A Henchman in the 1988 Massacre of Iranian Political Prisoners Arrested in Sweden

By The Free Iranian Staff


On November 13th, Swedish authorities announced that Hamid Nouri, a former Khomeiniist regime prosecutor, had been arrested on Saturday, the 9th, when he flew to Stockholm to visit relatives. Nouri, who formerly used the alias Hamid Abbasi, is accused of having taken part in the Khomeiniist regime’s massacre of Iranian political prisoners during the summer of 1988. According to Iranian human rights activists, Nouri was a judge working at Gohardasht prison in the city of Karaj in 1988, and he personally issued death sentences to prisoners.

The case against Nouri was filed by Kaveh Mousavi, a UK-based Iranian attorney, based on the testimony of a former political prisoner, Iraj Mesdaghi. Nouri is charged with the torture, execution, and secret burial of the victims, and with not letting the victims’ families know the locations of their graves.

massacre victims

The author of several books about the 1988 massacre, Mesdaghi alleges that, in 1988, Hamid Nouri was an assistant to Judge Moghiseh, who was one of the officials who issued the execution sentences. Mesdaghi has offered to personally testify against Nouri, and to bring other witnesses from around the world, who can personally attest to Nouri’s crimes, to Sweden. Mesdaghi also alleges that, more recently, Nouri worked as a regime intelligence agent and extorted money from Iranians in Europe who had family members imprisoned by the regime, or who had had their Iranian assets blocked or confiscated by the regime.

Nouri denied even having had a position in the regime judiciary at his arraignment. The Swedish court ordered him held for one month in order for the plaintiffs to prepare their case against him. Mousavi has said, however, that it may take up to a year for all the relevant information regarding Nouri to be gathered.

Agnes Callamard, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial Executions, welcomed the news of Nouri’s arrest via tweet. She wrote that it is an “important first step towards justice for the 1988 massacre.” Numerous international human rights advocacy groups, such as Amnesty International, have called the 1988 events a “crime against humanity.” Amnesty has called on the UN to establish an independent commission that would investigate the facts of what occurred in 1988 and prosecute those responsible for the executions, but most UN member states, being themselves dictatorships, have instead chosen to support the Khomeiniist regime.

Ebrahim Raisi

The exact number of causalities of the 1988 massacre is still unknown. Some former regime officials say more than 30,000 were killed. The Swedish-based Committee for the Defense of Human Rights in Iran has complied the names of 4,672 victims. The executions were ordered by the Ayatollah Khomeini at the end of the Iran-Iraq war, when, during the last Iraqi offensive, he feared his regime’s survival might be in jeopardy. In 2016, an audio recording was posted online by the family of Hossein Ali Montazeri, Khomeini’s former handpicked successor who broke with him over the 1988 executions, in which Montazeri, who had died in 2009, revealed the names of the four-member “Death Commission” that administered the massacre. They were; Hossein Ali Nayeri, Mostafa Pourmohammadi, Morteza Eshraghi, and Ebrahim Raisi. Raisi is currently the head of Tehran’s judiciary and seen as a possible successor to regime leader Ali Khamenei.

Raisi, who has also been sanctioned by the United States because of his role in the 1988 events, has never denied his involvement, and has defended the regime’s actions. Last week, in response to a UN special rapporteur’s report on human rights violations in Iran, Raisi said “Implementing divine decrees in the Islamic Republic is beyond any discussion.”

Mostafa Pourmohammadi served as regime president Hassan Rouhani’s justice minister from 2013 to 2017. He also has admitted and defended his actions in 1988, saying in 2016 that he was “proud to have carried out God’s commandment. I am at peace and have not lost any sleep all these years because I acted in accordance with law and Islam.”

Iran continues to have one of the highest execution rates in the world. Family members of those who were killed in 1988 are still being arrested and tortured for discussing the massacre in public.

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