Unanswered Letters

August 15, 2018

Esmat Tallebi Kalkhoran’s husband, Majid, and her brother Adel, were arrested by Iranian authorities in 1985 for their membership in a leftist political organisation. They were both executed and probably buried in a mass grave site at Khavaran in the Tehran province.

Esmat shares her memory of the 1988 Prison Massacre in which the lives of 4,000 to 5,000 political prisoners were taken. In this video, she describes the event in detail.

She recalls Iranian authorities lying to the families of prisoners, depriving them of information and communications with their incarcerated loved-ones, and denying them their rights to truth and justice.

Joined by other political prisoners’ families, Esmat and her mother protested the Islamic Republics’ treatment of prisoners. Their efforts failed to save their loved ones’ lives. Esmat says that their protests made them targets for torture at the hands of the Iranian authorities.

After mass summary executions at Evin prison, word-of-mouth spread about a mass grave site in Khavaran. The families visited the area and discovered the prisoners buried in shallow graves.

The mass grave site in Khavaran is one of approximately 120 mass graves sites around Iran, mostly created during the 1988 massacre. Three decades later, families like Esmat’s have had no redress, and the authorities who perpetrated these crimes against humanity have not been brought to justice.