Perpetrator of 1988 Massacre Appointed as Iran’s Judiciary Chief


The Iranian regime’s Supreme Leader appoints a perpetrator of the 1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran as the head of the regime’s judiciary replacing mullah Sadeq Amoli Larijani on March 8, the judiciary spokesperson confirmed saying that Ebrahim Raeesi (Ibrahim Raisi) will take over as Iran’s next Judiciary Chief.

Raeesi (a.k.a. Seyyed Ebrahim Rais al-Sadati) was Deputy Prosecutor in Tehran and a key member of the Khomeini’s “Death Commission” that oversaw and approved the 1988 mass executions of political prisoners in Iran’s capital city during the  .

More than 30,000 political prisoners,  were executed in the space of a few weeks in the summer of 1988 following a fatwa by the regime’s Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini. That fatwa described all members and supporters of the PMOI, also known as the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), as Mohareb (at war with God) and condemned to execution. The vast majority affiliated to the main democratic opposition group People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI or MEK),

In December 2018, Amnesty International published a 201-page report titled “Iran: Blood-Soaked Secrets: Why Iran’s 1988 Prison Massacres are Ongoing Crimes Against Humanity” which details Raisi’s key role in approving and ordering the mass executions.

Raisi currently heads the Qods Razavi Endowment Foundation, one of the regime’s wealthiest conglomerates. He is also President of the Governing Board of the Fifth Assembly of Experts and a member of the State Expediency Discernment Council.

Ebrahim Raisi was born in 1960 in Mashhad. He entered the Qom seminary when he was 15. Following the 1979 revolution that ousted the Shah, Raeesi became prosecutor of Karaj at the age of 20. He later became the prosecutor of Hamedan province. In 1985, at the age of 24, he moved to Tehran and became the Deputy prosecutor of the capital city. In 1988, aged 27, Raisi was appointed as a member of the Tehran’s Death Commission sending thousands of political prisoners to gallows.

In an audio tape recorded during the massacre, Ayatollah Montazeri, Khomeini’s heir apparent at the time, can be heard telling Tehran’s Death Commission: “The greatest atrocity in the Islamic Republic, for which history will condemn us, has been committed at your hands, and in future, your names will go down in history as criminals.” Montazeri was addressing Raisi and three other members of the Death Commission.

In 2009, Raisi threatened all anti-regime protesters affiliated to the MEK with execution on the charge of waging war on God. He argued that any assistance to the MEK warrants the death penalty because the group remains an organized movement: “With regards to the MEK, any individual who assists it in any manner or under any circumstances is considered Mohareb (at war with God) since this is an organized movement.” (State television, December 30, 2009)

Raisi had continuously sent out messages via the Telegram social network defending the 1988 mass executions during his campaign in the weeks leading to the May 2017 presidential election.

With Raisi standing by his side, Yasser Mousavi, the Friday prayer leader in Varamin (near Tehran), said at a Raisi’s campaign rally on May 12, 2017: “This grand figure standing next to me is proud to have executed the members of the PMOI”.

In 2017, Hassan Rouhani, the regime’s current president, admitted that Raisi’s record includes “nothing but executions and imprisonments in the past 38 years.”

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the US State Department’s Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino denounced Raisi’s appointment as the head Iran’s all-powerful Judiciary calling it a “disgrace” and “mockery of legal process”, as Raisi is responsible for the death of thousands of political prisoners in the 1980s including the 1988 massacre.

Palladino said in a tweet (both Farsi and English): “Ebrahim Raeesi (Raisi), involved in mass executions of political prisoners, was chosen to lead Iran’s judiciary. What a disgrace! The regime makes a mockery of the legal process by allowing unfair trials and inhumane prison conditions. Iranians deserve better!”

A brief on the 1988 massacre:

* Three or four-member Death Commissions approved all the death sentences.

* More than 30,000 political prisoners were massacred in the summer of 1988 in Iran.

* The executions were carried out on the basis of a fatwa by Iran’s then Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khomeini.

* Three-member commissions known as the “Death Commission” were formed across Iran to oversee and approve the death sentence of the political prisoners who refused to abandon their beliefs.

* Most victims were activists of the opposition PMOI (MEK).

* The victims were buried in secret mass graves.

* The perpetrators continue to enjoy impunity.

* Since 2016, the names of nearly 100 members of “Death Commissions” have been revealed. Many still hold senior positions in the Iranian judiciary or government. They include both the current and former Justice Ministers (Alireza Avaii and Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi) in Rouhani’s administration, and now Ebrahim Raisi who is appointed as the head of judiciary .

* The perpetrators of the 1988 massacre have never been brought to justice.

* On August 9, 2016, an audio tape was published for the first time of Khomeini’s former heir acknowledging that that massacre took place and had been ordered at the highest levels.

Read More on Iran’s 1988 Massacre Here