Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Kamran Lotfi


Age: 32
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Baha'i
Civil Status: Married


Date of Killing: April 9, 1984
Location of Killing: Evin Prison, Tehran, Tehran Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Unspecified execution method
Charges: Religious offense

About this Case

A committed husband and parent, he assisted other families of Tehran’s Baha’i community. His sense of humor showed through in his engineering classes and in the classes he organized for children.


The information about the execution of Mr. Kamran Lotfi (also spelled "Lutfi") was provided to the Boroumand Foundation by a relative and a friend through electronic forms and e-mail. Mr. Lotfi is one of the 206 Iranian Baha’is listed in a 1999 report published by the Baha’i International Community. The report, Iran’s Secret Blueprint for the Destruction of a Religious Community, documents the persecution of the members of the Faith in the Islamic Republic of Iran and lists the Baha’is killed since 1978. Additional information has been drawn from various issues of the The Baha’i World. See for example: Vol. XIX, 1982-1986, Haifa 1994.

Mr. Lotfi is remembered by a friend on the website Iranian.com (9 April 2008) and he is among the 282 individuals listed in a United Nations Report on The Situation of Human Right in the Islamic Republic of Iran (Note by the Secretary General), published on 13 November 1985. The report lists these individuals as "Persons who were allegedly summarily and arbitrarily executed in the Islamic Republic of Iran: 1984-1985."

Mr. Lotfi, a mechanical engineer and father of a two-year old, was an active member of the Baha’i community in Tehran, organized children’s classes, and assisted, through the local committee (lajneh mahali), community members in their domestic and financial problems. Mr. Lotfi had graduated from the Tabriz University in 1976 and was a professor at the Semnan College of Technology before being dismissed in 1982 (Baha’I World). He is remembered as a dedicated father and husband and a kind friend and cellmate. He is also remembered for his great sense of humor, courage, and strong belief in his religion.

The Baha’is in the Islamic Republic of Iran: Background

The authorities of the Islamic Republic have subjected the members of the Baha'i religious community of Iran - the largest religious minority, with approximately 300 thousand members in 1979(1)- to systematic harassment and persecution, depriving them of their most fundamental human rights. The Baha'i religion is not recognized under the Constitution of the Islamic Republic, and Iranian authorities refer to it as a heresy. As a result, the Baha'is have been denied the rights associated with the status of a religious minority; they cannot profess and practice their faith, and are banned from public functions. Discrimination under the law and in practice has subjected them to abuse and violence.(2)

Persecution of Baha’is in Iran is not specific to the time of the Islamic Republic but it was in this era that it was amplified and institutionalized. During the Revolution itself, supporters of Ayatollah Khomeini attacked Baha’i homes and businesses and in certain instances, even committed murder.

On the eve of his return from France to Iran, in response to a question regarding political and religious freedom of Baha’is under the rule of an Islamic government, Ayatollah Khomeini stated: “They are a political party; they are harmful and detrimental. They will not be acceptable.” The interviewer asked another question: “Will they be free to perform their religious rites?” The Ayatollah responded: “No.” Khomeini had previously “spoken of the Baha’i threat to the Shah’s regime, Islam, national unity, and national security” in various speeches. (Asoo website, October 6, 2015).

Arrest and detention

Based on the available information, Mr. Lotfi was arrested in a friend and fellow committee member’s house in June 1983. After the arrest of two fellow committee members, Mr. Lotfi, who was concerned about his friend, had gone to check on him. The revolutionary guards were already in his friend’s house and arrested Mr. Lotfi as well. They then took him back to his own home and, after ransacking the entire house and looking through books and pictures, they took Mr. Lotfi to an awaiting car. Mr. Lotfi was forced to carry, on his back, his personal items and the books that were confiscated. He was not allowed to say goodbye to his family.

A cellmate who was later released reported that Mr. Lotfi and other Baha’is arrested that night spent the night blindfolded in the hallways of Evin Prison, where they were verbally abused by the guards. . He also reported that during his detention, Mr. Lotfi was tortured, interrogated and beaten repeatedly. He was pressured by the prison authorities to recant his faith. Mr. Lotfi’s family’s did not have any information about his whereabouts for three months, after which they were allowed to visit him once a month in a room through a paned window. During their first visit, they noticed that Mr. Lotfi’s front teeth were broken. Children were separated from their parents and were lined-up to go visit the prisoners. Mr. Lotfi’s now 3 year-old son was crying and so traumatized by the fact that he was pulled away from his mother that Mr. Lotfi asked his family not to bring him anymore.

In January 1984, the visitation stopped and he was transferred to another prison. He was kept in solitary confinement most of his last months in prison, allowed no contact with the outside world. The family learned that he was transferred to a prison in a suburb of Tehran (Karaj) called Asayeshgah but were not able to get any information. They were only allowed to send money for Mr. Lotfi through a guard and to get a receipt signed by him. A few days before his execution, he was returned to Evin. His cellmate reported that Mr. Lotfi was beaten so badly that he was not recognizable and could barely walk. Mr. Lotfi reportedly told him that authorities planned to have him and the rest of the Baha’is recant their faith in front of TV cameras and broadcast their recantation to the public. Mr. Lotfi’s family was not allowed visitation again but, before his execution, the authorities allowed him to call his wife and talk to her.


There is no specific information on the defendant’s trial. Mr. Lotfi had no access to an attorney.


Based on the available information, the charge against the defendant was his belief in the Baha’i religion.

Because of the unanimous international condemnation of the persecution of this quietist (apolitical) religious community, Iranian authorities do not always admit that the Baha'is are being punished for their religious beliefs. Therefore, judicial authorities have often wrongfully charged Baha'is with offenses such as "being involved in counter-revolutionary activities," "having supported the former regime," "being agents of Zionism," or "being involved with prostitution, adultery, and immorality."

Evidence of guilt

No information is available on the evidence presented against the defendant.


No information is available on Mr. Lotfi’s defense.

The representatives of the Baha'i community stress that their members are being persecuted for their religious beliefs. They refute the validity of charges such as counter-revolutionary political activities or spying leveled against them in Iranian courts. They point out that the fundamental principles of their religion require them to show loyalty and obedience to their government and refrain from any political involvement.


Mr. Lotfi was sentenced to death and executed. The authorities did not return the body to the family and did not inform them of the place of burial. They returned some of his personal items and his will, which had parts crossed off. The family learned that he was buried in an unmarked grave in the cemetery reserved for Baha’is but they were not allowed to go near the burial site.


1- ‘Slow Death for Iran’s Baha’is’ by Richard N. Ostling, Time Magazine,20 February 1984. Also see ‘The Persecution of the Baha’is of Iran, 1844-1984, by Douglas Martin, Baha’i Studies,volume 12/13, 1984, p. 3. There is no information about the current number of Baha’is in Iran.
2- The Islamic Republic Penal Code grants no rights to Baha'is, and the courts have denied them the right to redress or to protection against assault, murder, and other forms of persecution and abuse. In so doing, the courts have treated Baha'is as unprotected citizens or "apostates," citing eminent religious authorities whose edicts are considered to be a source of law equal to acts of Parliament. The Founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khomeini, made execution a punishment for the crime of apostasy and decreed that a Muslim would not be punished for killing an apostate. 

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