The souls of the victims’ relatives were massacred simultaneously with their loved ones
NCRI Women's Committee
Ebrahim Raisi, the architect of the massacre of political prisoners, must face justice.
The summer of 1988 marked the massacre of some 30,000 political prisoners in Iran, including many young women and girls. Death commissions were the architect of this massacre.
As a member of the Death Commissions, the clerical regime’s new president, Ebrahim Raisi, is one of the main perpetrators of the genocide and the crime against humanity in Iran in 1988. He must be prosecuted and brought to justice.
Ebrahim Raisi, the clerical regime’s new president, was a member of the “Death Commission,” which became the architect of the massacre.
Hence, a leader can be boldly called one of the main founders of genocide and crimes against humanity, whose trial and confrontation with justice is essential.
Preparations for the massacre started in the fall of 1987
The massacre of political prisoners in Iran was a project, which started around the fall of 1987 and winter of 1988 by classifying and segregating the prisoners.
By March 1988, it was still unclear why the prisoners were being classified and relocated from one prison to the other.
Although the prisoners had the first-hand experience of torture and mistreatment by the prison guards, it did not occur to any of them that they might be massacred, including those serving their prison terms.
In the same period, the Supreme Judicial Council frequently convened for urgent meetings, which was also a sign of preparation for new measures.
The massacre began on July 19, 1988
On July 19, 1988, many prisoners were transferred from general wards to solitary confinement. The massacre officially began on July 19, 1988.
On July 27, 1988, it was officially announced that there would be no visits for two months and that the families of the prisoners should not go to visit their children.
On Thursday, July 28, 1988, the “Death Commission” officially began its work in Evin.
The first series of women executed in the 1988 massacre, from left to right: Jasomeh Heydari-Zadeh, Nasrin Rajabi, Hakimeh Rizvandi, Farah Eslami.
The first series of women executed on July 20, 1988
A note about women prisoners in the Prison of Ilam explains, “On July 20, 1988, the Revolutionary Guards moved Farah Eslami, Hakimeh Rizvandi, Marzieh Rahmati, Nasrin Rajabi, and Jasomeh Heydari out of prison on the pretext that Ilam Prison was unsafe and that they needed to be transferred to a safe place. At that time, we thought they had been transferred to Kermanshah or Tehran prisons. But then we found out the next day that the prisoners had been taken to a hill around Salehabad and executed by firing squads.”
Victims of the 1988 massacre, from left, Fereshteh Hamidi, Fariba Ahmadi, Farahnaz Ahmadi, Maryam Saghari Khodaparast, Maliheh Aghvami.
Mass executions of women
According to reports about the women detained in Evin Prison, the prison authorities summoned Ashraf Fadaei, Monir Abedini, Mojgan Sorbi, Fereshteh Hamidi, and about 20 other female prisoners from ward 2 on July 27, 1988, to be questioned. They also summoned some female prisoners from ward 3. The prisoners returned a few hours later and said that they had been asked the same old questions about their positions and the length of their sentences. They had also seen an automatic rifle installed right across from the door.
At 11 p.m., the names of Maryam Saghari Khodaparast, Zahra Falahatpisheh, Fariba Omoumi, and Homa Radmanesh were announced from the ward’s loudspeaker, and prison guards rushed them out of the ward.
At midnight, some prisoners were released from solitary confinement. Nobody knew what was going on yet, but these people never came back.
On the morning of Thursday, July 28, 1988, after the Death Commission began its work in Evin, several women from solitary confinement in Evin were hanged. One of them was Soheila Mohammad Rahimi.
On Thursday, August 4, 1988, several other women, including Maliheh Aghvami, were executed in Evin. On the same day, Fariba and Farahnaz Ahmadi were executed in Isfahan.
Some very sick prisoners were also among those executed.
Tayyebeh Khosrow Abadi had congenital paralysis. Zahra Bijanjyar’s vision had been severely impaired due to the blows of cables to her head. Leila Dashti had a brain tumor.
Of course, the number of the massacred political prisoners is not limited to these examples.
On August 13, 1988, more than 70 political prisoners were hanged in Gohardasht Prison of Karaj between 7.30 a.m. and 9 p.m.
