On Saturday 15th of September 2016, Maryam Akbari Monfared, an Iranian political prisoner serving a 15-year sentence in Evin prison, filed an official complaint requesting an investigation into the executions of her sister and brothers who were killed in the 1988 massacre of political prisoners.
This is the first time a family member of the victims of the 80s has publically lodged an official complaint against the Iranian judiciary.
Akbari Monfared also demands full disclosure of details of the events including identity of perpetrators and exact location of burials which have always been kept from the families of the victims, according to the information received by Justice for Iran.
In a separate open letter smuggled out of Evin prison, she outlines her family’s sufferings since 1980 and urges other victims’ families to formally issue indictments and bring criminal charges against the perpetrators of the mass and secret executions of 1980s.
Maryam Abkari Monfared wrote in her complaint: “my younger brother Abdolreza who was only 17 years old, was arrested for distributing publications by the People’s Mujahidin Organization of Iran (PMOI). He was sentenced to three years in prison. Despite completing his sentence, authorities refused to release him and eventually executed him. My other brother Alireza Akbari Monfared was executed on 19 September 1981 for the alleged crime of ‘supporting the PMOI’. On the eve of his wake (seventh days after death) security forces raided our home, arresting a number of mourners including my mother and sister Roghayeh Akbari Monfared. My sister, who was a young mother of an infant, was sentenced to eight years in prison and she was only a year away from the end of her sentence when she was executed in August 1988.”
Roghieh Akbari Monfared, Maryam’s sister
Maryam sets out legal arguments and cites a recently released audio file of a meeting between Ayatollah Montazeri – deputy supreme leader at the time, Mostafa Pourmohammadi, Hossein Ali Nayyeri, Morteza Eshraqhi, and Seyed Ibrahim Raissi, on 14th June 1988. She describes the mass killings of the 1980s as “contrary to the laws of the country [Iran] and Sharia standards, as well as violation of international commitments of Islamic republic of Iran”.
Maryam was arrested in 2009 after attending a protest which took place during the Shia holy Day of Ashura on 1st June 2016. Abolghassem Salavati, the head of branch 15 of Islamic Revolutionary Court, sentenced Maryam Akbari Monfared to 15 years imprisonment on alleged charges of being ‘enemy of God’ due to her alleged membership of the PMOI which is a banned opposition group in Iran.
The charges against this political prisoner are based on ‘moharebeh’, which means “enmity against God”.
She has always denied these charges and in her letter to Ahmed Shaheed she stated that judge Salavati told her she was “paying for the activities of her brother and sister”.
In accordance with the new legislation, Maryam should be released having served her sentence concurrently. Her appeal on the grounds of new legislation has been ‘under review’ for several months without a response. She was refused furlough when her daughter underwent a surgical operation.