Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

https://www.iranrights.org
Omid, a memorial in defense of human rights in Iran
One Person’s Story

Hossein Rastegar Namdar

About

Age: 66
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Baha'i
Civil Status: Married

Case

Date of Killing: August 5, 1981
Location of Killing: Tehran, Tehran Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Unspecified execution method
Charges: Religious offense

About this Case

Information about Mr. Hossein Rastegar Namdar, son of Mirza Masih Taleqani, was sent to Boroumand Foundation (ABF) via two electronic forms by people who knew him. 

Mr. Rastegar is also 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 persecutions of the members of the faith in the Islamic Republic of Iran and lists the Baha’is killed since 1978. Further information has been drawn from various issues of the World Baha’i volumes. 

Additional information about Mr. Rastegar was taken from a facebook page named “memoirs of a Baha’i prisoner” and from the Vaselan website. 

Mr. Rastegar Namdar, a husband and father of two, was born in 1916. He was a proficient speaker and writer who loved art. He graduated from the military college as a Lieutenant and obtained his law degree from Tehran University. Mr. Rastegar was a lieutenant general of the ground forces and commander of the logistical forces of the military during the last years of his service. 

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

"Baha'i is not a religion; it is a political party. It is a party that was initially supported by the British and is now supported by America. They [the Baha'is] are spies … .”

Ayatollah Khomeini, Founder of the Islamic Republic (1) 

“The Qur’an recognized only the People of the Book as religious communities. Others are pagans. Pagans must be eliminated.”

Seyed Moussavi-Tabrizi, Iranian Attorney General (2) 

“ … [T]he punishment for a Mortad-e Fetri [an apostate who was born in a Muslim family] is death, and his repentance is not accepted.”

Ayatollah Guilani, head of the Islamic Republic Revolutionary Courts (3) 

Authorities of the Islamic Republic have subjected the members of the Baha'i religious community of Iran (the largest minority, with approximately three hundred thousand members) 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. * 

Arrest and detention 

Mr. Rastegar Namdar was arrested in September 1980 and spent 11 months in detention. No further details are available on his arrest and detention. 

Trial 

There is no specific information on the defendant’s trial. 

Charges 

The charge against Mr. Rastegar was his belief in Baha’i religion.     

Evidence of guilt

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

Defense

No information is available on Mr. Rastegar Namdar's defense.    

However, the representatives of the Baha'i community stress that their members are being persecuted for their religious beliefs. They note that Baha'is' requests to access their files are usually denied and that, even though they are allowed to avail themselves of the services of a defense counsel since the mid-1990s, attorneys are often under pressure not to accept Baha'i clients. 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. They believe that the accusation of espionage for Israel is unfounded and based solely on the fact that the Baha'i World Centre is in Israel. They point out that this center was established on Mount Carmel in the late 19thcentury, long before the establishment of the State of Israel. 

Judgment

The sentence was issued on August 5, 1981, by a religious judge. According to one of his cellmates, knowing nothing about his sentence, Mr. Rastegar was watching T.V. with his cellmates at 6 p.m. on August 5, when he heard the news of his execution on TV.  Hearing the news, he said goodbye to his friends and said, “All right, I have so far been neither Rastegar (had no salvation) nor Namdar (well-known), but just became both.” Mr. Rastegar’s body was delivered to his cousin’s wife and buried in the Golestan Javid (Baha’i cemetery) in Tehran.

----------------------------------------  

*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. 

Banishment from public functions has seriously damaged the Baha’is’ professional, economic, and social lives. Soon after the revolution, a Ministry of Labor directive called for the dismissal from public office and all governmental organizations and associations those "who belong to any of the misguided sects recognized by all Muslims as heretical deviations from Islam, or to organizations whose doctrine and constitution are based on rejection of the divinely-revealed religions." Finally the mandatory requirement of specifying religion in application forms and official documents (lifted recently in some areas under international pressure) has seriously limited Baha'is' freedoms and opportunities in all areas of their lives, including divorce, inheritance, access to universities, and travel. 

In practice, since 1980, thousands of Baha'is have lost their jobs, pensions, businesses, properties, and educational opportunities. By banning the Baha'i organization, an elected spiritual body that administers the affairs of the faith at both local and national levels, the Islamic Republic has denied Baha'is the right to meet, elect, and operate their religious institutions. Further, the Iranian government has executed at least 200 Baha'is and has imprisoned, tortured, and pressured to convert to Islam scores more.  

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 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."  

_______________________

(1) Speech of Khomeini, 7 khordad 1362, Sahife-ye Emam, Volume 17

(2) Iran, Secret Blue Print for the Destruction of a Religious Community, p. 27).

(3) Kayhan, October 19, 1981 

Correct/ Complete This Entry