After 25 Years, Iran Still Haunted by Mass Executions of 1988

Khavaran cemetary

Khavaran cemetary, photo from memorial Facebook page

Twenty-five years ago, thousands upon thousands of Iranian political prisoners were executed by the Islamic Republic and buried in unmarked mass graves, particularly in Khavaran, south Tehran. Although the killing continued for months in several cities, August 31 is considered the anniversary and is always commemorated by relatives and friends of victims.

This year, for the 25th anniversary, both foreign-based Iranian media and netizens published numerous special features, tweets, posts, films and reports about the unnamed mass grave in Khavaran cemetery. A Facebook page is also dedicated to the many victims from 1988.

The majority of those executed were serving prison sentences for their political activities after unfair trials in revolutionary courts. But they had never been sentenced to death.

In spite of pressure from human rights organizations like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International the Iranian government has never officially acknowledged the executions.

Grand Ayatollah Montazeri who was supposed to replace Grand Ayatollah Khomeini, the Founder of the Islamic Republic, once criticized the mass killing and was reportedly then shunned.

This year, family members were allowed to attend a commemoration in Khavaran for their loved ones.

Shabeke Anarshist (“anarchism network”) shared a painting for Khavaran's victims and writes that Mostafa Pour Mohammadi, the current Minister of Justice, played a key role in ordering the systematic elimination of prisoners.

Khavaran cemetary

Several netizens shared a video with a mourning woman in Khavaran from 2010.

Iranians remembered one of darkest days of the Islamic Republic in several countries including Germany where participants say they “do not want this crime to be forgotten”.

On Twitter there were also reactions.

Security forces did not allow relatives to commemorate the executed.

Beneath our feet thousands of executed young people are buried.

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