Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Hassan Pakravan


Age: 68
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Married


Date of Killing: April 11, 1979
Location of Killing: Qasr Prison, Tehran, Tehran Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Shooting
Charges: Treason; Corruption on earth

About this Case

General Pakravan’s bookshelves featured philosophy and history.  His own contributions to history were notable, as well.  In 1963 he pleaded against the execution of Khomeini.

Lt. General Hassan Pakravan 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. Mr. Pakravan, is also one of 10 defendents mentioned in the Memoirs of Ayatollah Khalkhali, the first post-revolution religious judge and head of the Islamic Revolutionary tribunal. In its April 11th, 1979 issue, the newspaper Kayhan published a report on the trial of General Pakravan. Mr. Pakravan's Daughter, Saideh, provided Omid with additional information regarding his biography and his trial.

Background Information

As a high ranking security official, General Pakravan was familiar with the case of Ayatollah Khomeini before the revolution. According to Mr. Pakravan's daughter : "Hassan Pakravan was Head of Security during the riots of 1963 that were fomented by the mullahs against the Shah’s White Revolution. He had Khomeini, a hodjat-ol-eslam at the time, arrested but when the military recommended a quick trial which would lead to his execution for treason, General Pakravan personally intervened and threatened to resign. The Shah, caught between conflicting advice, asked Pakravan to find a way to save Khomeini’s life. Pakravan sought the guidance of men familiar with religious matters and came back to the Shah with the solution: If Khomeini were elevated to the rank of Ayatollah, he would become untouchable. The Shah agreed to the plan. Pakravan immediately went to Seyyed Jalal Tehrani and to the Ayatollah Shariat Madari’s residence in Qom (both men were marja’e taqlid or “source of emulation”) and obtained from them that they pronounce the formula that made Khomeini an ayatollah. The cleric’s life was thus spared. Some time later, he was sent into exile, first to Turkey and then to Iraq."

Arrest and detention

According to the defendent's daughter, Mr. Pakaravan was arrested on February 16th, 1979, four days after the fall of the former regime. After his arrest by revolutionary guards, "his personal library, which numbered thousands of books with a particular focus on history and philosophy, and his unique collection of travel memoirs of Europeans to Iran that went as far back as the sixteenth century, were looted along with the rest of his possessions." .


According to the newspaper Kayhan and the defendant's relative, the trial took place in the early hours of April 11th, 1979. It, reportedly lasted 15 minutes. There was no appeal.


Mr. Pakravan was charged with "treason" and "corruption on earth".

In his memoirs, the judge who tried Mr. Pakravan explained the meaning of "corruption on earth" in the following terms :

"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."

The validity of the criminal charges brought against this defendant cannot be ascertained in the absence of the basic guarantees of a fair trial.

Evidence of guilt

No information is available on the evidence presented against Lt. General Pakravan.


The defendant was not allowed to hire a lawyer. According to Saideh Pakravan : "he pleaded no extenuating circumstance of any kind and made no attempt to shift the blame from himself to the system. Quite the opposite, he manfully said that any action he had undertaken in his official functions was his responsibility and his alone." The defendent reportedly asked the judge about the meaning of the term corruption on earth of which he was accused. "The judge, not realizing that he was invited into a etymological and philosophical discussion, cursorily replied that corruption of earth was what Pakravan had been guilty of."


Tehran' Islamic Revolutionary Tribunal found Mr. Pakravan guilty of "treason" and "Corruption on earth". According to his daughter : "At a quarter to two in the morning, Pakravan was taken out to the yard of the prison and executed summarily by a direct shot through the heart from a semi-automatic and another shot through the neck after he fell.

Although there are many documented instances of family members of condemned officials visiting them a few hours before their execution, in the case of Pakravan, his son, the only family member still in Iran, was not allowed to see him.

His daughter reminisces: "General Pakravan’s body laid in the morgue for five days, as his family had been warned that the graves of officials of the former regime were often desecrated and the bodies pulled out. This brave officer and remarkable human being was finally buried under an assumed name."

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