the political prisoners were sent directly to be hanged or executed. The Marxist women according to Islamic laws – in this so called court -must accept to pray, or if they did not accept to pray, they were lashed until death or until acceptance to pray. But many of the female political prisoners did not accept to pray and died.

After the massacres of the political prisoners in 1988 the Islamic regime buried all the bodies of the executed prisoners in mass graves in different places, for example in Tehran at the cemetery called Khavaran. The Islamic regime until now has not admitted these crimes, but the names of almost 5000 executed prisoners and the names of their organizations or parties are known. But supposedly the number of massacred political prisoners in 1988 is near to 15.000.

Families and relatives to the political prisoners who were executed in 1988 did not get the bodies , and they were not told where the bodies were buried. Some of them just got some clothes. And from 1988 until to-day they are not allowed to commemorate their relatives. Recently in September 2008 the families and relatives tried to gather in the cemeteries on the 20 years day of the massacre in 1988, but the Islamic police and the Islamic intelligence service attacked the people and arrested many of them. 

Until now the world does not know about the massacres of the political prisoners in Iran in 1980’s, – one of the biggest massacres in world history. We – the resistance movements against the Islamic regime in Iran – call for international condemnation of the massacres and the Islamic regime and for solidarity with the resistance in Iran.

Overthrow the Islamic regime in Iran and fight for freedom and socialism

The Committee for the Defense of the Political Prisoners in Iran/Danish section
Prison`s Dialogue – The exiled former political prisoners (Iran)

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