EP resolution calls for investigations into the 1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran
The European Parliament adopted a resolution against the use of the death penalty in Iran in its formal session in Strasburg on February 17, 2022. 617 MEPs voted in favor, while 59 abstained and eight voted against.
The members of the European Parliament also censured the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in Iran. They called for an international, independent investigation into this case and prosecution of the clerical regime’s leaders, especially Ebrahim Raisi, the mullahs’ incumbent president.
Many members of the European parliament spoke passionately against the use of the death penalty by the Iranian regime.
European Parliament resolution on the use of the death penalty in Iran
The resolution also underlined the fact that “according to reports, every year 400 to 500 women are brutally murdered in Iran in so-called ‘honour killings’;” and that “under the Iranian Penal Code ‘honour killings’ are permitted under certain circumstances without penalty.”
The resolution also pointed out that “women and men often face no justice in crimes committed against them in the name of ‘honour’; whereas on February 5, 2022, Mona Heydari was beheaded by her husband, who then paraded the streets with her severed head in the south-western city of Ahvaz; whereas in May 2020, Romina Ashrafi, aged 13, was beheaded by her own father with a sickle while she was asleep.”
In another part, the EP resolution reads, “the large-scale enforced disappearances and summary executions of political dissidents which took place in 1988” which “have to date not been the subject of any investigation, and no one has been held accountable for them.”
In its conclusions, the resolution reiterated the EP’s “strong opposition to the death penalty in all circumstances,” called on “Iran to introduce an immediate moratorium on the use of the death penalty as a step towards abolishing and to commute all death sentences.”
It further called on the Iranian authorities “to urgently amend Article 91 of the Islamic Penal Code of Iran to explicitly prohibit the use of the death penalty for crimes committed by persons below 18 years of age, in all circumstances and without any discretion for judges to impose the death penalty or life imprisonment without the possibility of release.”
In other parts of the resolution, the European Parliament:
“Calls on the Iranian authorities to release all political prisoners, for the immediate cessation of all forms of torture and ill-treatment of all detainees; condemns the practice of denying access to phone calls and family visits for detainees; expresses grave concerns over detainees’ inability to access legal representation during interrogations;
“Strongly condemns the steadily deteriorating human rights situation in Iran, especially for persons belonging to ethnic and religious minorities, based on systemic political, economic, social and cultural discrimination; deplores the alarming escalation in the use of the death penalty against protesters, dissidents, human rights defenders and members of minority groups;
“Underlines the destabilizing role of the Iranian regime across the wider region and denounces the fact that the Iranian regime is responsible for the deaths of numerous civilians in Syria, Yemen, and Iraq.”
Members of the European Parliament condemn the use of the death penalty in Iran
The MEPs spoke passionately against the use of the death penalty in Iran and executions of Iranian youths during the 1988 massacre in Iran and called for an international and independent probe into the case, which amounts to genocide and a crime against humanity.
MEP Anna Fotyga, Coordinator of the European Conservatives and Reformists Party:
Over the political divisions here in the European Parliament, we raise our voice in defense of the Iranian people. Since 1988, the massacre in Iran is an ongoing crime against humanity. We’ve been talking about the death penalty, but in many cases, it’s an extrajudicial crime—a swift execution, carried out without even pretending to hold court proceedings. Words are not enough. Our action is needed because what we see in Iran, also with the financing of terrorists outside and meddling in the region and even in our territories, requires our action and very strong sanctions.
MEP Javier Zarzalejos of the European People’s Party Group:
I wonder if we are being too generous to the Iranian regime because when we speak of the death penalty, even with the unreserved rejection of it as this is the case, I mean it suggests that previous judicial procedure, some kind of legality. That is not the case. In fact, there is no death penalty in Iran. There are sheer executions: state murder as a form of crime against humanity. Look at the appalling repression, enforced disappearances, and massive executions of political dissidents in the 1988 massacre and notice that there has been no investigation or accountability for these crimes that involve the current leader of Iran in a prominent role. Look at the horrifying record of Iran in executions: at least 275 last year, including 10 women and two child offenders. We cannot turn a blind eye.
MEP Jordi Solé, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group:
The human rights record of the Iranian regime is appalling. The death penalty is one of the cruelest manifestations of this. Despite repeated calls from the international community, the authorities keep carrying out death sentences with an average of around one per day in 2021. The country is one of the few in the world that executes minors and juvenile offenders in clear violation of international law.
The number of executions of citizens belonging to minorities, especially Baloch, Kurds, Arabs, and Bahai, is disproportionately high. And the death penalty in Iran is, to a large extent, an instrument to intimidate, persecute and try to eradicate any kind of political opposition in the country.
I call once again on the Iranian authorities to release all political prisoners and all prisoners of conscience. The situation has only worsened. Since Ebrahim Raisi took power last June, executions in Iran have risen to 271, eleven of them women. Given his well-documented role in the 1988 massacre and the brutal suppression of the November 2019 protests. The culture of impunity has been prevailing in the country for too many decades. Iranian society deserves justice and reparation. And they also deserve to live in a free, inclusive, and democratic country that respects human rights and dignity.
MEP Susanna Ceccardi of the Identity and Democracy Party:
Women in Islamic fundamentalist regimes are the ones who pay the highest price. I have in my eyes the images of a shocking video, where a husband beheading his seventeen-year-old wife, accused of adultery, walks the streets smiling, exposing his head like a trophy. In Iran, a man who kills his 14-year-old daughter faces eight years in prison; a woman who takes off her veil risks up to 24.
In her speech, Ms. Ceccardi also referred to the 1988 massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners across Iran, including many young men and women, some even high school and college students.
MEP Radosław Sikorski, a former foreign minister of Poland:
Iran is believed to execute the most people per capita in the world. This is a country that, of course, doesn’t have a fair or independent judiciary. The President of Iran was a member of the Death Commission in the 1988 massacre, in which 30,000 political prisoners were murdered judicially.
There are political prisoners in Iran who had dared merely to ask about that massacre, people like Maryam Akbari Monfared, Qolam-Hossein Kalbi, Saeed Massouri, Afshin Baeemani, Saeed Shahghal-eh. Mr. Raisi, the fate of these people is a testimony to your status as a butcher, and you will be punished for it, in this world or the next.