Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Suzan Nikzad


Age: 30
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Non-Believer
Civil Status: Single


Date of Killing: November 19, 1981
Location of Killing: Evin Prison, Tehran, Tehran Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Shooting
Charges: Unknown charge

About this Case

The information about Ms. Suzan Nikzad is drawn from an interview with one of her relatives and the testimony of one of her cellmates (sent to Omid through an electronic form). She is one of 12,028 individuals listed in an addendum to the Mojahed magazine (No 261), published by Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) on September 6, 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.

Ms. Nikzad was born in Tehran, held a master’s of science degree in Nursing, was a hospital technician, and an active member of the Fadayian Khalq Minority Oraganization.

The Fadayian Khalq Organization, a Marxist-Leninist group inspired by the Cuban Revolution and the urban guerilla movements of Latin America, was founded in 1971 by two communist groups opposed to the Pahlavi regime. Following the 1979 revolution, the Organization, which had renounced armed struggle, split over the question of support for the Islamic Republic and the Soviet Union. The Fadayian Khalq Minority opposed the Islamic Republic and was primarily active in the political arena and the labor movement.

Arrest and detention

Ms. Suzan Nikzad was arrested by the Revolutionary Guard in front of her home during the fall of 1981 due to the fact that she had distributed the Kar magazine of the Fadayian Khalq Minority. She was taken to Evin Prison.

Based on the testimony of her cellmate, Ms. Nikzad was tortured during interrogation to obtain information and confession from her. Her feet were lashed and she was handcuffed with “qapan”. (Qapan, or Steelyard, was a common torture method during interrogations. In this method, the prisoner was handcuffed using the steelyard behind the back with one arm reaching the other from above the head. The pressure usually resulted in fractions in the shoulder blade. To make it more effective, the prisoner was usually suspended in the air using the steelyard.)

Ms. Nikzad was detained for 4 weeks. She spent most of the time in the corridor of interrogation rooms or in a room down the corridor, from which she could hear the scream of inmates being tortured throughout the day and night. Her cellmate, who saw her after the initial interrogation following Ms. Nikzad’s arrest, remembers seeing her swollen feet.

During the interrogation, at least once the authorities took Ms. Nikzad to her house, in order to arrest her friends and other political activists that she was to identify. According to her cellmate, Ms. Nikzad constantly argued with Revolutionary Guards and her interrogators about politics and defended her political beliefs. After the interrogations, she was taken to the medical unit of Evin. During her detention, she did not have the right to be represented by an attorney. Prison authorities did not grant her visitation rights and did not allow her to write to her family.

Ms. Nikzad was in good spirits in prison and always tried to strengthen the moral of her inmates. Her cellmate, who was frightened on her first day at Evin after having heard screams and seen tortured prisoners, remembers Ms. Nikzad's effort to calm her down with humour and compassion during the lunch they shared that day. Moreover, Ms. Nikzad, who was a nurse, looked after inmates who were injured during torture, robbed and washed the wounds on their feet. She also taught others how to massage [the wounds to reduce the pain]. Her identity had been disclosed by a friend, leading to her arrest. But Ms. Nikzad would say she did not hold grudge against that friend since she acted under torture.


The trial took place at Evin Prison. No other information is available on the defendant’s trial.


No information is available on Ms. Suzan Nikzad’s charges.

Evidence of guilt

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


No information is available about the defendant’s defense. The interviewee quotes one of her cellmates according to whom Ms. Suzan Nikzad defended her beliefs so well that the Judge asked her: “Am I trying you, or are you trying me?” In her interrogations and trial, she defended Marxism. Her cellmate saw her from under the blindfolds in the corridor as Ms. Nikzad was arguing with the interrogator about atheism. She showed her hands to the interrogator and said: “it is these hands that created God.”


The Islamic Revolutionary Tribunal of Tehran condemned Ms. Suzan Nikzad to death. She was executed by a firing squad at Evin Prison on November 19, 1981.

Her cellmate recalls Ms. Nikzad’s last minutes: “When her name was called in the afternoon of November 19, she raised her hands with a smile on her face as she was going out of the cell and this is how she said goodbye to all of us who had gathered to see her for the last time.”

According to the interviewee, when Ms. Suzan Nikzad’s mother went to visit her at Evin Prison, officials threw her clothes in front of her mother and said: “Take these filthy rags and go.”

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