Japanese

  1. Home
  2. Get Involved
  3. Urgent Action
  4. ISRAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN: ROAD TO BE BUILT OVER INDIVIDUAL AND MASS GRAVES

ISRAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN:
ROAD TO BE BUILT OVER INDIVIDUAL AND MASS GRAVES

Update info:
1 Aug 2018
Country:
ISRAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN
Subject:
Families in Ahvaz
Gender m/f: both
Period:
6 Sep 2018
Distribution date:
1 Aug 2018
UA No:
140/2018

The families of political dissidents who were forcibly disappeared and extrajudicially killed in Ahvaz, southern Iran, in the 1980s are suffering untold mental anguish and distress as the authorities are destroying the individual and mass graves of their loved ones. They are afraid of facing further persecution if they speak out.

The Iranian authorities are building a road over a mass grave and dozens of individual graves in Ahvaz, Khuzestan province, that contain the remains of dozens of political dissidents, both men and women, who were forcibly disappeared and extrajudicially killed in the 1980s including during the mass killings of 1988. 

During the early 1980s, the authorities of the newly founded Islamic Republic executed thousands of political dissidents, including prisoners of conscience, without trial or after flagrantly unfair and shambolic “trials” in prisons that lasted only a few minutes. In many cases, the authorities never returned the bodies to the families and directed them to individual graves located on the outskirts of cemeteries and said that their relatives were buried there.

Since 20 July 2018, photo and video evidence has surfaced, which appears to show that the concrete structure marking the mass grave as well as dozens of individual graves have been smashed to pieces. The graves are now hidden beneath piles of dirt and debris. According to an official board placed at the site, the purpose of the project is to build a “boulevard” and create a 21-acre park. The board notes that the project is supervised by the Municipality of Ahvaz.

Families of the victims in Ahvaz first learned that a construction project was underway in May 2017. According to information received by Amnesty International from human rights defenders outside Iran, municipal officials had previously promised the families that the road under construction would not go over the individual and mass graves. However, when families visited the site on 20 July 2018, they saw that the authorities had destroyed the graves. An eyewitness has reported that in the following days barbed wire was put around the site and it is now under heavy surveillance. The destruction of the graves follows a three-decade long campaign of enforced disappearance by the authorities which has involved concealing the truth about the fate and whereabouts of those extrajudicially killed in 1988, denying families the right to receive and bury the remains of their loved ones according to their traditions, desecrating the grave site by turning it into a rubbish dump, forbidding mourning rituals, and cracking down on any critical public discussion about the killings. The anguish and distress caused to the families by the authorities’ decisions to forcibly disappear and secretly execute their loved ones, to conceal the whereabouts of their remains, and to desecrate their graves constitute a form of torture or other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment against the families, prohibited under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Take action

Please write immediately in English, Persian, or your own language, calling on the Iranian authorities to:

  • Immediately stop the destruction of individual and mass graves blonging to the victims of the mass killings of 1980s and respect families’ right to bury their relatives in dignity;
  • Stop the harassment of families seeking truth, justice and reparation, and conduct a thorough, independent and effective criminal investigation of the enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings of 1980s, including efforts to cover up the crimes, and bring to justice those suspected of criminal responsibility in fair trials, without recourse to the death penalty;
  • Recognize that mass graves are crime scenes that require forensic expertise to undertake exhumations to determine the identity of the remains and the circumstances of what happened and enable families to receive the remains of their loved ones.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 6 SEPTEMBER 2018 TO:
Mayor of Ahvaz
Mansour Katanbaf
City Council, Amanieh street,
Sepah Avenue, Ahwaz, Iran
Telephone: (061) 3333 20 89
Email: info@ahvaz.ir
Salutation: Dear Mayor

Member of Parliament
Dr. Homayoun Youssefi
Public Relations Office
Next to Office of Civil Registration
Shahid Modarres Street
Amaniyeh, Ahwaz, Iran
Salutation: Dear Dr.Youssefi

And copies to:
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Mohammad Javad Zarif
c/o Permanent Mission of Iran to the United Nations in Geneva
Chemin du Petit-Saconnex 28
1209 Geneva, Switzerland

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.