Prosecute Iran's Rights Violators; Tehran Regime Must Pay for Crimes against Humanity

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), August 24, 2010 | Go to article overview

Prosecute Iran's Rights Violators; Tehran Regime Must Pay for Crimes against Humanity


Byline: David Amess, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

While the world rightly sanctions Iran over its nuclear proliferation, it is has been far less forceful in censuring the appalling human rights abuses in the Islamic republic. Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a 43-year-old mother of two, anxiously awaits her impending stoning sentence. The Tehran regime has announced that the execution of political prisoner Jaafar Kazemi is imminent. His crime? Refusing to appear on state television to denounce the activities of his teenage son, who has joined the opposition People's Mujahideen Organization of Iran (PMOI) in Iraq's Camp Ashraf. Last month, the regime amputated the hands of six men accused of stealing.

Such brutality is not uncommon in Iran, which to date has executed more than 120,000 political prisoners. In the summer of 1988, after reluctantly signing a cease-fire in the Iran-Iraq war, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini ordered the massacre of 30,000 Iranian men and women who continued to support the opposition movement, according to survivors of the slaughter.

A special body, known to prisoners as the Death Commission, was tasked with implementing Khomeini's fatwa. In five-minute-long kangaroo trials, prisoners were asked about their politico-ideological allegiances. Those who showed the slightest sign of maintaining sympathy with the Mujahideen were sent for execution in groups of five or six at a time.

Officials who led the 1988 massacre continue to hold high offices, and several are retired judges. Top officials include Iran's current Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, recent presidential candidate Mir Hossein Moussavi, and the former head of the Supreme Court Abdolkarim Mousavi Ardebili.

Iran's current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is said by former political prisoners to have been a prison official attached to the Revolutionary Guards in the 1980s, and he infamously became known to prisoners as the man of a thousand bullets, a nickname coined notoriously over his role in firing the final execution bullets for large numbers of prisoners.

Following the disputed presidential election last summer and the wave of public protests that ensued, Mr. Ahmadinejad's government arrested thousands of political opponents.

As protests became more radicalized and adopted a call for regime change, the human rights situation once again rapidly deteriorated. …

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