There are those of us who have walked length and width of unmarked graveyards for years with a picture of our beloved in our hands and only one question in our minds: where?
There are those of us who don’t even know why.
There are those of us who have lived only to see justice done, lived only to point a finger at the perpetrators of a nation’s anguish and horror and say: “You did this!”
There are those of us who knew that such a day would come …and that day finally has come. That day is here.
Sayid, Jahan, Tumaj, Nurse Bavafa, Farshad, Khosro, Farzad… we will read your beautiful names. We will, from the depth of the heart of a nation, officially, and this time openly and loudly, pay our respects and gratitude to you.
It is time that the Mothers of Xavaran finally go home with peace at heart. It is time that the regime responsible for 31 years of criminal bloodshed is finally brought to justice.
Today, June 20, is a significant date in the history of Iran, and in the history of our world.
After a people’s revolution brought down the Shah in 1979, there was a period of two and a half years, from February 11 1979 to June 20 1981, that Islamic rule was not fully established in Iran. It was a period of relatively open political activity that the state was unable to completely repress. Political parties were growing and publishing their papers, workers’ councils were established, various women’s organizations were formed, and the wave of protests against Islamic rule continued to escalate.
Then, on June 20 1981, an Islamic, counter-revolutionary offensive took place. They attacked and executed 300 to 500 people a day. The opposition was crushed, securing the Islamic regime’s current existence.
“They streamed into the streets and arrested anyone who did not look like Muslims. If someone had salt and pepper in their pocket, they were accused of plotting to throw it in the eyes of revolutionary guards. They arrested those who read out a poem, those who were known as socialists and defenders of women’s rights activist, who did not wear the veil, who looked like leftists and executed them that night. Statistics, records and witnesses to prove these atrocities are widespread.”
— Mansour Hekmat, interview with Radio International, June 12, 2000
29 years later, on June 20 2009, the Islamic regime’s killings and violent suppression of people in Iran in the wake of the 2009 election was witnessed by the world. The life of Neda Agha-Soltan, shot through the heart by regime forces, bled out of her mouth and onto the streets of Tehran. Her death was captured on video and streamed via internet for the entire world to see. For many, Neda’s brutal death became the reflection in the mirror held to the Islamic Republic’s face, a representation of the thousands of innocents imprisoned, tortured and executed by the regime in the year following Neda’s death.
Today, June 20, Mission Free Iran opens our campaign to demand that the Islamic Republic be tried in international court.
Given the date’s history of injustice and bloodshed, it is appropriate that today, June 20 2010, Mission Free Iran opens its campaign to call for the Islamic Republic to be put on trial in international court.
From the executions of thousands starting on June 20 1981, to the mass slaughter and secret burial of thousands of political prisoners in 1988, to the regime’s relentless bloody suppression in Kurdistan, to the hundreds of deaths that followed in the wake of the 2009 “elections,” and all of the killings and tortures in between, it is past time for the Islamic Republic to face justice for its massive crimes against humanity.
Based on the analysis and legal opinions published in a new report on the 1988 massacres of political prisoners by Geoffrey Robertson, first President and Appeal Judge in the UN War Crimes Court in Sierra Leone and appointed by the UN Secretary-General as a distinguished jurist of the UN Internal Justice Council, we open our campaign to demand that those responsible for these bloody crimes against humanity be brought to trial in international court.
“The individuals against whom there is a prima facie case for prosecution for crimes against humanity, torture, genocide and war crimes, are those in the chain of command, from Supreme Leader to hangman.”
— Geoffrey Robertson, The Massacre of Political Prisoners in Iran, 1988
The course and nature of this campaign
We will work to gather public support to demand that the UN Security Council, under its Chapter VII powers, establish an international court with a prosecutor, and try those responsible for 31 years of terror and the wrongful detention, torture, and execution of hundreds of thousands of people in Iran.
During the course of this campaign, we will make demands of the UN Security Council directly, we will make demands of national governments worldwide, and we will continue to press for an international court until justice is done.
At the same time, under the umbrella of this ultimate demand of justice for Iran, our campaigns for the removal of the Islamic Republic from the International Labour Organization and from the UN Commission on the Status of Women, and our campaign to open the prisons and torture houses of the Islamic Republic to inspection by the International Committee of the Red Cross, will continue and expand.
The role of the international community
Seeking justice in Iran translates into a fundamental demand that the Islamic regime of 31 years of executions and torture be held practically accountable for its crimes against humanity, and that the criminals, from the supreme leader to the high-ranking officials to the hangmen, be brought to justice. This is serious work we are undertaking, and it requires serious participation from the international community. This work, in any degree of accomplishment, will to that degree open the way for global justice – not just in Iran, but worldwide. With a revolution and freedom- and equality-seeking women and men behind us, as long as our efforts are sharp and directed and the international community stands behind them, we will succeed in bringing justice to Iran. From there we will demand justice wherever it has been lacking.
We therefore ask you to join us in this campaign, with the objective of establishing an international court at which the murderers of the Islamic Republic will be tried.