Statement on Iran– June 5th, 2013
I am pleased that we stand together in solidarity – with Iranian Canadians – to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Iranian government’s massacre of political prisoners in 1988. Pursuant to a fatwa issued by then-Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini, the Iranian regime systematically interrogated, tortured and summarily executed thousands of political prisoners. Many of the families were never informed about the executions and many of the victims were buried in unmarked mass graves. The Iranian government has never acknowledged or identified those who were secretly executed and tortured, and has never explained its crime. In summary:
- The widespread and systematic mass-murder by the Iranian regime of its own people constitutes a crime against humanity in international law, as affirmed also by international jurists and experts.
- None of the perpetrators have ever been brought to justice – and some remain in high-level positions in the Iranian government and judiciary. This not only constitutes a culture of impunity, but an ongoing validation and glorification of these crimes against humanity.
- It should not be ignored that the mass killings then – and the ongoing mass domestic repression today – is the result of a state-sanctioned culture of repression and hate.
- There remains today, by conservative estimates, 2,600 political prisoners in Iran with an intensification of arrests and detentions in the run-up to the June Parliamentary elections, including: women, ethnic and religious leaders, journalists, bloggers, students, trade union leaders – in a word, the leaders of Iranian civil society – many under threat of execution.
Accordingly, we launched Iran Accountability Week and, in particular, the Iranian Political Prisoner Global Advocacy Project to give the imprisoned a voice, to stand in solidarity with them, to let the Iranian government know that the whole world is watching, to hold the regime to account, and to ensure that such mass brutality and murder never happens again.