“I am both happy and sad at the same time. Sad because… my friends who were executed are not with us today’
In 1988, Iranian prison officials serving on so-called “death committees” carried out mass executions of at least 5,000 political dissidents from the Islamic republic in the space of two months.
Last August, 33 years later, the first-ever trial of an official involved in the prisoner purge was held in Sweden, resulting in the life sentence of Hamid Noury.
i24NEWS spoke to former prisoners in Noury’s custody before trial and returned to them for their answers after his sentencing.
“I was so thrilled. This is the first time in Iran’s history that we could bring a man involved in crimes against humanity to justice,” said Iraj Mesdaghi, a former Iranian political prisoner.
Noury was found guilty of a ‘serious crime against international law’ and ‘murder’, said the Stockholm District Court, which recognized him as an assistant prosecutor in a prison near Tehran in time of the facts.
“I am both happy and sad at the same time. Glad because judicial standards around the world have advanced to prosecute a crime [that happened decades ago] another country,” said Mahnaz Ghezellou, another former Iranian political prisoner.
“Sad because a lot of mothers asking or are not with us today…and my friends who were executed are not with us today,” she said. i24NEWS.
Ghezellou, now a human rights activist, was arrested when he was 14 years old.
“[Noury] was so harsh and violent towards prisoners, especially women and children. They took me to a torture room, blindfolded me, whipped my feet.
While the “death committees” reportedly sent at least 5,000 people to be executed, Iran’s People’s Mojahedin opposition group put the figure at up to 30,000.
“I’m not looking for revenge, I’m looking for justice,” Mesdaghi said.