November 28, 2008
“We stand resolute in our demand to know the whole truth about these crimes against humanity and to have a competent court investigate them. … These crimes are still an open wound in the collective conscience of the Iranian society. And each one of us feels responsible to press for justice.”
Forouhar, Mokhtari, and Pouyandeh families (2008)
Those who have signed this call for justice are the children and relatives of four peaceful dissidents and intellectuals slain in Iran in the fall of 1998. Ten years ago, on November 22nd 1998, Darioush and Parvaneh Forouhar were brutally murdered in their home by agents of the Ministry of Information. While the Iranian society was still shocked by the news of this abject crime, two members of Iran’s writers’ associations, Mohammad Mokhtari and Mohammad Ja’far Pouyandeh disappeared and were found dead on December 3rd and December 10th, 1998, respectively.
Parvaneh and Dariush Forouhar were outspoken critics of the Islamic Republic. Mokhtari and Pouyandeh were actively engaged in reviving the independent Iranian writers' association. All four had received threats and warnings regarding their activities. Their murder brought to light a string of disappearances and suspicious deaths of scores of intellectuals and dissidents. The evidence disclosed over the past 10 years points to the fact that the Ministry of Information implemented throughout the 1990s, the decision made by the highest authorities of the Islamic Republic, to eliminate peaceful dissidents.
The attempt of the Forouhar, Mokhtari, and Pouyandeh families to seek justice for the murders has brought them little more than frustration, distress, and disillusionment. The Iranian authorities attributed the killings to “rogue elements” and unnamed “foreign powers” aiming to harm the Islamic Republic. They refused to investigate or prosecute high ranking officials who are believed to have ordered the systematic elimination of peaceful dissidents inside and outside Iran, silenced the press, intimidated the families and imprisoned their lawyer.
On November 22, as in previous years, the authorities banned friends and families of the Forouhars to gather and commemorate their death neither in public nor in the privacy of their own home. The security services closed off the street leading to the Forouhars’ house, confiscated the mobile phones and identity papers of five individuals who intended to attend the ceremony, and dispersed people who attempted to stay nearby and talk.
On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of these serial killings, The Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation has translated “Report to the Nation”, (attached in PDF format) in which the Forouhars' daughter, Parastou, provides a public account about her parents’ death and the subsequent investigation and prosecution.
ABF honors the memory of the victims and urges all Iranians to show their support and solidarity with the three families’ appeal for truth and justice by signing their petition*. ABF also calls on the international community to remember these victims and demand that the Iranian authorities allow an independent investigation of their murders.
* Text of the families' petition:
On the eve of the tenth anniversary of the tragic assassination of dissidents in November 1998, we pay homage to the memory of the victims, Paravaneh and Darioush Forouhar (political dissidents), Mohammad Mokhtari (writer), and Mohammad Ja’far Puyandeh (writer), along with all other victims of political crimes [in Iran].
We stand resolute in our demand to know the whole truth about these crimes against humanity and to have a competent court investigate them. The killing of dissidents was an organized plan implemented from within government’s bodies. These crimes are still an open wound in the collective conscience of the Iranian society. And each one of us feels responsible to press for justice.
With the hope for the rule of freedom and justice in Iran.
Forouhar, Pouyandeh and Mokhtari families
You may also send a signed copy of the appeal to :
Tehran, Saidi avenue, Hedayat avenue (Shahid Qaedi), Shahid Moradzadeh street, #22, Forouhar residence.