New evidence reveals deliberate desecration and destruction of multiple mass grave sites in Iran

30th April 2018: New evidence including satellite imagery, photo and video analysis show that the Iranian authorities are deliberately destroying suspected or confirmed mass grave sites associated with a 1988 massacre in which thousands of prisoners detained for political reasons were forcibly disappeared and extrajudicially executed, according to a report released by Amnesty International and SRT grantee Justice for Iran today.

Criminal cover-up: Iran destroying mass graves of victims of 1988 killings reveals that the Iranian authorities are bulldozing, constructing buildings and roads, dumping rubbish or building new burial plots over mass grave sites. These tactics are destroying evidence that could be used to establish the truth about the scale of the crimes and obtain justice and reparations for the victims and their families.

At one site in the northern city of Tabriz, the authorities have poured concrete over more than half of an area suspected to be a mass grave. Satellite images obtained by Amnesty and Justice for Iran show drastic changes to the area between June 2016 and September 2017. In another example from Qorveh in Kurdistan province, the authorities bulldozed gravestones and commemorative signs put up by grieving family members in July 2016, saying the land had been designated for ‘agricultural’ purposes.

Justice for Iran estimates that there may be more than 120 locations across Iran that contain the remains of the victims of the 1988 massacre.

Shadi Sadr, Executive Director of Justice for Iran, said, ‘These are crime scenes and must be protected as such until proper and independent forensic investigations are carried out to identify the remains and the circumstances of what happened to the victims. These horrific crimes must be properly investigated and all those responsible for committing, ordering and concealing [them] brought to justice in fair trials without recourse to the death penalty.’

The full report is available here.

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