By Staff Writer, Iran Probe
Thursday, 7 September 2017
Amnesty International said on 4 September 2017 that the Iranian authorities must urgently stop the destruction of a mass grave in the southern city of Ahvaz. Amnesty International launched a campaign to urge authorities to protect the site, where dozens of prisoners killed during a wave of mass extrajudicial executions in August and September 1988 are buried.
A United Nations report distributed in August 2017 examining the violation of Human Rights in Iran, also covered the 1988 massacre of the political prisoners, mostly members and sympathizers of the PMOI/MEK.
Construction near the area began earlier this year. Recent footage obtained by the organization shows the site is gradually being buried beneath piles of construction waste. The campaign is being launched along with a video highlighting the imminent risks posed to the site.
“Bulldozing the mass grave at Ahvaz will destroy crucial forensic evidence that could be used to bring those responsible for the 1988 mass extrajudicial executions to justice. It would also deprive families of victims of their rights to truth, justice and reparation, including the right to bury their loved ones in dignity. By joining Amnesty International’s campaign, people can help to press Iran’s authorities to stop the imminent destruction of the site,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
“Instead of desecrating the mass grave with piles of rubbish and waste and further tormenting families, who face repression for their efforts to protect the memory of their loved ones, the authorities should be upholding their duty to preserve all Iran’s mass grave sites so that investigations can be carried out into the 1988 extrajudicial executions and other mass killings.”
This month marks 29 years since the mass prisoner killings took place across the country.
The organization is calling on people to join the campaign by sending appeals to Ahvaz City Council and Iran’s High Council for Human Rights, amongst other targets, and promoting the hashtag #MassGraves88 on social media.
The mass grave at Ahvaz is marked by a long horizontal concrete block. The authorities poured cement over the grave to stop families from digging up the grave and recovering their loved ones' remains ©Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)
Piles of rubbish at the site of Ahvaz mass grave ©Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)
Mashhad mass grave where remains of up to 170 people believed to be buried was covered with a mound of soil ©Justice for Iran