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

Akbar Ghafarian Omid

About

Age: 53
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Islam (Shi'a)
Civil Status: Married

Case

Date of Execution: March 14, 1979
Location: Dezful, Khuzestan Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Shooting
Charges: Murder of persons and/or killing Muslims or/and freedom fighters; Torture
Age at time of offense: 53

Human rights violations in this case

The Legal Context

The Courts

 

Islamic Revolutionary Courts, 11 February 1979-1994

 

In the immediate aftermath of the 11 February 1979 Revolution, an ad hoc tribunal, initially referred to as the Extraordinary Revolutionary Tribunal, was set up to try the officials of the previous regime, for which no specific procedures were devised. In a decree dated 24 February 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini, the revolutionary religious leader, appointed a cleric as Shari’a Judge and instructed him “to issue Shari’a-based rulings,” thereby establishing the foundation of a system of special courts.

 

Initially, the revolutionary courts’ jurisdiction was determined by the religious judge’s interpretation of the Shari’a (Islamic law based on the teachings of the Qur’an, the traditions of the Prophet, the 12 imams, and the teachings of Shi’a scholars. On 17 June 1979, the Revolutionary Courts and the Prosecutor’s Office Rules of Procedure, which was only selectively observed, established the latter’s jurisdiction and make-up.

 

The Courts’ jurisdiction encompassed a wide array of offenses including moharebeh (“waging war with God”), efsad e fel arz (“spreading corruption on Earth”), crimes against national and international security, economic crimes, murder, profiteering, prostitution, rape, and narcotic drugs-related crimes. The law required that two of the three principal members of the Revolutionary Courts be Shari’a judges.

 

 

Islamic Revolutionary Courts, 1994-2002

 

With the adoption of the Law for the Establishment of General and Revolutionary Courts of 14 June 1994, and the Code of Criminal Procedure for General and Revolutionary Courts of 19 September 1999, a uniform code of procedure was applied to both revolutionary and general courts. The jurisdiction of the Revolutionary Courts was limited to 6 categories of offenses:

1. Crimes against national and international security,“moharebeh” (enmity with god) and “efsad e fel arz” (corruption on earth;)

2. defaming Ayatollah Khomeini and the Supreme Leader;

3. plotting against the Islamic Republic of Iran, armed action, terrorism, and sabotage;

4. espionage;

5. smuggling and drug-related crimes; 6. claims under Principle 49 (economic crimes) of the Constitution.

 6. Furthermore, pursuant to the Law on the Manner of Punishing Individuals Engaged in Unauthorized Audio and Visual Activities, Article 11, the revolutionary courts have jurisdiction over crimes that fall within the purview of said Law, including production and distribution of obscene materials and misuse and abuse thereof.

These courts continued, however, to try cases falling outside their jurisdiction, such as theft and sexual offenses. Further, the vagueness of laws regarding national security allowed the revolutionary courts to try political and media crimes whenever they wished to do so.

 

The new law eliminated the Prosecutor’s Office and gave the judges inthe Revolutionary Courts the power to perform the duties of the prosecutor, as well as their own, in any case brought before them.

 

Islamic Revolutionary Courts, 2002-Present

 

The Amended Law for the Establishment of General and Revolutionary Courts of 2002 reinstated the Prosecutor’s Office in both revolutionary and general courts. In cases involving political and media crimes, revolutionary courts’ jurisdiction overlaps with that of Province Criminal Courts.

 

With the passage of the new Rules of Criminal Procedure in 2014, and its coming into force in June 2015, the jurisdiction of the revolutionary courts remains unchanged, with slight modifications in procedural aspects of adjudication. For instance, the new law provides that for crimes subject to the death penalty, life imprisonment, amputation, third degree, or higher, the revolutionary court shall convene with three judges, whereas, prior to the passage of this law, adjudication of all crimes within the jurisdiction of revolutionary courts took place with only a single judge.

