Civil status Single
Education university diploma
Occupation teaching professional
Affiliation sympathizer of revolutionary leftist group at the time of arrest
Date of execution February 3, 1982
Location Sanandaj, Iran
Mode of execution hanging
Charges Armed rebellion against the Islamic Republic; Attempt to assassinate or assassination of state dignitaries; Bombing; Participating in clashes with revolutionary guards and or Bassij brothers
About this Case
The information about Mr. Hushang Nasir Khaledi, son of Nosratollah, was drawn from an interview with a relative. His execution, along with eight others, was reported in the Jomhuri Eslami newspaper on February 7, 1982.
Mr. Nasir Khaledi was born in August 1951 in Qorveh, in the western province of Kordestan. At the age of 16, after finishing the ninth grade, he went to the city of Kermanshah (located in the western province of Kermanshah) to continue his education at a technical high school. In 1969, he fulfilled the compulsory public service requirement, known as the Sepah-e Danesh (an alternative to the national draft), for two years. Having completed the two-year service, he started teaching at a technical school in Malayer (in the province of Hamedan) during the regular academic year. At the same time, he studied in Tehran during the summers. He earned his master’s degree from the Behbehani School in Tehran before the 1979 Revolution. At the time of the Revolution, he taught in Esfahan.
Mr. Nasir Khaledi was first arrested in the summer of 1979 for being outside of the house during a curfew. He was released on bail shortly after. He told his relative of the hasty, arbitrary, and unfair trials which led to the execution of several men who were arrested at the same time. In 1981, he moved from Esfahan to Sanandaj.
The interviewee remembers Mr. Nasir Khaledi was an “independent” person, who was “kind, loyal, compassionate, and patient.” People around him knew him as a “good man.” He was not influenced by the patriarchal nature of the culture at the time, and treated every one well. He encouraged others to read, study well, and enroll in university. He loved to teach and “enjoyed being a role model.” He was engaged and planned to marry his fiancée in September of 1981.
Based on the information available, Mr. Nasir Khaledi was a sympathizer of the Fadaiyan Khalq Organization, the Majority Branch. His younger brother, Bijan, was also executed in 1982.
The Fadaiyan Khalq Organization, a Marxist Leninist group, inspired by the Cuban Revolution and the urban guerilla movements of Latin America, was founded in 1971 by two communist groups opposed to the Pahlavi regime. After the 1979 Revolution, the organization, which renounced armed struggle, split over their support of the Islamic Republic and of the Soviet Union. The Fadaiyan Khalq Majority supported and considered the Islamic Republic as a revolutionary and anti-imperialist regime. After the spring of 1983, however, the Islamic Republic targeted its members solely because of their political beliefs.
Arrest and detention
One night in mid-June 1981, the Revolutionary Guards raided the Nasir Khaledis’ house. The interviewee says arrest without a warrant was “the norm” at the time. The guards searched the house and arrested Mr. Nasir Khaledi. They did not inform the family of his whereabouts after his arrest. It was only after a lot of persistence that his family found out that he was detained at the former headquarters of SAVAK (the National Intelligence and Security Organization of the Shah’s regime). They were eventually allowed to have visits with him in prison. However, they could not speak freely since the visit took place under surveillance.
Based on the available information, Mr. Nasir Khaledi was kept in a dirty room. He was tortured; the prison officials hit him so much that he lost his hearing in one ear. He was constantly called in for interrogation. He and his brother Bijan were detained in the same building.
The Jomhuri Eslami newspaper reported that Mr. Nasir Khaledi was tried at the Islamic Revolutionary Tribunal of Kordestan. However, the family was unaware of any trial.
Jomhuri Eslami reported that Mr. Nasir Khaledi and eight others were collectively charged with, “armed insurrection against the Islamic Republic, participation in clashes in Sanandaj, participation in the central committees of the Hypocrites’ militia [referring to the Mojahedin Khalq Organization], the assassination of Muslims, bombing, and destroying public places.” The report did not mention any charge brought against Mr. Nasir Khaledi personally.
The validity of the criminal charges brought against this defendant cannot be ascertained in the absence of the basic guarantees of a fair trial.
Evidence of guilt
No information is available concerning the evidence presented against the accused.
No information is available concerning Mr. Nasir Khaledi’s defense. The interviewee states that the charges were completely false. Mr. Nasir Khaledi was not affiliated with the Mojahedin Khalq Organization. According to the interviewee, “I am sure that he did not have any armed activity. His personality and thinking were against armed action. He had no link to any armed group.”
According to Jomhuri Eslami, the Islamic Revolutionary Tribunal of Kordestan called Mr. Nasir Khaledi and eight other men “enemies of God and His Prophet,” and condemned them to death.
According to the interviewee, on February 3, 1982, prison officials called Mr. Nasir Khaledi at midnight. He sensed that he might not return to the cell. He shaved and put on his clean clothes. He gave his watch to a cellmate. Prison officials took him out of the cell. He was hanged the same night.
After a few days, his family found out that some prisoners were executed and were buried at the Qorveh cemetery , a few hours away from Sanandaj. They could not visit the cemetery freely. Armed men prevented families of executed individuals from going to the cemetery. A few nights after the execution, Mr. Nasir Khaledi’s family members secretly visited the cemetery and found a mass grave. They exhumed the bodies and identified him. They buried the bodies in individual graves. According to information available, some bodies were not identified. The guards of the cemetery prevented the Nasir Khaledis from placing a grave stone for him. A few years later, the cemetery guards broke the cement that the family members had placed on the grave.
Human rights violations in this case
The legal context
Read about the courts, the judges, and the procedure.
