Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Daryush Reza'i


Age: 22
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Islam (Shi'a)
Civil Status: Single


Date of Killing: 1988
Location of Killing: Tehran Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Unspecified execution method
Charges: War on God, God's Prophet and the deputy of the Twelfth Imam; Counter revolutionary opinion and/or speech

About this Case

Serious in front of a camera, Mr. Reza’i was known for his good humor.  A neighbor denounced him during the Iran-Iraq war for “listening to the radio.”

Mr. Daryush Reza’i, son of Mansur, was a victim of the mass killings of political prisoners in 1988. The majority of the executed prisoners were members of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO). Other victims included members or sympathizers of Marxist-Leninist organizations, such as the Fedaiyan Khalq (Minority) and the Peykar Organization, which opposed the Islamic Republic, as well as the Tudeh Party and the Fedaiyan Khalq (Majority), which did not. Information about the mass executions has been gathered by the Boroumand Foundation from the memoir of Ayatollah Montazeri, reports of human rights organizations, interviews with victims’ families, and witnesses’ memoirs. 

Information about Mr. Reza’i, a sympathizer of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization, has been drawn from an electronic form and an interview with an individual familiar with this case. Mr. Reza’i’s name is also mentioned in the book 67 Massacre by Mr. Mas’ud Ansari, and the book Crime Against Humanity of the MKO. Mr. Reza’i was born in 1966 in Kermanshah. The interviewee remembers Mr. Reza’i as intelligent and positive, with a good sense of humor.

Mr. Reza’i was first arrested violently in the winter of 1982 at the age of 15 by armed officers. He was transferred to the Ministry of Intelligence. He was kept incommunicado and his family was unaware of his whereabouts for several months. Only after trial and condemnation to a two year imprisonment was his family allowed to visit him in prison. They observed he had lost weight and walked with difficulty. During these months he was severely tortured to that extent that for a long time after his release from prison in 1984, he was under doctor’s attention for back pain and had to go to Tehran for treatment. According to the interviewee, he became a more serious sympathizer of the MKO during his imprisonment. In 1984 he joined the army for compulsory military service but he escaped after some time. When government agents attempted to arrest him for a second time in 1985, he became a fugitive.

Arrest and detention

In 1986, Mr. Reza’i’s house was ambushed by armed men and he was arrested for a second time, held and tortured for one month.

In 1988 he escaped prison but was arrested for a third time near the border of Kurdestan in Iraq. He was transferred to Tehran province to either Evin or Gohardasht prison.


Specific details on the circumstances of his trials are not known. After his escape from prison, Mr. Reza’i was condemned to imprisonment (probably life imprisonment).

According to the available information, Iranian authorities did not try the victims of the 1988 mass execution in a court with 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 when they were retried and sentenced to death.


Mr. Daryush Reza’i was first arrested in 1982 and charged with reading or possession of the MKO publications. Prior to his second arrest in 1986 he was observed listening to the radio by an individual who concluded that he was a spy informing the Iraqi enemies (during the Iran-Iraq war) of the locations to be bombed through a wireless transmitter. This individual reported Mr. Reza’i to the authorities. In 1988 he was arrested for a third time, near the Iran-Iraq border, having escaped prison. The charges that led to his execution are not known.

According to the available information, no charge has been publicly leveled against the victims of the 1988 mass executions. 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 authorities' accusations against the prisoners – accusations 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 of the Leader of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khomeini, reproduced in the memoirs of Ayatollah Montazeri, his designated successor, corroborates the reported claims regarding the charges against the executed prisoners. In this edict, Ayatollah Khomeini refers to the MKO'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

In 1988 he was arrested after his escape from prison near the Iran-Iraq border.


In their open letter, the families of the victims of the 1988 mass execution noted that defendants were not given the opportunity to defend themselves in court. The same letter, rebutting the accusation that these prisoners (from inside the prison) had collaborated with armed members of the Mojahedin Organization in clashes with armed forces of the Islamic Republic, states that such claims “are false considering the circumstances in prisons; for our children faced most difficult conditions [in the prison, with] visitation rights of once every 15 days, each visitation lasting ten minutes through a telephone from behind the glass window, and were deprived of any connection with the outside world. We faced such conditions for seven years, which proves the truth of our claim.”


The details of the execution sentence are not known. Months after the execution, prison authorities informed Mr. Daryush Reza’i’s family of his execution and handed his belongings to his family. However, his family was not informed of the time and place of execution or even the location of burial. According to available information, the bodies of the 1988 victims were buried in mass graves.

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