The Appellate System of Revolutionary Courts, 1979-Present

 

From their inception until 1994, the rulings of the Revolutionary Courts were not subject to appeal. In the early 1980s a court entitled the Supreme Court of Qom was established in the city of Qom and which reviewed cases of execution and confiscation of properties, thereby forming a first tier form of appeal. The exact date of the creation of the court is not clear, but, based on available information, the court became operational in the early 1980s, even though Ayatollah Khomeini's official order for its creation is dated 1985. The court’s procedure was not systematic and did not meet the international standards for a court of appeals; there was no official record of its jurisdiction. The Supreme Court of Qom was dissolved in 1989.

 

The Law of 14 June 1994 subjected the Courts’ decisions to appeal. An appellate court was established at each provincial capital, called the Province Court of Appeals, composed of a three-judge panel, to review decisions made by the Revolutionary Courts. The Supreme Court was designated as the appellate authority for particular decisions, including those involving capital punishment.

 

Narcotic drugs-related crimes constitute a significant exception to the appeals process. Governed by the Anti-Narcotic Drugs Law of 1988, as Amended on 8 November 1997 and 31 July 3 2010, these crimes are within the jurisdiction of, and are adjudicated on a regular basis by, Revolutionary Courts whose decisions are final. After being handed down by the judge, death sentences are sent to the Prosecutor General or the Head of the Supreme Court as a matter of administrative approval.

 

With the passage of the new Rules of Criminal Procedure in 2014 (and its coming into force in June 2015), however, drug related crimes became subject to appeal as well.

General Courts, 1979-1982

 

In cases not falling under the jurisdiction of the Revolutionary Courts, the system devised under the previous regime continued to function in parallel with new systems devised by laws passed by the Judicial Council, one of which, entitled The Legal Bill for the Establishment of General Courts of 11 September 1979, radically changed the entire structure and categorization of the courts. It divided the courts in three branches: Criminal, Civil, and Peace (a sort of arbitration court dealing with minor financial and other disputes). Specialized courts such as family courts were eliminated.

 

General Courts, 1982-1994

 

The Law of the Amendments to the Rules of Criminal Procedure of 1982 established a new criminal courts system, Criminal Courts I and II. Criminal Court I, established only in provincial capitals, had jurisdiction over more serious offenses, including those punishable by death, and Criminal Court II heard less serious crimes.

 

General Courts, 1994-2002

 

The Law for the Establishment of General and Revolutionary Courts of 14 June 1994 established umbrella courts called General Courts, which replaced and dissolved pre-existing civil and criminal courts. The law dissolved the Prosecutor’s offices and tasked a single person with the roles of judge, prosecutor, and investigator.

 

General Courts, 2002-2015

 

In 2002, the 1994 Law was amended, reviving the role of the Prosecutor’s Office in General Courts. The prosecution offices were re-established in a gradual process over several years. The amended law also re-established specialized branches within general courts dealing separately with criminal and civil matters. In addition, this law allocated a number of branches of the Province Court of Appeals to have original jurisdiction over a number of cases including the most serious offenses, as well as political and media crimes. In these cases, the branches are called the Province Criminal Court.

 

General Courts, 2015 to Today

 

With the passage of the new Rules of Criminal Procedure in 2014 and its coming into force in June 2015, general courts underwent certain changes as well. Criminal courts were divided into Criminal Court One, Criminal Court Two, Military Court, Juvenile Court, and Revolutionary Court. Criminal Court One has jurisdiction over serious crimes such as those subject to the death penalty, life imprisonment, amputation, third degree, and higher, as well as political and media crimes. Criminal Court Two has jurisdiction over other crimes. Another change consists of the establishment of juvenile courts, which adjudicates crimes committed by individuals less than 18 years of age. In cases where the individuals less than 18 commit serious crimes such as those subject to the death penalty, however, Criminal Court One will have jurisdiction, observing rules of juvenile criminal procedure.

