Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Qamar Azkia


Age: 22
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Islam
Civil Status: Single


Date of Killing: August, 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

Ms. Mina (Qamar) Azkia is among 3208 members and sympathizers of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO, also 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. Her name is also mentioned in an article by Ms. Mina Entezari about the victims of the 1988 mass executions. Additional information has been drawn from two electronic forms sent to Omid by a relative and a former cellmate and colleague.

Ms. Azkia was librarian at the Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults. Her brother, Dr. Azkia, was a prominent professor and reseacher of social sciences in Tehran University. Ms. Azkia was a sympathizer of the MKO (electronic forms).

Arrest and detention

Ms. Azkia had been arrested by the Prosecutor’s Office of Evin; she was interrogated in the same prison. No further detail is available regarding her arrest. She was imprisoned in ward 3 of the “sanatorium” in Evin from 1987 to the summer of 1988. (The “sanatorium” was a section where conditions were particularly difficult in order to “punish” the prisoners.) Ms. Azkia was an independent woman and would not follow others without question. She did not have good health and was mostly sick (electronic form).


Ms. Azkia was tried and condemned to imprisonment. Specific details on the circumstances of the trials that led to the execution of Ms. Azkia and thousands of other individuals in 1988 are not known. According to existing information, there was no official trial with the presence of an attorney and prosecutor. Those who were executed in 1988 were sent to a three-man committee consisting of a religious judge, a representative from the Intelligence Ministry, and a Public Prosecutor of Tehran. This committee asked the leftist prisoners some questions about their beliefs and whether or not they believed in God.

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 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 when they were retried and sentenced to death.


No charge has been publicly leveled against the victims of the 1988 mass executions. 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, Ayatollah Khomeini, 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 members of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization 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.


No information is available on Ms. Azkia’s defense. In their open letter, the families of the prisoners noted that defendants were not given the opportunity to defend themselves in court. The same letter, rebutting the accusation that these prisoners (from inside the prison) had collaborated with armed members of the Mojahedin Organization in clashes with armed forces of the Islamic Republic, states that such claims “are false considering the circumstances in prisons; for our children faced most difficult conditions [in prison, with] visitation rights of once every 15 days, each visitation lasting ten minutes through a telephone from behind the glass window, and were deprived of any connection with the outside world. We faced such conditions for seven years, which proves the truth of our claim.”


In July/August 1988, Ms Qamar Azkia was called from ward 3 of the “sanatorium” along with other sympathizers of the MKO. None of them returned to the ward. After some time, the prison guards came and took her clothes. No public execution sentence has been issued for the victims of the 1988 mass execution. Months after the executions, prison authorities informed the families about the executions and handed in the victims’ belongings to their families. The bodies, however, were not returned to them. The bodies were buried in mass graves. Authorities warned the families of prisoners against holding memorial ceremonies.

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