Hundreds of political prisoners in Evin Prison were executed on Sunday, August 14, and Monday, August 15, 1988.
Female students among those executed
The average age of prisoners executed in the 1988 massacre shows that many were 16 or 17 years old and students at the time of the arrest.
A member of the Death Commission told Montazeri: “We also have about twenty or so people who were about 16-17 years old when they came to prison, and now they are twenty-three or four years old …”
This conversation took place during the meeting of the Death Commission with Montazeri on August 15, 1988, in the midst of the massacre. Its audio file was disclosed in 2016.
Leila Hajian, Soheila Hamidi, Roya Khosravi, Mehri Derakhshannia, and Soheila Shams are among those who were 16 years old at the time of the arrest.
Soodabeh Rezazadeh, Mahtab Firoozi, Farahnaz Moslehi, and Parvin Bagheri were also young women arrested at 15.
Victims of the 1988 massacre: from left to right, Fatemeh and Esmat Adab Avaz, Forouzan Abdi, Razieh Ayatollah Zadeh, Effat Esmaili, and Nasrin Shojaii.
Female students and specialists among those executed
According to eyewitnesses, in the 1988 massacre, the focus was on students, especially educated women. Hence, many of the victims were students and university graduates, including:
Houria Beheshti Tabar with two master’s degrees and one bachelor’s degree from universities in Tehran
Parvin Haeri was a graduate student of linguistics from Tehran University
Forouzan Abdi was a student of physical education in Tehran and a member of the Iranian women’s national volleyball team
Dr. Shurangiz Karimian was a medical student
Fazilat Allameh was a student of Electrical Engineering
Simin Behbahani Dehkordi and Zahra Shab Zendedar were medical students at Taleghani Medical Complex, Tehran
Azam Taghdareh was a student of Chemical Engineering at the School of Science and Technology, Tehran
Maryam Golzadeh Ghafouri and Fariba Omumi were students of mathematics at Tehran University
Mahin Ghorbani was a physics student at Tehran’s Teacher Training University
Mina Azkia was a student a Tehran’s Teacher Training University
Nayyereh Fath’alian, Effat Esmaili, Soodabeh Mansouri, Soodabeh Shahpar, and Homa Radmanesh were also university students in Tehran
Execution of families
According to reports from former prisoners, dozens of brothers and sisters were executed in Evin and Gohardasht prisons alone. They included:
Nahid and Hamid Tahsili, brother and sister
Fariba and Farahnaz Ahmadi, sisters
Massoumeh, Hossein, and Mostafa Mirzaei, a sister and two brothers, were executed. Massoumeh’s husband was also executed.
Between five or six members from the families of Gholami, Adab Avaz, Hariri, Rahimnejad, Shojaei, Davoodi, Borhani in various cities.
The souls of the victims’ relatives were simultaneously massacred
One of the most painful aspects of the massacre of political prisoners has been its impact on their mothers, fathers, wives, children, and relatives.
Several mothers suffered a stroke as soon as they heard the news of their children’s execution, and some went insane.
Many mothers do not believe in the execution of their children, even after receiving a bag and a will.
Safdar Azadmehr’s mother died of a stroke after hearing the news of his execution.
Safdar’s sister committed suicide out of grief.
A witness to the massacre describes another example and says, “The authorities called a mother and said that your son has been released, come one day and take your son from the Zanjan Committee (prison). The mother informed all the neighbors. With the help of neighbors, she decorated a car with flowers. She quickly arranged an elaborate welcoming party for her son. Then she went to the Zanjan Committee at the appointed time. But instead of seeing her son, they handed her the bag of his son and the address of his grave. From then on, the mother did not speak or react. She just stared at a distant spot and slowly shed tears.”
An unpunished crime
Iran’s history witnesses a blatant massacre that has not yet received justice.
Its masterminds and perpetrators have not yet been tried or punished.
Many unspoken scenes and memories of the witnesses of this great human tragedy have not been recorded yet, and many mothers do not even know about the burial place of their loved ones.
In this regard, the direct role of Ebrahim Ra’isi, the new president of the mullahs’ regime, is undeniable.
He is the architect of the massacre of political prisoners and must be brought to justice at all costs.
History will never forget or forgive the crimes of these criminals.