 

The Appellate System of General Courts, 1979-Present

 

The Legal Bill for the Establishment of General Courts of 11 September 1979, abolished appeal of most criminal courts’ decisions. The law of 1982 restricted the appeal possibility even further. According to the Islamic Republic authorities’ interpretation of Islamic Law, a qualified jurist’s decisions were not subject to appeal except under special circumstances, such as when the judge realized his own mistake, or another judge advised him so, or when he did not have jurisdiction over the case. Even in such situations, the case would not go to a higher court but would be subject to review by the same judge or another judge at his level. The judges were even urged to call their verdicts “opinions,” so that the possible change in the verdict would not be “haram” (“sinful,” the highest level of prohibition in Islam, disobedience of which would result in a sin).

 

In October 1988, the Majles (Iranian parliament) passed a law regarding review of court judgments. This law provided for an appeal if the conviction was claimed to be based on invalid documentation or false testimony. The defendant could also base an appeal on a point of law or a procedural violation.

 

The appellate system was expanded in other laws in the late 1980s and in 1993. The Law for the Establishment of Criminal Courts I and II of 11 July 1989 created the Branches of the Supreme Court. Crimes of less importance, tried in Criminal Court II, were subject to review by Criminal Court I.

 

For the most important crimes involving death punishment, which were under the jurisdiction of Criminal Court I, the law allowed limited appeal to the Branches of the Supreme Court. Defendants had the right to petition the Supreme Court for appeal in certain cases involving false testimony or procedural violations, and if granted, the case would be remanded to either another criminal court or the original one.

 

Finally, the Law for the Establishment of General and Revolutionary Courts of 1994, as amended in 2002, established an appellate court at each provincial capital, called Province Court of Appeals, composed of a three-judge panel, to review decisions made by both general and revolutionary courts. The Supreme Court was designated as the appellate authority for particular decisions, including those carrying the death penalty, as well as decisions made by the Province Criminal Court.

 

The amended law of 2002, continued the appellate procedure to the Branches of the Supreme Court established by the afore-mentioned law of 11 July 1989

 

The Supreme Court continues to be the competent authority to rule on new trials, which have been provided for in limited circumstances.

With the passage of the new Rules of Criminal Procedure in 2014 and its coming into force in June 2015, the Court of Appeals shall be the competent authority to hear appeals from Criminal Court Two decisions, and the Supreme Court shall hear appeals from Criminal Court One decisions.

Special Courts for the Clergy

 

These courts are rooted in a 1979 decree, issued by Ayatollah Khomeini, which established a committee of religious and noble figures in every region to purge the clergy of anti-revolutionary elements under the supervision of the Revolutionary Courts. Between late 1981 and 1984, a special court in the city of Qom handled, though not systematically, the trial of clerics.

 

On 29 July 1987, Ayatollah Khomeini officially appointed a prosecutor and a member of the clergy as Shari’a judge for Special Courts for the Clergy. On 6 August 1990, a directive was issued regulating the conduct of these courts, the jurisdictional ambiguity of which is such that it effectively extends to “anyone where one of the parties is a cleric” and to “all matters in which the Court is designated as competent by the Supreme Leader.”

 

The court, which was not mentioned in the Islamic Republic's constitution, was mandated to try “pseudo clerics, those related to/connected with the clergy, for public and/or anti-revolutionary crimes, and violations of the prestige of the clergy,” and where the principal suspect is a member of the clergy, “any co-conspirator or assistant, whether a cleric or not.”

 

These courts are generally not open to the public and can issue sentences for all acts and omissions punishable under codified Iranian laws or Shari’a or for any other acts or omissions which can bring dishonor to the clergy or to the Islamic Revolution. Further, in certain particular cases – which have not been defined – where no punishment has been devised by either the Penal Code or even the Shari’a, the Court “can rule as it deems fit.” 

 

The Appellate System of the Special Court for the Clergy, 1979-Present

 

There is no information on any appeal process for the Special Court for the Clergy prior to the 1990 directive. Article 49 of said directive set up, however, an appeals court called Special Appellate Court for the Clergy, the head of which is appointed by the Supreme Leader, to which the decisions of the lower court can be appealed.

