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Families of the 1980s massacres are at risk

In the 1980s and in the muddle of Iran-Iraq war Ayatollah Knomeini ordered the total wipe out of political prisoners. As a result and in a matter of few months thousands of prisoners were tried in a few minutes court appearances inside prisons and sentenced to death. A large number of them were about to be released but were executed instead. The figures vary. According to the recordings of the late Ayatollah Motazeri, there were about 2,800- 3000. According to Amnesty International about 2,000. According to families the figure goes beyond these numbers. The regime never released bodies to the families and buried all either in mass graves or in unknown plots in a place called 'Khavaran' in south of the capital. Families of those buried in Khavaran used to gather in the cemetrey every year to commomerate their loved ones but last year the regime buldozered the place and planted trees to even deprive the families of this little comfort.   

Twenty two years on, children of the executed prisoners have grown up into young men and women. Some have emigrated to other countries, others have stayed in Iran and live their lives. They have never forgotten the atrocities of a regime which deprived them of their mother and father.

Recently, and after the brutal crackdown on the opposition, some familiy members of these victims have been detained for no apparant reason. The regime which has lost control of its own establishment and lacks any reason has come to the conclusion that some of the relatives of the 1980s massacres might be involved in the demonstrations and unrests of recent months.

We would like to inform the international community that a fresh danger is rising from the atrocities committed by the Iranian regime. Wives of those killed some twenty years ago are in their fifties and sixxties and their children are mostly respected members of the Iranian society and might have been involved in the civil, peaceful and non-violent demonstrations after the June 2009 coup. They are facing the danger of being detained for their family links with those killed in the 1980s. We urge the international community raise their voice against the Iranian regime's recent plot to wipe out Iranian civil society members by any means and under any pretext.  

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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