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

Mehdi Arabi Khader

About

Age: 26
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Islam
Civil Status: Unknown

Case

Date of Killing: 1988
Location: Central Prison (Vakilabad Prison), Mashhad, Khorasan\Khorasan-e Razavi Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Counter revolutionary offense

About this Case

Mr. Mehdi Arabi Khader is listed among 3,208 members and sympathizers of the People's Mojahedin of Iran Organization (PMIO) whose execution was reported by the organization in a book entitled Crime Against Humanity. This book documents the 1988-89 mass execution of political prisoners. Additional information was drawn from the Bidaran website and the PMIO website. He was born in Mashhad in 1962. He was a farmer and a sympathizer of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO).

Arrest and detention

The exact date and place of arrest are not known. Mr. Arabi Khader was detained in the Mashhad prison and had several visits with his family.

Trial

According to the available information, the Iranian authorities did not try the victims of the 1988 mass execution in a court with in the presence of a defense lawyer. The prisoners who were executed in 1988 had been questioned by a three-member special committee, composed of a religious judge, a representative of the Intelligence Ministry, and the Tehran Prosecutor. The committee questioned the leftist prisoners about their beliefs and their faith in God and religion.

The relatives of political prisoners executed in 1988 refute the legality of the judicial process that resulted in thousands of executions throughout Iran. In their 1988 open letter to then- Minister of Justice Dr. Habibi, they argue that the official secrecy surrounding these executions is proof of their illegality. They note that an overwhelming majority of these prisoners had been tried and sentenced to prison terms, which they were either serving or had already completed serving at the time they were retried and sentenced to death.

Charges

No charge has ever been publicly levelled against the victims of the 1988 mass execution. In their letters to the Minister of Justice (1988), and to the UN Special Rapporteur visiting Iran (February 2003), the families of the victims refer to the accusations against the prisoners that may have led to their execution. These accusations include being "counter-revolutionary, anti-religion, and anti-Islam," as well as being "associated with military action or with various [opposition] groups based near the borders."

An edict from the Leader of the Islamic Republic, Ruhollah Khomeini, reproduced in the memoirs of his designated successor Ayatollah Montazeri, corroborates the reported claims regarding the charges against the executed prisoners. In this edict, Ayatollah Khomeini refers to the PMIO's members as "hypocrites" who do not believe in Islam and "wage war against God" and decrees that prisoners who still approve of the positions taken by this organization are also "waging war against God" and should be sentenced to death.

Evidence of guilt

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

Defense

In their open letter, the families of the prisoners note that defendants were not given the opportunity to defend themselves in court. Against the assertion that prisoners were associated with guerrilla forces operating near the borders, the families submit the isolation of their relatives from the outside during their detention: "Our children lived under most difficult conditions. Our visits were limited to 10 minutes behind a glass divider through a telephone every two weeks. We witnessed over seven years that they were denied access to anything that would have allowed them to establish contacts outside their prison walls." Under such conditions the families reject the claim of the authorities that these prisoners were able to engage with the political groups outside Iran.

Judgment

No specific information is available about death sentence. Mr. Mehdi Arabi Khader was executed during the mass killings of the political prisoners in Mashhad in 1988.

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