 

Military Courts

 

The military court system, independent from the judiciary under the previous regime, became a part of it on 1 December 1981. The Judiciary Organization of the Armed Forces, established in 1986, replaced and merged other military courts and tribunals in existence at the time, namely the pre-revolution Judiciary Organization of the Army, the Revolutionary Tribunal of the Army (established on 8 December 1979), and the Revolutionary and General Court for the Revolutionary Guards (established on 15 July 1979.) The Judiciary Organization of the Armed Forces has its own Criminal Code and follows the country’s general rules of criminal procedure.

 

The Law of the Criminal Procedure of the Armed Forces of 15 May 1985 created Military Courts I and II. Military Court I has jurisdiction over more serious offenses, including those punishable by death, and Military Court II hears less serious crimes.

 

The Appellate System of Military Courts, 1979-Present

 

The law of 8 December 1979, establishing the Revolutionary Military Court, did not provide for any appeals. The Law of 15 May 1985 created a system of appeals through the creation of a two-tier system of courts. The decisions of Military Court II were subject to review by Military Court I. This law also provided that multiple Branches of the Supreme Court be designated as the appellate court to review decisions of Military Court I.

 

The judges

 

1979-1997: Prosecutors and judges are not necessarily law graduates and jurists. Shortly after the Islamic Revolution, a five-member Committee was established to purge the judicial system of undesirable elements, pursuant to the Legal Bill for the Modification of the Judiciary and the Law for Hiring Judges of 8 March 1979. The power of the committee was absolute and its decisions, resulting in a widespread purge of the judiciary, final.

 

The Law for the Conditions of Selection of Judges of 4 May 1981 established the conditions of eligibility for judges. The latter were to be hired among men who were legitimate children and had practical commitment to Islam and allegiance to the Islamic Republic. The law, which led to the hiring of clerics and Islamic legal scholars, also allowed hiring practically anyone as a judge who could “obtain the Judicial High Council’s permission.” Moreover, Note 2 of the Amendments of 4 October 1982 to this law allowed widespread employment of seminary students “who ha[d] general knowledge equivalent to a high school diploma” as judges at prosecutor’s offices in general as well as Revolutionary Courts.  

 

By 1989, the judiciary counted about 2,000 new judges trained in theological seminaries (graduates and students) and political appointees, many having replaced judges trained in law schools.

 

1997-Present: As of this writing (2013) the Law for Hiring Judges and its amendments of 4 October 1982, 7 February 1987, and 9 May 1988 are in full force and form the basis for hiring judges. The Executive Rules of Procedure of 22 December 1997 subjected such hiring to passing an entrance examination and successful completion of an apprenticeship program, the duration of which ranges between one and two years. The law does not limit hiring to men only but does not specify in what capacity women will be functioning, other than an advisory one.

Currently, judges are selected in accordance with the Guidelines on the Recruitment, Selection, and Internship for Judicial Candidates and the Hiring of Judges.

 

Dismissal of Judges: From 1979 to 1989, the judiciary was run by the Supreme Judicial Council which was composed of the head of the Supreme Court, the Prosecutor General (both of whom were appointed by the Supreme Leader), and three judges elected by the entire body of judges in the country. The Council had the power to hire and dismiss judges in accordance with the law.

 

The constitutional reforms of 1989 substituted the Supreme Judicial Council with one person, the Head of the Judiciary. The Supreme Leader, whose mandate is not subject to popular vote, appoints the Head of the Judiciary for a 5-year term. The latter has significant power to influence the dismissal of judges. Dismissal cases are referred to three types of disciplinary courts, presided over by judges appointed by the Head of the Judiciary, who has veto power over any decisions made by the relevant courts.

 

Two of these courts, established in 1991 and 2011, are charged with examining the judges’ conduct from a religious and ideological standpoint. The process does not necessarily involve the defendant and the final decision, left to the Head of the Judiciary, is not subject to appeal.

 

Detentions, interrogations, and trials: 1979-1980

Pre-trial detentions

The charges upon which the accused were arraigned were often extremely broad. Defendants generally had no access to legal counsel nor to their file and the evidence against them prior to the trial.

