“… Those who are in prisons throughout the country and remain steadfast in their support for the MEK/PMOI are waging war on God and are condemned to execution… It is naive to show mercy to those who wage war on God.” This was the Fatwa by Ayatollah Khomeini in the summer of 1988, that led to the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners held in jails across Iran. Death Commissions sent victims to the gallows after mock trials.
Survivors and witnesses of Iran’s 1988 massacre gave their testimony about the crimes they witnessed on Monday, July 15, 2019, Day 5 of the Free Iran conference at Ashraf 3, home to the MEK in Albania.
Kobra Jokar the first witness
I was in the regime’s prisons for six years. The Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) arrested me while I was pregnant. I was taken to Evin Prison and the torture chambers. I was transferred to Ward 209. In the cell, I saw four torturers torture my husband in front of me. They also tortured me in front of him. A few days later, they executed him with 75 others. The torturer said, ‘I wanted him to never see his son.’ The regime had executed 50 pregnant women, including Masumeh, the sister of Mrs. Maryam Rajavi. They took me to a hospital and quickly brought me back to prison even though I was very ill.
In prison, there was no doctor or medication for the children. In the public ward, there were only 15 minutes of warm water per day, which we had to use to give the children a bath. Many of these children had lost their parents.
The torturers even interrogated the children. They had strapped a small child to a chair in a dark room and tortured her so she would reveal the names of her mother’s friends.
I managed to escape prison in 1987. One year later, all of those ladies who shared the cell with me were executed in the 1988 massacre.
The roots of our hopes and faith in our leaders helped us overcome the dark times in prison and to fight for freedom.
Hengameh Haj Hassan
“I was a nurse in Tehran. In 1981, I was arrested because I was a MEK supporter. We were charged with helping the people who were injured by the IRGC,” said Ms. Hengameh Haj Hassan.
“In prison, we were subjected to severe tortures. Insomnia, packed cells, sleeping in coffins were what we had to endure,” she added.
“We were taken to the cages. These were small partitions where you could only squat. You couldn’t move, you couldn’t even cough or sneeze. If we moved, we were tortured. Our eyes were blindfolded. My eyesight has been degraded and my back was injured. I was operated five times and yet I still have not recovered,” Ms. Haj Hassan continued.
“When we came out of the ‘cages’ our friends didn’t recognize us. When we were in the cages, the torturers used any excuse to torture us,” she emphasized.
“The torturer told us that we would die here. We were only given three minutes per day to go to the bathroom. We couldn’t even brush our teeth. The food they gave us was scarce and very dirty. At night, when we were allowed to sleep, they would turn on loudspeakers and play the regime’s mourning songs,” Ms. Haj Hassan added. “The torturers sought to break our will and force us to turn our back to our struggle. I decided that I would teach them a lesson and show them who we were. My friend, Shekar, was arrested with me, and she was executed in 1988 after suffering torture and the cage,” she continued.
“I decided to prepare myself for very hard days. I meticulously organized my daily schedule. I rehearsed all my school courses, all the poems I knew, all the songs. I had a physical exercise program. We weren’t allowed to move, but I exercised in my mind,” Ms. Haj Hassan said.
“At nights, when we couldn’t sleep due to the loudspeakers, I trained myself to shut down those noises and take myself to pleasant places in my memories,” she added.
“The hardest times were the feeling of loneliness. I thought of God, and I thought of my leader, Massoud Rajavi. I spoke to him, and this way, I didn’t feel alone anymore,” Ms. Haj Hassan continued.
“The torturers thought they would break our will through torture. However, they only made us stronger, as we understood that this proved what we were doing was right,” she added.
“In prison, we considered ourselves PMOI representative and we deemed it our responsibility to defend their values. When I came out of prison, the first thing I did was rejoin my organization. This is a path that will continue until the end,” Ms. Haj Hassan concluded.
“I was in the regime’s prisons for five years and I witnessed many tortures. I was arrested in 1981 and spent many years in Gohardasht and Evin prisons. When the regime wasn’t able to break the will of MEK prisoners through torture, they created a compound called the ‘residential units,’” said Ms. Homa Jaberi.
“This was a secret compound. I was there for 40 days. In the first day, I was tortured brutally with whips and physically beaten. They took all of us to a room, blindfolded us, and told us that they would kill us until that night. They tortured us for hours until midnight,” she added.
“My hands were swollen from the whiplashes. My face and body were bruised. The regime’s torturer said, ‘No one will hear you here. You will all die here.’ They kept us awake for many days and didn’t let us sleep,” Ms. Jaberi continued.
“Some of my friends were kept in this place for six months. We weren’t even allowed to scream under torture. Every command was given with whip lashes. For instance, if they wanted to tell us that we could sleep, they would do so by whipping us,” she added.
“After 40 days, I was taken to Evin Prison. Some of my friends had lost their mental balance. Some of the prisoners would not even speak of the tortures they had suffered. They said that the torturers made them make animal noises and insult themselves. Some had been raped,” Ms. Jaberi explained.
“I have faith that with the leadership of Massoud and Maryam Rajavi, we will free Iran. It was this faith that helped me overcome the tough conditions of the prison,” she concluded.
Spanish jurist Juan Garcés
“In the case of the 1988 massacre, this is a crime against humanity. Not only the criminal code of Iran had been violated, but also the known international norms were trampled during and before this crime.”
“We need to know the facts, those responsible, the rights trampled, and which court is qualified to tend to this case. You have the right to the truth. You have the right to reparations and the right to justice,” Mr. Juan Garcés continued.
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, Said: Since 1988, the clerical regime has taken numerous measures to eliminate the traces of the mass graves of victims of the #1988Massacre all across #Iran. They have built buildings or roads on these graveyards, or have bulldozed them and turned them into new cemeteries. #FreeIran
” The time has come for the United Nations to form an int’l fact-finding mission for the #1988Massacre, and the world to recognize the right of the people of #Iran to resistance and struggle to overthrow the mullahs’ religious” she added.
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