On Thursday, September 10, The British Committee for Iran Freedom (BCFIF) held a virtual event over the 1988 massacre of more than 30,000 political prisoners across Iran. This event was attended by dozens of lawmakers and legal experts from the United Kingdom.
The participants underlined that the international community’s failure to hold the regime to account for this massacre has emboldened the mullahs’ regime to continue their human rights violations. They also voiced their support to hold senior officials of the mullahs’ regime accountable for the 1988 massacre of political prisoners.
Below are extracts of the speeches made by the speakers.
MP David Jones, distinguished Member of Parliament and UK’s former Secretary of State for Wales chaired this event; 'The 1988 massacre is often referred to as the worst crime since the Second World War. The alarming human rights situation in Iran is a serious matter for the international community. For too long, the regime has escaped accountability...The UK must work with allies to make sure this year’s United Nations General Assembly resolution calls for an independent investigation into the 1988 massacre.'
While referring to the Iranian regime’s crimes and deception, Mr Steve McCabe said: 'Amnesty International recently published a report on the crackdown against the 2019 protests and the regime’s violence against innocent people. They are subjecting prisoners to inhuman torture. They feel they can act with impunity.'
The next speaker of this event was MP Bob Blackman who remarked, 'Sadly, we are aligning ourselves with the failed policy of appeasement pursued by the European Union, which for the last four decades, has provided the regime in Iran with impunity for its egregious human rights violations including the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners...'
Former MP Sir Alan Meale who spoke next said, 'The leadership of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) must be held to account for their actions in the last decades. We must not turn a blind eye. We will fight back and be heard'
The next speaker was Ms Kirsty Brimelow QC, an international human rights lawyer. In explaining the legal implications of this justice-seeking case, she said, 'There is plenty of evidence. We have a framework to address this. The suspects are known. Many of those people have made public statements...The tribunal does not need Iran’s cooperation. It can be set up by the UN. There is no time limit on crimes against humanity. We need to act swiftly because the regime is destroying the evidence.' She referred to another report by Amnesty International which revealed some of the mass burial sites within Iran, which the regime has set out to destroy or disguise as roads, playgrounds and car parks.
Sir Roger Gale, MP from the UK, who spoke next said, 'I want to reiterate the fact that there is a significant number of parliamentary colleagues who support this cause and the righting of wrongs and the right of people to freedom and democracy'
Michelle Mulherin, former Irish Senator also addressed this conference and expressed her support the call for justice for the victims of the 1988 massacre. “When a government turns on its own people, it is the obligation of the international community to take action. 'There is growing evidence that Iran is involved in warmongering and causing instability... I will continue to support you.' said Martin Vickers, British MP
'The responsibility lies with us to not let this issue be swept under the carpet. The regime should know that the world is watching,' Irish Senator Ivana Bacik, told the online conference next.
Mr Jim Higgins, a former Irish member of the European Parliament also addressed the online conference. 'Why have we had no independent inquiry? The international community has idly stood by. I have raised the issue time and again. But our foreign policy chief has stood idly by and decided that diplomacy is the best strategy.'
Tahar Boumedra, legal expert, former head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) Human Rights Office, told Thursday’s online conference: 'The reality is the UN General Assembly resolution should focus on setting up an independent investigation into this crime instead of calling on Iran to investigate on its own. We have to be realistic and take action. And that action is setting up an independent commission and investigation.'
MP Samy Wilson said, next, 'It is important that we continue to press our government and keep up the pressure. Our government can do three things: Make sure this is raised at the United Nation Impose sanctions on the perpetrator Establish an independent inquiry by the international community, not the mullahs themselves.'
The next speaker of this event was The Lord Maginnis of Drumglass, a member of the House of Lords. While referring to the appeasement policy by western powers within the past 4 decades, Lord Maginnis said; 'Today, the FCO is guided not by illusion but by fear of the regime. The regime is not as strong as it claims. It is at its weakest point. Our government is still sending a weak signal to the regime.'
Professor Sara Chandler, Honorary QC, member of the Law Society Council and Vice President of the Federation of European Bar Associations also addressed the conference. “I express my grave concern at the international forum’s incapacity to bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice. The justice system in Iran is part of the apparatus of suppression of human rights defenders. It is legalizing the regime’s crimes.'
John Perry, former Irish minister told the event on the 1988 massacre said: “It is time that we on this side of the Atlantic, in the EU and the UK, join them in support and send a strong message of solidarity to the people of Iran...'
'The international community must hold the regime to account for human rights violations, warmongering, nuclear weapons, and it must support the Iranian people and its resistance movement. We must unite to hold the regime to account,' said Egidijus Vareikis, Member of Parliament from Lithuania.
Referring to the 1988 massacre that has stayed unpunished for 32 years, Dr. Jocelynne Scutt told today’s conference; 'I endorse the call for an official inquiry into the 1988 massacre. It must be held without delay. The silence must end. The outcome of the inquiry must be acted upon.'
The last speaker of this event was Roger Lyons, former General Secretary of the MSF trade union. 'Raisi, who was involved in the massacre, is now the head of the judiciary in Iran. This shows the regime in Iran needs criminal perpetrators like Raisi to hold on to power.