Supporters of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) gather to protest against the government in Teheran and the use of the death penalty in Iran, in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, July 10, 2021.

Families Of Iran's 1988 Massacre Victims Barred From Cemetery

Sunday, 02/25/2024

Families of the victims of Iran's 1988 massacre were barred by security forces from entering Tehran's Khavaran Cemetery, leaving them stranded outside locked gates for hours amid ongoing suppression of political dissent.

Mansoureh Behkish, a prominent human rights activist and member of the Mothers of Khavaran group, took to social media to lament the situation, describing how families were left stranded and then returning home with "bleeding hearts and fresh wounds.".

Authorities reportedly demanded families show their national identification cards for entry, a requirement opposed by the families.

The executions were part of a mass crackdown on political prisoners following a fatwa issued by Iran's then-supreme leader, Ruhollah Khomeini, targeting the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), which had engaged in a series of bombings in Iran and aligned itself with Saddam Hussein during the 1980-88 war.

While the exact number of executed prisoners remains unknown, Amnesty International estimates that around 5,000 prisoners were "forcibly disappeared" and "extrajudicially executed" between July and September 1988.

The majority of individuals affected were affiliated with the MEK, though there were also connections to leftist and secular factions such as the Fadaiyan Khalq Organization (FKO) and Tudeh Party. Additionally, members of Kurdish groups, including Komala and the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran, were among the victims.

This latest incident adds to a series of concerns regarding the treatment of those executed in 1988, with previous reports highlighting efforts by the Islamic Republic to destroy gravesites of the prisoners during that period.

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