Special courts, known as the Islamic Revolutionary Tribunals, were set up after the February 1979 revolution. Their jurisdiction encompasses a wide array of offences ranging from association with or support of the former regime, promotion of foreign influence, and enmity with the revolution to possession, use or sales of narcotic drugs, murder, and profiteering. In the 1980s, a penal court, presided over by one judge, was created to handle some of the offenses punishable by death, such as theft or adultery. These tribunals’ decisions must be confirmed by a chamber of the Supreme Judicial Council.
Prosecutors and judges are not necessarily jurists. By 1981, the judiciary was purged of judges trained in law schools. They were replaced by seminary graduates and students, as well as by political appointees (an estimated 2000 by 1989). Since by law judges are only required to have a high school diploma and must be faithful to the Islamic Republic’s tenets, new recruits often have little formal training in the law and are chosen because of their political affiliation.
The procedures of these ecclesiastical tribunals fail to meet the minimum guarantees for fair trial as established by international human rights instruments and by sha’ria (the Islamic system of law). In addition to executions ordered by revolutionary tribunals, extra-judicial executions are carried out, targeting dissidents and opposition leaders. In some cases, both inside and outside of Iran, these executions have been traced back to Iranian officials. It is, however, not known if in these particular cases trials are held in absentia.
Sources (Among others): Amnesty International, Law and Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, February 1980; Lawyers' Committee for Human Rights, The Justice System of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 1992; E/CN.4/1989/26 p.14; UNCHR, Resolution 1984/54 , Abolition of Torture - Iran - 1; 28 November 1984; Report on the human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran by the Special Representative of the Commission, Mr. Reynaldo Galindo Pohl, 28 January 1987. Amnesty International, A SHOCKED WORLD WATCHES IN DISBELIEF, VIOLATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS, 1987-1990. Memoirs of Ayatollah Khalkhali, religious judge and former head of revolutionary tribunals (2001), and Ayatollah Montazeri, dismissed successor to Ayatollah Khomeini (2001). UNCH, E/CN.4/1994/50, Final report on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran prepared by the Special Representative of the Commission on Human Rights, Mr. Reynaldo Galindo Pohl, pursuant to Commission resolution 1993/62 of 10 March 1993 and Economic and Social Council decision 1993/273. E/CN.4/1994/50, 2 February 1994.
Detentions, interrogations, and trials: 1981-1988
Read about the conditions in which individuals were detained, tried and sentenced.
The accused were held, sometimes without being charged, for months or years in overcrowded prisons. During their detention, prisoners of conscience, and in particular supporters of political opposition groups or members of religious or ethnic minorities, were routinely subject to physical and psychological torture. Interrogators used torture, authorized by the post-revolutionary law of Ta’zir (Discretionary Punishment Law), to obtain confessions of guilt or to induce repentance. The line between trial and interrogation was often blurred by the fact that the same individual would function as prosecutor, interrogator and judge.
Executed detainees may or may not have been tried formally. Prisoners of conscience were often tried through a summary process that might have lasted only a few minutes. When disclosed, charges facing the defendants were often vague or based on coerced confessions. Defendants had no access to attorneys, and they might not have been allowed to defend themselves.
Convicts could not appeal their sentence and were often executed shortly after their conviction. Their execution was not necessarily announced.
Based on the available information, some or all of the following human rights may have been violated in this case:
The right to liberty and security of the person. The right not to be subjected to arbitrary arrest and detention.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Article 3; International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Article 9.1.
The right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, including the right to change and manifest one’s religion or belief.
UDHR, Article 18; ICCPR, Article 18.1, ICCPR, Article 18.2;
Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, Article 1 and Article 6.
In its general comment 22 (48) of 20 July 1993, the United Nation’s Human Rights Committee observed that the freedom to "have or to adopt" a religion or belief necessarily entailed the freedom to choose a religion or belief, including the right to replace one's current religion or belief with another or to adopt atheistic views, as well as the right to retain one's religion or belief. Article 18, paragraph 2, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights bars coercion that would impair the right to have or adopt a religion or belief, including the use of threat of physical force or penal sanctions to compel believers or non-believers to adhere to religious beliefs and congregations, to recant their religion or belief or to convert.
The right to freedom of opinion and expression, including the right to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas.
UDHR, Article 19; ICCPR, Article 19.1 and ICCPR, Article 19.2.
The right to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and join trade union for the protection of one’s interests.
UDHR, Article 20; ICCPR, Article 22.1.
The right to due process
Pre-trial detention rights
The right to know promptly and in detail the nature and cause of the charges against one.
UDHR, Article 9(2); ICCPR, Article 9.2 and Article 14.3.a
The right to counsel of one’s own choosing or legal aid and the right to meet with one’s attorney in confidence
ICCPR, Article 14.3.d;
Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, Article 1 , Article 2, Article 5, Article 6, and Article 8.
The right to adequate time and facilities for the preparation of the defense case.
ICCPR, Article 14.3.b; Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, Article 8
The right not to be compelled to testify against oneself or to confess to guilt.
ICCPR, Article 14.3.g.
The right not to be subjected to torture and to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
UDHR, Article 5; ICCPR, Article 7; Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment and Punishment, Article 1, and Article 2.
The right to a fair and public trial without undue delay.
ICCPR, Article 9.3, Article 14.1, Article 14.3.c.
The right to examine, or have examined the witnesses against one and to obtain the attendance and examination of defense witnesses under the same conditions as witnesses for the prosecution.
ICCPR, Article 14.3.e.
The right to have the decision rendered in public.
ICCPR, Article 14.1.
The inherent right to life, of which no one shall be arbitrarily deprived.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Article 3; International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Article 6.1; Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty, Article 1.1, Article 1.2.
The right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment.
ICCPR, Article 7; Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment and Punishment, Article 1 and Article 2.