By: Namik Kopliku
Former Member of Parliament and the Head of Albanian-Iranian Friendship Association
33 years ago, in mid-August 1988, in Gohardasht Prison in Karaj, northeast of Tehran, Iran, Hamid Nouri enters the prison ward and takes the prisoners in groups for execution. At that time, he was a 28-year-old youth and a supporter of the dictatorial regime of the mullahs in Iran. In the horrific massacre of 1988, the ruling religious dictatorship of Iran executed more than 30,000 Iranian youth, men, and women, simply for their belief in and support for the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran for the establishment of freedom and democracy in Iran.
Hamid Nouri at that time never thought that any of these political prisoners, whom he took to the death chamber in groups every day and every hour, would survive to stand face to face to him in an international court while he is being tried before Swedish judges and justice.
In 1988, in order to continue its religious and medieval dictatorship in Iran, the Khomeini regime carried out the most horrific massacre of prisoners since World War II. 30,000 people were executed in prisons and different cities of Iran in a few months. Pregnant women, elderly mothers and fathers, children and adolescents, artists, athletes and national heroes, doctors, teachers, professors, and students, etc., were all brutally executed.
Over the past 33 years, Iran’s mullahs and rulers have managed to hide this horrific crime against humanity through politics and dealings with Western and Eastern governments, and have thwarted reports by the United Nations, Amnesty International and parliaments around the world about the massacre. But in the end, the dictatorial regime of Iran was caught by justice.
In 2013, the government of Sali Berisha and then the government of Edi Rama accepted into Albania 3,000 victims of the Iranian regime who were stationed in Iraq and were under rocket attacks and massacres of the Iranian regime and its mercenaries. Of these 3,000, nearly 1,000 were political prisoners during Khomeini’s time who were witnesses to this horrible crime against humanity.
Four years ago, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the Iranian Resistance in Paris, launched a massive international justice campaign in Europe and the United States for the 1988 massacre victims, and finally governments and international organizations began to take a stand, calling for the perpetrators of this crime to be brought to justice.
After several years of investigation, Amnesty International prepared a complete report on the massacre and published it in June 19, 2021 and called for the trial of those involved, including Ebrahim Ra’isi, the current president of the Iranian regime.
In 2020, the US State Department declared the 1988 massacre in Iran a massacre and called for the perpetrators to be tried. Following that, the Supreme Leader of the regime, Khamenei, and Ebrahim Ra’isi, the President of Iran, were blacklisted and sanctioned.
In 2019, Hamid Nouri traveled to Sweden on a mission, but was arrested and imprisoned by Swedish police after his information was leaked by the Iranian resistance. While Hamid Nouri and the rulers of the Iranian regime could not imagine, the Swedish judiciary declared that it had jurisdiction under Swedish law to prosecute in Sweden a person with other nationality who has committed crime against humanity. Thus, the trial of Hamid Nouri and the investigation of his crimes began. Iranians and former prisoners from around the world were summoned to the Stockholm Court to testify and file a complaint. And since the main witnesses and plaintiffs in Hamid Nouri’s case resided in the Mojahedin site in Manza, the Stockholm court decided to come to Durres from 10 to 18 November 2021 with Swedish judges, prosecutors, and lawyers to hear witnesses and plaintiffs of the MEK. Thus, Durres became the beating heart of justice for millions of Iranians in Iran and around the world. International radio and television stations and news agencies, as well as almost all Albanian media, provided full report on this historic trial. Legal experts described the Swedish-Albanian joint trial as a great achievement for Albania, which has gained such credibility on the eve of joining the European Union and during judicial reform.
Asghar Mehdizadeh, who testified on the third day of Durres court, said that every time he saw Hamid Nouri under the blindfold, returning from the death chamber while holding several blindfolds of prisoners who had been executed. He took me to the death chamber many times.
Now, after 33 years, Asghar Mehdizadeh and the Mojahedin male and female political prisoners have once again faced Hamid Nouri in the Durres court. But this time, Hamid Nouri is in prison and handcuffed, and the political prisoners, men, and women, are free, as plaintiffs and witnesses for the execution of justice and condemnation of the Iranian regime’s crimes against humanity.