Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Leila Motevasel


Age: 21
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Islam (Shi'a)
Civil Status: Single


Date of Killing: December 17, 1982
Location of Killing: Shiraz, Fars Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Shooting
Charges: Unspecified counter-revolutionary offense

About this Case

Ms.Leila Motevasel  (Mojahedin Khalq Iran) is one of the 12028 individuals listed in an addendum to the Mojahed magazine (No 261), published by Mojahedin Khalq Organization in 1985. The list includes individuals, affiliated with various opposition groups, who were executed or killed during clashes with the Islamic Republic security forces from June 1981 to the publication date of the magazine.

Further information about Ms. Motevasel is taken from the Mojahedin Khalq Organization’s website. She was born in Shiraz. She was a university student, a sympathizer of the MKO, and a member of its Resistance Unit in Shiraz.

Arrest and detention

There is no specific information on the defendant’s arrest and detention. According to the MKO website, Ms. Motevasel was probably arrested after the June 20, 1981 demonstrations. She was detained for about a year in both the Adelabad and Shiraz prisons.

The demonstration of June 20, 1981, was protesting the parliament's impeachment of President Banisadr and the Islamic Republic's systematic policy of excluding the Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) from politics, as well as Ayatollah Khomeini’s refusal to meet with MKO leaders and his desire to neutralize their power. Until that time, the MKO had supported the leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini and agreed to function within the framework of the new political system. However, on June 20th, 1981, MKO officially changed its policy and tried to overthrow the regime by organizing mass demonstrations throughout the country. These demonstrations were severely suppressed and resulted in the killing of dozens of demonstrators. Afterwards there was a wave of mass arrests and executions by the Revolutionary Guards and paramilitary forces targeting not only the MKO, but all other opposition groups as well. The massive repression was unprecedented in the history of the Islamic Republic. It legitimized the months-old state harassment and suppression of dissidents. The result was the prohibition of all forms of independent political dissent.


No information is available on the defendant’s trial. According to the website of the Mojahedin, Ms. Motevasel told one of her cellmates that a court had condemned her to three years imprisonment after her arrest; but they started to interrogate her again. No information is available about whether she had another trial or not.


No information is available on Ms. Motevasel’s charges.

Evidence of guilt

The report of this execution contains no evidence provided against the defendant.


No information is available on Ms. Motevasel's defense.


No specific information is available about this execution. According to the MKO website, Ms. Motevasel was executed by a firing squad in the Shiraz Prison on December 17, 1982.


*The exclusion of MKO members from government offices and the closure of their centers and publishing houses, in conjunction with to the Islamic Republic authorities’ different interpretation of Islam, widened the gap between the two. Authorities of the new regime referred to the Mojahedin as “Hypocrites” and the Hezbollahi supporters of the regime attacked the Mojahedin sympathizers regularly during demonstrations and while distributing publications, leading to the death of several MKO supporters. On June 20, 1981, the MKO called for a demonstration protesting their treatment by governmental officials and the government officials’ efforts to impeach their ally, President Abolhassan Banisadr. Despite the fact that the regime called this demonstration illegal, thousands came to the streets, some of whom confronted the Revolutionary Guardsmen and Hezbollahis. The number of casualties that resulted from this demonstration is unknown but a large number of demonstrators were arrested and executed in the following days and weeks. The day after the demonstration, the Islamic Republic regime started a repressive campaign – unprecedented in modern Iranian history. Thousands of MKO members and sympathizers were arrested or executed. On June 21, 1981, the MKO announced an armed struggle against the Islamic Republic and assassinated a number of high-ranking officials and supporters of the Islamic regime.

In the summer of 1981, the leader of the MKO and the impeached President (Banisadr) fled Iran to reside in France, where they founded the National Council of Resistance. After the MKO leaders and many of its members were expelled from France, they went to Iraq and founded the National Liberation Army of Iran in 1987, which entered Iranian territory a few times during the Iran-Iraq war. They were defeated in July 1988 during their last operation, the Forugh Javidan Operation. A few days after this operation, thousands of imprisoned Mojahedin supporters were killed during the mass executions of political prisoners in 1988. Ever since the summer of 1981, the MKO has continued its activities outside of Iran. No information is available regarding members and activities of the MKO inside the country.

In spite of the “armed struggle” announcement by the MKO on June 20, 1981, many sympathizers of the organization had no military training, were not armed, and did not participate in armed conflict.

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