Trials

Witnesses might be called, or the statement of persons with relevant information read into the court’s record. Accusation witnesses could come forward the day of the trial to give evidence against the accused, but in most cases, defense witnesses were not allowed in court. There was no automatic right of a defendant to cross-examine witnesses or to know the source of the evidence against him. The defendant had an opportunity to state his side of the matter and attempt to refute what was said against him, but the final decision was solely up to the discretion of the religious judge.

Appeal processes

The judgments of the Revolutionary Courts were not subject to appeal. The convicts were generally executed within a few hours of the judgment.

Human rights violations

Based on the available information, the following human rights may have been violated in this case:

  • The right to liberty and security of the person. The right not to be subjected to arbitrary arrest and detention.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Article 3; International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Article 9.1.

  • The right not to be punished for any crime on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a criminal offence, under national or international law, at the time it was committed.

UDHR, Article 11.2; ICCPR, Article 15, Article 6.2.

  • The right to equality before the law and the right to equal protection of the law.

UDHR, Article 7; ICCPR, Article 26.

The right to due process

  • The right to be presumed innocent until found guilty by a competent and impartial tribunal in accordance with law.

ICCPR, Article 14.1 and Article 14.2.

Pre-trial detention rights

  • The right to counsel of one’s own choosing or the right to legal aid. The right to communicate with one’s attorney in confidence

ICCPR, Article 14.3.b and Article 14.3.d; Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, Article 1, Article 2, Article 5, Article 6, and Article 8.

  • The right to adequate time and facilities for the preparation of the defense case.

ICCPR, Article 14.3.b.

  • The right not to be compelled to testify against oneself or to confess to guilt.

ICCPR, Article 14.3.g.

  • The right not to be subjected to torture and to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

ICCPR, Article 7; Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment and Punishment, Article 1 and Article 2.

Trial rights

  • The right to a fair and public trial without undue delay.

ICCPR, Article 14.1, Article 14.3.c.

  • The right to examine, or have examined, the witnesses against one, and the right to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on one’s behalf under the same conditions as prosecution witnesses.

ICCPR, Article 14.3.d and Article 14.3.e.

Judgment rights

  • The right to appeal to a court of higher jurisdiction.

ICCPR, Article 14.5.

  • The right to seek pardon or commutation of sentence.

ICCPR, Article 6.4.

Capital punishment
  • The inherent right to life, of which no one shall be arbitrarily deprived.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Article 3; International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Article 6.1; Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty, Article 1.1, Article 1.2.

  • The right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment.

ICCPR, Article 7; Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment and Punishment, Article 1 and Article 2.

About this Case

He was well-intentioned, kind, athletic, strong, loved his family, and gave of himself. He liked to swim, play tennis, and ride horses. He would set up equestrian facilities at every base he was transferred to

The news of Brigadier General Ghaffarian Omid’s execution was published in the Keyhan newspaper, dated 23 Esfand 1357, as well as in the report of the Amnesty International in the month of Esfand 1358. The Amnesty International published a list of the sentences that the Revolutionary Court had handed down from its beginning until the month of Mordad 1358.  The report was prepared based on the news from the Iranian and the foreign media, as well as the official Pars News Agency.  Completing the information about this file is based on Abolrahman Boroumand Foundation interviews with people informed about this matter,  the electronic report sent by one of Brigadier General Ghaffarian Omid’s acquaintances to the Boroumand Foundation on 4thof Bahman 1395, additional research and interviews by Boroumand Foundation, as well as the reports of the following newspapers and media: Ayandegan, 30 Dey 1357, Keyhan 28 dey, 5, and 8 Bahman, 3, 9, 10, 12, and 23 Esfand 1357; Ettela’aat 28 Dey, 5 Bahman, 23 and 26 Esfand 1357, Islam Times site, 27 Dey 1394 and Dana New Agency site, 26 Aban 1392.

