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Demands for justice in the 1988 massacre continue to grow in Iran
With the rise of the 1988 Justice-Seeking Movement, Iranian regime President Hassan Rouhani was forced to dismiss his Justice Minister, Mostafa Pour Mohammadi from his cabinet.

Pour Mohammadi was part of the 1988 Death Committee and one of the main perpetrators of the massacre, which ended in 30,000 political prisoners being executed.

Yet, despite Rouhani dismissing Pour Mohammadi, it is clear that the thinking of the regime has not truly changed. This dismissal was simply window-dressing, whitewashing over the issue of the massacre altogether.

Political prisoners are being suppressed and those who are attempting to defend their right to speak out and peacefully protest are also being repressed. Human rights defenders have been sentenced to long prison terms, often on vague charges of being national security risks.

The proceedings where the sentencing takes place are often brief, barely following any type of legal international precedent for a fair trial. Anti-death campaigners Atena Daemi and Omid Alishenas were sentenced to 14 and 10 years’ imprisonment respectively, after a trial in March 2015 that lasted around 45 minutes. On appeal, their sentences were reduced to seven years each.

Human rights lawyers who speak out on behalf of these individuals, particularly the torture and unfair trials, are also facing relentless harassment, disbarment, and imprisonment. Demanding answers from the Iranian regime, especially accountability for these human rights violations, comes with real life costs for those determined to find justice.

Additionally, executions continue to be an issue in Iran. 100 executions were carried out in July alone. Only eight of those executions were announced by Iranian officials. Drug-related charges accounted for 61 of the executions in July. The Iranian Parliament has approved a general plan to amend the law for combating drugs, even as executions related to drug charges continues.

“Had the Iranian authorities waited for the bill to pass, then the death sentences for many of those executed for drug offences would have been commuted to prison terms,” said Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, the spokesperson for Iran Human Rights. “It is incomprehensible why the Iranian authorities, who have admitted that the death penalty doesn’t reduce drug crimes, can’t stop drug-related executions for just a few months.”

Iran Human Rights has called for a halt to all executions in Iran and calls on authorities to remove the death penalty from Iran’s laws. Since the beginning of 2017, at least 340 people have been executed in Iran.

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