Hanging Judge Confirms Massacre Of Political Prisoners In Iran In 1980s

A cleric who has long been Iran’s top judge acknowledged that the Islamic Republic massacred political prisoners in the summer of 1988.

Hossein Ali Nayeri, one of the judges reportedly involved in the summary trial and execution of thousands of Iranian prisoners, defended his action in an interview with the Islamic Republic Documents Center (IRDC) a government entity that collects the history of the 1979 revolution and more than four decades of Islamic Republic leadership in Iran.

Nayeri is currently chairman of the Disciplinary Court for Judges in the Islamic Republic, a supervising body that monitors and regulates the performance of judges in Iran.

He tried to justify and explain the killing of thousands of political prisoners, saying: “This is a special situation. The country is in a critical state. If Khomeini [the Islamic Republic’s first leader] did not stand firm, we have no security that we enjoy today. The regime will probably not survive. About 50 to 60 people are killed in Tehran and other Iranian cities every day. “

Nayeri is referring to hundreds of assassinations since 1981 when the MEK targeted clerics and Islamic Republic officials.

In the interview, Nayeri also shed light on the life of the first Revolutionary Court Chairman of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Mohammadi Gilani, known for his ruthless treatment of prisoners. Nayeri recalled that Gilani had previously said that the decisions of the revolutionary court came from God Almighty, “and he would never make any compromise when the order came from God,” Nayeri said.

Some of the unmarked graves of prisoners killed in 1988, in a cemetery in Tehran

“The critical situation at that time required strict treatment. We could not run the country by being too soft,” he added.

When asked why prisoners who were serving prison sentences or had already served their prison terms were killed, Nayeri said that was because the prisoners had conspired against the Islamic Republic.

Nayeri also spoke about rumors that Gilani had imposed death sentences for his own children in the 1980s. Nayeri said the children of the Ayatollah were with the Mujahedin-e Khalq, aka the MeK. He added that Gilani’s children did not go to jail because they were killed in clashes with security forces on the streets. Asked how Gilani reacted to the killing of his sons, Nayeri quoted him as saying, “I’m not even allowed to cry for my children.” Nayeri added that Gilani’s two sons had long since left the family and they parted ways.

He says there have been a couple of assassination attempts on Gilani but each time he has miraculously escaped death.

Speaking about another stage in the history of the Islamic Republic, Nayeri said Gilani was a devotee of Khomeini and one of Ali Khamenei’s supporters when the Assembly of Experts met in June 1989 to elect a new leader for Islamic Republic after Khomeini’s. death. He said both Khomeini and Khamenei have always appreciated Gilani’s judgment.

Nayeri was a member of the “death committee” that sentenced political prisoners to death. The current president of Iran Ebrahim Raisi is also a member of the group. A witness in the Swedish trial of an Iranian for his alleged role in the 1988 prison executions in mid -December 2021 named President Ebrahim Raisi as one of the officials directly involved in the massacre.

In a recent development, the well-known former UN officials call for a UN investigation into the 1988 “massacre” of political prisoners in Iranwith the office of President Ebrahim Raisi, at the time.