Dozens of Iranian-Canadians held a gathering to mark September 1, the day of solidarity with Iranian political prisoners as per a resolution by the Canadian Parliament.
Many Iranian-Canadians whose family members were killed in a wave of prison executions in 1988, gathered on Wednesday at Queen's Park in Downtown Toronto, Ontario. In 2013, the Canadian parliament condemned the killing of about 5,000 dissidents, and proclaimed September 1 as Solidarity with Political Prisoners in Iran Day in remembrance of the victims.
The participants called on the international community to hold the Islamic Republic accountable for its crimes against humanity as well as its crackdown on dissent.
Demanding justice for the victims of the 1988 mass executions and an end to impunity for Iranian leaders, including President Ebrahim Raisi, they echoed calls by several US politicians that have urged President Joe Biden to deny a visa to the Iranian president, who plans to travel to the UN in New York in September. Raisi is accused of being a member of a death commission that ordered the summary executions.
Raisi’s election as president last June sparked interest in his role in the executions. Agnes Callamard, the secretary general of Amnesty International, immediately demanded that the United Nations Human Rights Council investigate him for crimes against humanity.
Most of the approximately 5,000 prisoners executed in 1988 were members or sympathizers of the Albania-based exiled opposition group Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) serving their sentences, with a lower number of executions of leftists. The MEK has claimed 30,000 members died, and in 2019 launched a booklet Crimes Against Humanity naming 5,000.