Brigadier General Akbar Ghaffarian Omid, son of Mossayeb, was married and had four children. A Shiite Moslem, he was born on 4 Khordad 1304. He was a graduate of the Military Academy and had reached the level of Brigadier General in the Imperial Army.  He was the Commander of the Armed Battalion 2 of the city of Dezful.  His resume included having served as a support for the Commander of the Armed Brigade 2 for the city of Ahvaz and having served in the Armored Center of the city of Shiraz. An acquaintance of his is quoted as having characterized Brigadier General as altruistic, athletic, kind, family man, selfless, and authoritative.  He was interested in riding, swimming, and tennis.  Whenever he was transferred to a new garrison, he would build stables and riding arenas.  He not only encouraged his own family, but he also encouraged the family members of other military personnel to be active and participate in sports (per Boroumand Foundation interview with a knowledgeable individual). 

Brigadier General Ghaffarian Omid’s file is a part of the wave of executions that took place in the cities of Dezful and Andimeshk during the first months following the success of the ’57 (1978) revolution and the events of the 27 Dey of 1357.

Background

The day after the departure of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi from Iran, on 26 Dey 1357, several skirmishes took place between some army officials and the revolutionaries in some cities, including Dezful. There are conflicting reports about these events and the number of people killed.  According to the information available, Brigadier General Ghaffarian Omid, the Commander of the Armed Brigade 2 of Dezful, ordered the removal of the statues of the Shah to prevent gatherings of the crowd (Islam Times, 27 Dey 1394, and Keyhan, 28 Dey 1357).  In the afternoon of the following Wednesday, the Police Department declared that it is no longer responsible for the safety and security of the city.  This announcement lead to the decision by some young revolutionaries to subdivide the city into several areas for maintaining local security (Islam Times. 27 Dey 1394).  The news of events in Ahvaz, including the presence of the army, along with some civilians armed with tanks, guns, and machine guns in the city, as well as the news of pillage and setting some businesses on fire, along with killing of people, reached Dezful.  Using the loud speakers in the mosques, it was broadcasted that Dezful should probably brace itself for similar events and the citizens need to be on alert (Islam Times, 27 Dey 1394).  Several skirmishes started in the afternoon of the same day.

The Public Relations Department of the Joint Chiefs of Staff issued a statement announcing “some protestors gathered around the barracks and caused disturbances with throwing stones and chanting slogans”.  Some of the protestors attacked the wife of a senior military personnel and disrespecting her, tore her clothes to pieces.  This violent act enraged the young military personnel.  They left the barracks and started fighting the crowd, resulting in the death of six and injury to 20 people (Pars News Agency 27 Dey 1357).  According to another report, “Some people from Dezful told the representative of Ettela’at newspaper that no one had gathered around the barracks and there were no slogans against the soldiers” (Ettela’at, 1 Bahman 1357); whereas “some military personnel in the military’s Dodge cars, attacked shops in Dezful streets.  They were carrying large bats and were breaking shop windows” (Ayandegan, 30 Dey 1357).  According to another report, military tanks and personnel carriers attacked the people of Dezful on 27 Dey.  This report further asserts that there was a conflict among the military personnel and some of them, along with some civilians, attacked people with machine guns, chanting pro Shah and Anti Khomeini slogans. Furthermore, they attacked shops, cars, and homes, setting them on fire.  This attack lasted nine hours, and during this time, 10 people were killed and 30 were wounded.  (Keyhan, 30 Dey 1357).

Following the foregoing events, the governor of the Khuzestan Province was called to Teheran.  (Boroumand Foundation research).  The Prime Minister’s office sent a special group to Ahvaz with a private plane.  They visited many sites in the city and interviewed various groups, specially the merchant class.  (Ayandegan, 30 Dey 1357).  Ayatollah Taleghani also sent an investigating group to Dezful.  There is no report available from this group’s findings.

