Human Rights

10 October 2016 – World Day against the Death Penalty

On 9 October 2016, activists in Washington DC gathered at DuPont Circle in recognition of October 10, the World Day against the Death Penalty. We remembered those whose lives have been cut short by the brutal Islamic regime in Iran, and continue to raise our demand to end the death penalty in Iran and worldwide.

The mass execution of political prisoners in 1988 Iran was genocide.

During the summer of 1988, as a continuation of the massacres and political executions that had taken place from the moment that the regime took power [in 1979], the Islamic Republic perpetrated mass executions of political prisoners. In a hasty operation, several thousand imprisoned opponents of the Islamic Republic were “tried” in “minute courts” (1) without any legal defense, sentenced to death, and immediately executed.

What happened in the summer of ’88 was not only a new wave of political executions, but a genocide (2) against the Islamic Republic’s imprisoned opponents that was designed to systematically decimate and physically eradicate all who opposed the Islamic Republic.

Those responsible for the mass executions in 1988 still remain in power in Iran today.  And the hundreds if not thousands of executions carried out on an annual basis in Iran are a continuation of the same policies of terror and genocide that produced the 1988 mass executions – a crime against humanity.

The demonstrations by millions in the streets of Iran in 2009 turned the eyes of the world towards Iran and blew the dust away from the hazy picture of 37 years of crime and genocide that people have suffered under the rule of the Islamic Republic. Today, the whole world is witness to the bloodthirsty political system confronting Iranian people: the Islamic Republic is a regime of stoning, execution, flogging, torture, enslavement of women, and utter denial of peoples’ rights.

Now, 28 years after the tragic genocide carried out against the Islamic Republic’s opposition in the summer of ’88, and in the midst of the mass executions in Iran that continue today, we declare that all leaders of the Islamic Republic must be prosecuted and tried. None of the heads of the Islamic Republic should be permitted to visit other countries. None should be permitted to stand behind a podium in front of international bodies and claim to represent Iranian people. All political relationships with the Islamic Republic should be severed, and embassies of this regime of genocide should be closed.

This regime is the murderer of the Iranian people, and it is the shame of all humanity. This regime should be brought to an end.


 (1) These trials lasted less than 5 minutes (hence, “minute courts”) and were followed by immediate execution.

(2) “The Genocide Convention of 1948, to which Iran has been a party since 1949, applies to killings of, or causing serious mental or physical harm to, members of a racial or religious group as such, with intent to destroy that group in whole or in part. The “religious group” that the Iranian regime intended to destroy in the second wave were those in its prisons who had been born Muslim but who had later renounced Islam. Whether or not atheists should count as a “religious group” for the purposes of the Convention, it is clear that persons who are born into a particular faith that they later renounce can be so categorised. This is a feature of the second wave of killings and is one reason why they must, in international law, engage continuing attention. And it must never be forgotten that the first wave of killings, although triggered by fury at the “Mersad” incursion, was based on the conclusion that the MKO version of Islam was a blasphemy. Both the MKO and the leftists were condemned as moharebs, warriors against God, whose divinely ordained punishment was to be enforced by the state.”

Robertson, G. 2010. The Massacre of Political Prisoners in Iran, 1988: Report of an Inquiry Conducted by Geoffrey Robertson, Q.C. Washington DC: The Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation.



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