Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

Omid, a memorial in defense of human rights in Iran
One Person’s Story

Fariba Dashti


Age: 25
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Islam
Civil Status: Single


Date of Killing: July, 1988
Location of Killing: Evin Prison, Tehran, Tehran Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Counter revolutionary opinion and/or speech; War on God, God's Prophet and the deputy of the Twelfth Imam

About this Case

Information about Ms. Fariba Dashti was obtained from an Omid Memorial electronic form filled in by one of her former fellow inmates. Ms. Dashti is among the 3208 members and sympathizers of the People’s Mojahedin of Iran Organization (PMIO) whose execution was reported by the organization in a book entitled Crime Against Humanity. This book documents the 1988-89 mass execution of political prisoners. Additional information was drawn from the Bidaran website.

Ms. Dashti lived with her family in Abadan until the start of the Iran-Iraq war. Upon the occupation of the city by the Iraqi army, they were forced to leave and took residence in Tehran.

She was a sympathizer with the PMIO. In prison, she was an open and free-spirited young woman who treated all her fellow inmates warmly regardless of their political positions. She raised everybody’s spirits by poking fun and telling jokes.

Arrest and detention

Ms. Dashti was kept in Ward 3, Unit 1 of Qezelhesar Prison during 1985 and was transferred to Evin and the “punishment wards” in 1986. From 1987 to the time of her execution in the summer of 1988, she was kept in Ward 1 of the Asayeshgah (literally meaning “sanitarium”) section, where the cell doors were kept locked at all times. Inmates were taken to the bathroom three times in 24 hours and were given 30 minutes each time to use the toilet, shower, or wash their dishes or clothes as needed.


Ms. Dashti was tried and sentenced to life in prison years before she was executed. It is not clear whether or not a second trial was held to issue the death sentence. According to the available information, the Iranian authorities did not try the victims of the 1988 mass execution in a court with in the presence of a defense lawyer. The prisoners who were executed in 1988 had been questioned by a three-member special committee, composed of a religious judge, a representative of the Intelligence Ministry, and the Tehran Prosecutor. The committee questioned the leftist prisoners about their beliefs and their faith in God and religion.

The relatives of political prisoners executed in 1988 refute the legality of the judicial process that resulted in thousands of executions throughout Iran. In their 1988 open letter to then Minister of Justice Dr. Habibi, they argue that the official secrecy surrounding these executions is the proof of their illegality. They note that an overwhelming majority of these prisoners had been tried and sentenced to prison terms, which they were either serving or had already completed serving, at the time they were retried and sentenced to death.


No charge has been publicly leveled against the defendant. In their letters to the Minister of Justice (1988), and to the UN Special Rapporteur visiting Iran (February 2003), the families of the victims refer to the authorities accusations against the prisoners; accusations that may have led to their execution. These accusations include being “counter-revolutionary, anti-religion, and anti-Islam,” as well as being “associated with military action or with various [opposition] groups based near the borders.”

An edict of the Leader of the Islamic Republic, reproduced in the memoirs of Ayatollah Montazeri, his designated successor, corroborates the reported claims regarding the charges against the executed prisoners. In this edict, Ayatollah Khomeini refers to the PMOI’s members as “hypocrites” who do not believe in Islam and “wage war against God” and decrees that prisoners who still approve of the positions taken by this organization are also “waging war against God” and should be sentenced to death.

Evidence of guilt

The report of this execution does not contain information regarding the evidence provided against the defendant.


In their open letter, the families of the prisoners note that defendants were not given the opportunity to defend themselves in court. Against the assertion that prisoners were associated with guerillas operating near the borders, the families submit the isolation of their relatives from the outside during their detention: “Our children lived in most difficult conditions. Visits were limited to 10 minutes behind a glass divider through a telephone every two weeks. We witnessed during the past seven years that they were denied access to anything that would have allowed them to establish contacts outside their prisons walls.” Under such conditions the families reject the claim of the authorities that these prisoners were able to engage with any political group outside Iran.


Ms. Fariba Dashti was hanged at Evin prison in July 1988. The details of the death sentence are not known.

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