Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

https://www.iranrights.org
Omid, a memorial in defense of human rights in Iran
One Person’s Story

Reza Naji

About

Nationality: Iran
Religion: Islam
Civil Status: Unknown

Case

Date of Killing: February 15, 1979
Location: Refah School, Tehran, Tehran Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Shooting
Charges: Treason; Murder of persons and/or killing Muslims or/and freedom fighters; Corruption on earth; Torture

About this Case

General Reza Naji is one of 438 victims listed in a March 13, 1980 Amnesty International report. The report lists defendants who were convicted by Revolutionary Tribunals in the period from their inception until 12 August 1979. The list of victims and charges is drawn from sources including translations of indictments, reports of trials carried out by local and foreign media and the bulletins of the official Pars News Agency reports.

The execution of General Reza Naji and three other former regime officials was also reported in the Ayandegan daily (February 17, 1979). The news was followed by a communiqué of the Extraordinary Islamic Revolutionary Tribunal regarding the case.

General Naji is also one of 10 convicts mentioned in the Memoirs of Sadeq Khalkhali (Isolation Time, Vol. 1, p.352), the first post-revolution Shari'a judge and head of the Islamic Revolutionary tribunal.

Arrest and detention

Based on the communiqué, the defendant was arrested by “Islamic armed forces.” The circumstances of his arrest and detention remain unknown.

Trial

The Ayandegan report mentioned that the Extraordinary Islamic Revolutionary Tribunal held a session at Alavi High School # 2 [Refah], which lasted for 10 hours. Based on the report, this Extraordinary Tribunal was ordered to form two days before it took session at the high school. General Naji and the other defendants were said to be the first group of "criminals" tried after the victory of the Revolution four days earlier. The details and conditions of the tribunal remain unknown. However the Shari'a judge mentions this trial in his Memoirs:

"I began to try the convicts soon after my nomination. The first people I tried and punished for their deeds were Nematollah Nasiri, head of SAVAK, and Khosrowdad, air forcer commander; Naji, martial law administrator of Esfahan, and Rahimi, martial law administrator of Tehran and head of police force... I believed at the time, and I still believe, that all the parliamentarians and senators, all governors, heads of SAVAK and police, who held office after 1963 and the Imam's boycott, should be sentenced to death. High-ranking ministery officials who were instrumental in the survival of the apparatus [Shah’s regime] and who, for getting close to the Shah and his family, would accept any humiliation are all guilty... "

Charges

The communiqué of the Extraordinary Revolutionary Tribunal did not specify General Naji’s charges. Collectively, the four defendants were charged with “torture and massacre of the people” as well as “being traitors to the country.” The Shari'a judge, Sadeq Khalkhali, elaborates on the defendent's charges in his memoirs: "All the people who were sentenced to death by the Revolutionary Tribunals were the best examples of “corruptor on earth” and they were executed as such... A Corruptor on earth is a person who contributes to spreading and expanding corruption on earth. Corruption is what leads to the decline, destruction and the deviation of society from its nature. People who were executed had strived in spreading corruption and prostitution, circulating heroin, opium and licencious behavior, atheism, murder, betrayal, flattery, and, in sum, all these vile qualities. These people’s problems were aggravated by the fact that they did not repent once they saw the people’s revolution."

Evidence of guilt

No information is available regarding the evidence presented against this defendant. The report of the trial mentioned the presence of witnesses testifying in support of the prosecutors but provides no information regarding their testimony.

Based on the statements of the presiding judge regarding this execution [published in Sadeq Khalkhali's memoirs, Volume I], the defendant's association with the former regime after the year 1963 was also regarded as incriminating evidence against him:

"I believed at the time, and I still believe, that all the deputies and senators, all governors, heads of SAVAK [former regime's political police] and police, who after 1963, and the Imam's boycott [referring to the period starting with Ayatollah Khomeini's arrest and conviction following the 1963 protests against the Shah's social and political reforms], held office are all sentenced to death. Directors in ministries who were instrumental in the survival of the apparatus [Shah’s regime] and who, for getting close to the Shah and his family would accept any humiliation, are all guilty."

Defense

There is no information available on General Naji's defense.Kayhan's report of the trial, which did not mention any statement by the defendant or the other officials tried that day, noted that the accused were "bombarded with thousands of questions." There were no defense witnesses and no defense lawyers.

Judgment

The Extraordinary Tribunal found General Naji guilty of “corruption on earth” and sentenced him to death and confiscation of his belongings, “based on Islamic rules and regulations.” After reaching this verdict through the majority vote, the Court's members met with Ayatollah Khomeini, as “the enforcer of Islamic justice,” to get his confirmation on their judgment. Once the verdict was confirmed, the defendant was taken to the school courtyard [rooftop based on Ayatollah Khalkhali's memoirs], blindfolded, and “the shooting ceremony was carried out” at 11:45 the same evening.

In his Memoirs, Sadeq Khalkhali, elaborates on the verdict: "To sum up, all the people that I condemned and who were executed in the early days of the establishment of the Revolutionary Tribunals and later in the Qasr prison were all corruptors on earth and, based on the Quran, their blood was a waste."

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