Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Soraya Abolfathi


Age: 20
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Islam (Shi'a)
Civil Status: Married


Date of Killing: September 24, 1981
Location of Killing: Tabriz, Azarbaijan-e Sharqi Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Shooting
Charges: Sympathizing with anti-regime guerilla groups; Sedition and/ or threat to public security; Plotting to overthrow the Islamic Republic; Participating in an anti-regime demonstration; Living in safe houses; Counter revolutionary opinion and/or speech

About this Case

Soraya Abolfathi was a Tabriz University student who became an MKO sympathizer:  coordinating publications, security and planning, and carrying out election activities.   

Information about the execution of Ms. Soraya Abolfathi and 34 other individuals was released in a communiqué by the Public Relations Office of the General Public Prosecutor’s Office, published in the Kayhan daily, on September 28, 1981.

This execution was also reported in an addendum to the Mojahed magazine (No. 261), published by the Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) in 1985. The list includes 12,028 individuals, affiliated with various opposition groups, who were executed or killed during clashes with Islamic Republic security forces from June 1981 to the publication date of the magazine.

Ms. Abolfathi is also one of the 1533 executed prisoners listed by the Association of Iranian Women of Köln (Germany). The list published in 1997 is entitled:  "A partial list of the names of women executed by the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Additional information about Ms. Abolfathi is taken from the MKO website. She was born in Tabriz and was a student at Tabriz University when she became an MKO sympathizer. She was in charge of distributing the organization’s publications, security, and planning and executing election activities for the MKO. Later on, she joined in the MKO’s armed struggle against the Islamic Republic regime. 

Arrest and detention

There is no specific information on the defendant’s arrest and detention. According to the MKO website, Ms. Abolfathi was arrested after the Revolutionary Guards surrounded her residence on August 19, 1981. She was taken to Tabriz prison. During her thirty-four-day detention, she was tortured repeatedly. The prison authorities asked her several times to repent and give up her friends in order to be pardoned; but she refused. 


No information is available on the defendant’s trial. 


According to the communiqué of the General Public Prosecutor’s Office, Ms. Abolfathi was charged with:  “Collaboration and active connection with the Hypocrites Organization [Islamic regime’s name for the MKO]; membership in team houses; supplying and storing explosives and illegal weapons; participating in street clashes and demonstrations; agreeing with and confirming all of the Hypocrites Organization’s beliefs in bearing arms; planning terrorist plots to create fear among the Muslim people of Mashhad; and plotting and revolting against the Islamic Republic.”

These charges are collective and brought against the defendant and 27 other individuals. The prosecution does not mention any specific offense for the defendant.

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

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


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


No specific information is available about this execution. Based on the newspaper report, the Islamic Revolutionary Tribunal of Tabriz sentenced Ms. Abolfathi and 34 others to death. These sentences were carried out between September 23 and 25, 1981. According to the MKO website, Ms. Abolfathi was executed by a firing squad on September 24, 1981.

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