Following the Dezful incidents, a group representing Ayatollah Taleghani and Dr. Sanjabi came to this city.  The revolutionaries had posted the names of some instigators of these events on the city walls, but the officials did not confirm the veracity of these accusations.  (Ettela’at, 3 and 5 Bahman 1357).  Based on these unconfirmed accusations, the Revolutionary forces arrested 50 of the high-ranking Officers of the Armored Brigade 2 of Dezful, accusing them of participating in the events of 27 Dey in Dezful. (Ettela’at, 10 Esfand 1357)

Arrest and detention

According to a person familiar with the case, Brigadier General Ghafarian Omid presented himself, as the Commander of the Second Armed Battalion of Dezful to the group of “Neighborhood Trustees”, who oversaw arrests.

According to the available information, approximately one week after his arrest, Brigadier General Ghaffarian Omid was transferred to a private house, which had been designated as the detention center for the military personnel and was kept there for approximately two to three weeks.  During this time, he had some visits from his wife. (Boroumand Foundation interview with a knowledgeable source).  He was interrogated by the Revolutionary Judicial Committee of Dezful and the Revolutionary Operations Unit to collect documents for his trial. (Keyhan, 12 Esfand 1357).  His interrogation was conducted by the Judicial Committee of the City Revolution and the Operations Arm of the Revolution.   

Trial

On 21 and 22 Esfand 1357, Brigadier General Ghaffarian Omid and a group of detainees were put on trial in the Islamic Revolutionary Court. (Keyhan, 23 Esfand 1357).  There is no information available about the court proceeding(s). 

Charges

Charges brought against Mr. Ghaffarian Omid were declared to be “torture and murder”.  He was accused of instigating his subordinates against people following the Shah’s departure, resulting in the events of 27 Dey in Dezful and Andimeshk, causing “death of innocent people and pillaging of and setting fire to the homes and businesses”. (Keyhan, 23 Esfnad 1357).  He was also accused of “the 28 Dey killings in Dezful and cooperating with Lieutenant General Boghrat Djafarian, the former governor of Khuzestan, to conduct a coup-d’état in that province”’. (Ettelaat, 27 Esfand 1357).

Given the conditions of no respect for the trial procedures and the fact that the accused are deprived of a just trial, there is no way to ascertain the veracity and accuracy of these accusations.

Evidence of guilt

According to the existing reports, the death of six people, injury of the 20, and the damages to homes and businesses have been presented as proof against Brigadier General Ghaffarian Omid. (Ettela’at, 28 Dey 1537), even though the names of the dead, the place and the dates of the killings, are unclear in the reports.

Defense

According to the available information, Brigadier General Ghaffarian was not permitted defense in the court (electronic form sent to Boroumand Foundation), but an informed source says the accusation against him are not valid.  This informed source further remembers that after the Shah’s departure from Iran, some officers, including some junior officers and their wives, who were loyal to the King, came out in the streets with some tanks.  The eyewitness continues that the wives of these officers were chanting “If you are scared General, come out and we’ll give you a Chador (veil) to hide and run”.  General Ghffarian tried to stop them by standing in front of the tanks.  He failed.  The tanks proceeded and demolished some parked cars and some shops.  A friend and a colleague of the General advised him to leave for Teheran, but he said that “I have done nothing wrong and there is no reason for me to leave”.(Boroumand interview with a person familiar with the case).  Furthermore, according to published reports, following the Shah’s departure, on the night of 26 Dey 1394, Brigadier General Ghaffarian ordered removal of the Shah’s statues throughout the city (Islam Times, 27 Dey 1394).  The court paid no attention to this piece of defense. 

Brigadier General Ghaffarian, trying to protect the lives of his subordinates, assumed all their responsibilities. (interview with a knowledgeable source).

Judgment

The Revolutionary Court of Dezful, on 22 Esfand 1357, after several hours of deliberations, sentenced Brigadier General Ghaffarian to death.  His wife, who had left Teheran for Dezful to be with him, was not granted a visit.  The following day, on 23 Esfand, at 8 o’clock in the morning, he was executed by firing squad.  His body was delivered to his family and transferred first to Teheran, and then to Mashhad to be buried in the Khajeh Rabi’ cemetery.

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