Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Monir Taheri


Nationality: Iran
Religion: Islam (Shi'a)
Civil Status: Married


Date of Killing: February 23, 1979
Location of Killing: Rudsar, Gilan Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Shooting
Charges: Murder of persons and/or killing Muslims or/and freedom fighters; Fighting against the revolution/blocking the path of God; Corruption on earth

About this Case

Captain Taheri’s family, in Rasht, insisted he had never been to Abadan.  The Cinema Rex case, however, demanded a final resolution and verdicts.

Captain Monir Taheri 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 was also reported in Kayhan as well as by the Ayandegan daily (February 24, 1979), which published a letter by the family of Captain Taheri on February 25. The letter questioned the validity of the charges against him, as reported by Seda va Sima (the Iranian Radio and Television), and called on the authorities to investigate his execution and clear his name.

The Cinema Rex arson, referred to below, during which an estimated 377 people burned alive, took place on August 19, 1978 in the city of Abadan. At the time, the authorities attributed the arson to anti-regime religious activists, while the opposition blamed the political police, SAVAK, for setting the Cinema on fire to discredit the Islamist militants.

During the year following the February 1979 Revolution, the Cinema Rex case became a source of tension in Abadan between authorities and victims’ families. The latter accused the revolutionary authorities of hampering the investigation, protecting those responsible, and covering up the truth. The authorities invoked the successive resignations of those in charge of investigating the case to justify the delay in bringing those responsible to justice. In August 1980, a religious judge was sent to Abadan to hold a trial, following an active campaign, including a 4½ month sit-in by some victims’ families in a public office (April to August 1980), in favor of a serious investigation by a special prosecutor and a public trial. The sit-in was forcefully disbanded by the revolutionary guards before the start of the trial.

Twenty-six people, including the only survivor of the four-man team that set the movie theater on fire, were put on trial from August 25 to September 4, 1980. The trial lasted 17 sessions, following which Hossein Takb'alizadeh, the arsonist, and 5 other individuals were executed in public. Excerpts of statements by the prosecutor, the religious judge, witnesses, and a number of defendants were published in the press (See Kayhan and Jomhuri Eslami, August 26 to September 5, 1980).

Arrest and detention

Based on the Kayhan report, the defendant was arrested in the town of Mianeh (East Azarbaijan province) two days prior to his trial by the Revolutionary Committee, which transferred him to Rudsar (Gilan province) and called on the prosecutor’s office to investigate him.


Captain Taheri was tried by the Revolutionary Tribunal of Rudsar. The trial took place some time during the 48 hours following his arrest. No other details are available.


Based on the available information from the press, the defendant had been accused of "martyring 3 people in Rudsar"; "receiving guerrilla training in the United States"; "involvement in Abadan's Rex Cinema fire"; "receiving a Medal of Honor"; and "involvement in the torture of political prisoners in Mashhad and Shiraz."

Evidence of guilt

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


Based on the Kayhan report, the defendant denied having been involved in Abadan’s Rex Cinema fire and stressed the fact that he was in Ahvaz at the time. He also insisted that there were witnesses willing to testify in his favor. Regarding his actions as a police officer in Rudsar, he reportedly admitted guilt but noted that he was getting orders from the head of Rudsar Police.

The day after Captain Taheri’s execution, his family asserted his innocence in an open letter published in the press and called on his fellow officers to come forward and testify. The letter refuted the charge related to the Cinema Rex fire, noting that Captain Taheri had never been in Abadan and that there are documents proving that, at that time, he was on vacation elsewhere. The Medal of Honor, it insisted, was given to him prior to the Rex Cinema fire.

The letter also refuted the allegation regarding the defendant's guerrlla training in the U.S. and referred to the fact that he had never traveled outside Iran. His life, it noted, after finishing high school in Mashhad is documented day-by-day, as follows:  Military college in Tehran (3 years); Police Academy training (6 months training as traffic police); and service in Mashhad, Ahvaz, Semnan, and Rudsar. Further, the letter rejected the validity of the accusation of torture in Shiraz and Mashhad. It pointed to the fact that the defendant had never served in, nor been to, Shiraz and had served outside as a traffic policeman in Mashhad, his hometown, where he was well-known. It urged any political prisoners tortured by Captain Taheri to come forward and testify.

With regard to the charge of killing 3 people in Rudsar, the defendant's family asserted that their own investigation regarding the death of the 3 martyrs showed that in each case there were clashes between security forces and demonstrators, during which there was a shoot-out between armed demonstrators and police and police forces. In one instance, a police car was attacked by demonstrators, and the police officers, including Captain Taheri, were wounded and treated in Rudsar’s Shir va Khorshid hospital. In another instance, demonstrators set on fire a policeman’s house and shot at his family. The person killed in that instance was shot in the leg. He was killed when stomped on by the crowd. Finally, stressing the fact that Captain Taheri was always under the orders of his superiors in Rudsar, they urged members of the security forces to come forward and testify.

With regard to the Cinema Rex fire, additional information was published by the press covering the August 1980 public trial in Abadan. There is no mention of Captain Taheri during the proceedings and in the statements of the defendants and those of the judicial authorities investigating the case. Further, in his defense statement, the principal defendant admitted to having started the fire along with three other religious activists and denied having had connections with the former regime’s security apparatus.


Captain Taheri was convicted by the Revolutionary Tribunal of Rudsar and sentenced to death for “Murder” and “blocking the path of God.” He reportedly requested the Tribunal to allow him to order the firing squad himself, to make sure that his execution is not photographed, and to return his body to his family. The sentence was carried out before the Representative of Ayatollah Khomeini, the head of Rudsar’s Revolutionary Committee, and families of the martyrs.

The next day, Kayhan published a photograph of Captain Taheri's body after the execution, stating that the authorities respected his will and returned his body to his family in Rasht.

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