Mothers of Park Laleh Remember Political Prisoners Slain in the 1980s
Mothers of Park Laleh condemn the 1980s massacres especially the mass executions of political prisoners in 1987 and join all mourning mothers to demand justice!
Another anniversary of mass executions of political prisoners in 1987 arrives while the horrifying account of this brutal massacre has spread all over the world. With each passing year, curtains purposefully drawn to conceal these crimes are opened to reveal dark accounts as living eye-witnesses begin to talk about those murderous years.
The story of 1987 is the tale of tortures, lashes and atrocities; it is the tale of sudden cessation of all communications with and visits from the outside world. It is the story of trials lasting only a few minutes with a single question asked and a lone answer received without the presence of an attorney or the right to defend oneself; it is the story of prosecuting even prisoners whose prison terms had ended. It is the tale of death sentences not subject to appeals.
It is the story of raping young, virgin girls before execution in order to deny them entry into the heaven according to the prevailing ideology of the rules. It is the tale of mass graves dug as large channels to bury the unknown unceremoniously in unmarked graves in a place today called Khavaran, the Valley of Flowers.
It is the story of the disappeared for whose return the surviving mothers still await. It is a tale lingering to this day, the continuation of the same atrocities materialized as executions, the chain killings and other forms of oppression. It is the story of the oppressed standing side by side, moving forward to reach justice and to witness the people’s uprising.
The story of 1987 is a tale meant to remain hidden but partially revealed by Ayatollah Montazeri and freed prisoners recounting the events. A story with darkened angles that in due time, must someday be fully explored and exposed.
There was a time when government authorities were able to lie about the connection between the massacres and the causes leading to Ayatollah Montazeri’s resignation as the designated successor to the Supreme Leader and denied the true account of what happened altogether. However, today, some of the members of the ruling class have given up rebuffing these mass executions and admit to these internal killings and political cleansings in different forums. Nonetheless, those in power at the time still refuse to accept the responsibility of ordering and perpetrating the massacres and decline to clarify all the facts.
Unaware of the fact that the truth will be eventually revealed, yesterday and today’s ruling class were complicit in a deliberate act to show then and now that the attacks by PMOI were the main causes leading to the mass killings. However, today we know that the plan for these massacres began in 1986. Following the cease fire between Iran and Iraq and PMOI’s attack, the best time and excuse for the mass killings and elimination of Iran’s bravest and the purest of hearts were at hand.
Consequently, given the proper pretext, this crime against humanity was carried out in the shortest amount of time through an act of abomination unparalleled and unseen. Although the exact number of those slain is still not known, some statistics estimate 5,000 to 12,000 prisoners were killed. What is certain is that such killings didn’t stop and continue in different shapes and forms to this day.
As a result, the efforts of political prisoners’ families have become more defined and determined. A sit-in protest in front of the main court house, a gathering in front of the prosecutor’s office, a ceremony to deliver a petition with 370 signatures to the United Nations Committee on Human Rights and contacts with defenders of political prisoners’ rights and human rights organizations abroad are only a few actions taken in order to protest against a national tragedy that has finally provoked a reaction from Europeans and Americans.
From September 1987 when the news of the massacres had reached the families in one way or another, large numbers of written and verbal complaints were sent to the Special Representative of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, Dr. Reynaldo Galindo Pohl. During his visit to Iran, Dr. Galindo Pohl devoted the majority of his time speaking with Iranian government officials and the least amount of his time to visiting the families, prisons and Khavaran. At the same time, the families gathered every day in front of the United Nations office in order to see him.
Although the Islamic Republic did its best to prevent Dr. Galindo Pohl from finding out the facts, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights clearly had what it needed in the form of documents and evidences which were unfortunately not taken seriously. No one knows why and the questions still linger to this day!
So far during the process to seek justice for the victims, international organizations have been silent about these enormous criminal acts which according to the international laws are rightfully considered to be crimes against humanity.
Meanwhile, mourning mothers and families have individually and collectively tried to reach some answers. Visiting Khavaran regularly in order to safe-guard the evidence of the 1980s massacres has been one of such efforts. Despite the fact that Iranian security forces have attacked Khavaran many times and bulldozed the grounds such that there might have remained no evidence of the slain, Mothers of Khavaran love this dry, barren piece of land because they know that in the most hideous way possible, their loved ones were buried in Khavaran. These mothers’ questions must be answered someday.
For precisely such reasons, the mothers continue to visit Khavaran in spite of enormous threats and intimidations to keep the memory of their children alive until the day to answer their questions arrives.
Now, after ten years has passed since Dr. Galindo Pohl’s visit, and human rights have been clearly and widely violated in Iran, a special UN rapporteur has been appointed to look into the situation in Iran. We, the Mothers of Park Laleh, ask the United Nations, the Commission on Human Rights and all other international organizations to take the violations of human rights in Iran seriously and face their responsibilities expeditiously so that the end result will not be the same as the time of Dr. Galindo Pohl.
We, the Mothers of Park Laleh, together with the families of the slain exclaim that talking about forgiveness is meaningless until all the facts about these crimes are revealed and all the perpetrators of these massacres are tried in public and just courts because none of the Islamic Republic’s high officials have so far admitted to their mistakes publicly and formally. Furthermore, the mass murder of political prisoners remains an open case, and the evidence of such criminal acts will be someday revealed to the public and media. And, that day will be the judgment day.
Mothers of Park Laleh demand to know:
Why were human beings with prison sentences executed?
Why were human beings who only demonstrated in street to demand their rights killed?
Why are human beings interrogated, imprisoned and sometimes hanged simply because they express their thoughts and beliefs?
And a thousand other whys we and all other mourning mothers and families during the last thirty two years want to know. Until the time to answer arrives, we won’t give up fighting and remain standing.
Mothers of Park Laleh
August 19, 2011
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