London- Ahmad Montazeri, son of Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, who for decades was the right-hand man to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of Iran’s Islamic revolution, was sentenced to jail for 21 years for releasing a decades-old tape in which his father denounced the mass execution of prisoners in 1988.
Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri died in 2009.
A clerical court in the holy city of Qom sentenced Montazeri with 10 years in jail for compromising national security and 10 other years for making the recordings public, and another year for fifth column activity and empowering anti-regime propaganda, ISNA news agency said.
The court said he would only serve six years in view of his lack of previous convictions, his age, and “reverence” for a brother he lost in a MEK attack, an Iranian Marxist political organization in exile that seeks overthrowing the cleric-run regime and is labeled as a “terrorist organization” by Tehran’s totalitarian regime.
The elder Montazeri was one of the few Iranian leaders to voice opposition in 1988 when Khomeini ordered the execution of thousands of political dissidents held in the country’s jails.
In August Ahmad Montazeri was arrested shortly after releasing a 40-minute recording of his father from 1988, arguing with leading members of the judiciary about the executions.
Most of the executions were carried out against MEK supporters– the number of people executed by Khomeini’s orders range between 5,000-30,000 people.
The 1988 executions of political prisoners refer to the state-sponsored execution of political prisoners across Iran, starting on 19 July 1988 and enduring for approximately five months. The majority of those killed were MEK supporters although anti-MEK members of other leftist factions were executed as well.
The killings have been described as a political purge without precedent in modern Iranian history, both in terms of scope and cover-up. Concerning the exact number of prisoners executed, it remains a point of contention. Amnesty International recorded the names of over 4,482 disappeared prisoners during this time, but Iranian opposition groups suggest that the number of inmates executed was far higher, reaching as many as 30,000 dissidents who have been executed.
Great care was taken to keep the killings undercover–the Tehran regime currently denies the executions ever having taken place. Justifications offered for the alleged executions vary, but does not fully account for the targeting of other leftist groups who had also opposed the Mujahedin invasion.