Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Hamid Reza Chitgar


Age: 38
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Non-Believer
Civil Status: Married


Date of Killing: May 19, 1987
Location of Killing: Barmherzigengasse 16, Vienna, Austria
Mode of Killing: Extrajudicial shooting
Charges: Unknown charge

About this Case

He had great ability in the art of organization, the art of communicating with the masses, the art of self-control, patience, and endurance, the art of continuing the struggle, lifting morale, strengthening the organization, and continuing the path taken by those who lost their lives fighting for the party.

Information about the life and extrajudicial execution of Mr. Hamidreza Chitgar, son of Khanum Bozorg and Ramezan Ali, is taken from the Abdorrahman Boroumand Center‘s (ABC) interview with one of Mr. Chitgar's relatives and his wife (May 11, 2006), an electronic form sent to ABC by one of his relatives (September 24, 2006), a statement by Mr. Chitgar's wife and his friends (no date - two months after the incident), the German language newspaper TAZ (July 20, 1987), the Iran-Netherlands Committee for the Defense of Political Refugees (July 21, 1987), Profil news magazine (July 27, 1987), Kayhan Havai‘ (July 29, 1987), Ms. Chitgar, the wife of Mr. Chitgar’s citation (June 26, 1987), Kurier (July 11, 2014), Iran Labor Party (Toufan) (July 21, 1987, March 8, 2017, May 31, 2020), Rah-e Toufan magazine - the organization of supporters of Iran's Labor Party abroad (July/August 1987), letter-writing campaign by MPs Petrovic, Anschoberand friends to the Federal Minister of Justice (June 5, 1997), the Committee for the Defense of Iran-Netherlands Political Refugees (July 21, 1987), his daughter's speech (May 19, 2017) and two writings by Mr. Chitgar's brother-in-law, entitled Hamidreza Chitgar, from arrest to assassination (May 18 and May 31, 2020).Based on the available information, Mr. Chitgar, born in 1949 in Babol (Mazandaran province), was married and had a daughter. He was an electronic engineer, and before the 1979 revolution, he worked in the Esfahan’s Steel Company. During his time in the military, he worked in a private company. More than a year before the revolution, he went to Strasbourg with a scholarship from the French government to study for his master's degree.

Mr. Chitgar returned to Iran a month before the revolution and actively organized strikes and demonstrations against the Pahlavi dynasty. At the "General Sanati" factory, he was one of the factory's labor council activists. His [political] party friends say: "Hamid's revolutionary characteristics prevented him from sitting quietly when the evil reactionary forces rose to crush the demands of the people." (Iranian Labor Party (Toufan)- March 8, 2017) 

After the 1979 revolution, he opened a well-equipped printing house near Khayam Park in Tehran and started publishing. His printing house printed books, non-political publications, and his own party’s publications. After he returned to France in early 1982, he completed a pre-doctoral course in electronics at the University of Strasbourg. He became a doctoral student at the Louis Pasteur University in Strasbourg. He also worked at the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS). The head of the project said about Mr. Chitgar: "He was witty, hard-working and incredibly talented." (Profil news magazine) 

Mr. Chitgar turned to political activity during the Shah's reign and joined the Toufan organization, later called Iran's Labor Party, under the pseudonym Hamid Bahmani in 1976. Mr. Chitgar was arrested on March 3, 1982, during a sudden search of his printing house by Revolutionary Guards in Tehran and was detained in Evin prison. On that day, the guards found a cylinder of a machine that had printed their party's magazine and had yet to be cleaned. “Hamid denies any connection with the party and claims that they bring their work to the printing house as customers.” (Mr. Chitgar's brother-in-law)

At that time, Mr. Chitgar was among the leaders of the Labor Party (Toufan). According to Mr. Chitgar's relatives, “he was tortured, but he remained adamant and insisted that the individuals who referred to him were clients of the printing house. (Abdorrahman ABCs Interview with Mr. Chitgar's wife - November 9, 2023) 

During those few days, in the mornings, when guards would take him from Evin prison to the printing house to set a trap for political activists by pretending that the printing house was open, he found an opportunity to escape. He was in prison for less than a month. (Statement by Mr. Chitgar's wife and friends) 

Mr. Chitgar left the country on January 10, 1983, with the party leadership's decision, through the mountains of Iran and Turkey; he arrived in Paris on February 11, 1983, and sought asylum. He started his political activity in exile as the head of the foreign office of the "Iran Labor" party. Because of this position, he was in contact with the party’s supporters in Iran. He was also a member of the party's central committee and participated as a party representative in the National Council of Resistance*. His organizational friends from the Toufan Party write: "He had great ability in the art of organization, the art of communicating with the masses, the art of self-control, patience, and endurance, the art of continuing the struggle, lifting morale, strengthening the organization, and continuing the path taken by those who lost their lives fighting for the party!" (Iran Labor Party (Toufan) – May 31, 2020) Mr. Chitgar also participated in various meetings of Marxist-Leninist Communists and was one of the well-known figures of the international Communist movement. (Iran Labor Party (Toufan)- March 8, 2017) 

Mr. Chitgar's relatives remember him for his love of life, good food, and his attachment to his family, especially his daughter Maryam and his father. He had a curious and adventurous spirit and was not a follower. He did not believe in a secret life, and his political activity never took him away from his family. (ABC interview with one of Mr. Chitgar's relatives – April 20, 2008)\

The Labor Party of Iran 

The Labor Party of Iran was created in 1977 as a result of a split in the Tofan organization, which itself was a split from the Tudeh party. Iran's Labor Party calls itself a communist, Marxist-Leninist and supports the overthrow of the Islamic Republic and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat. According to the beliefs of this party, after the death of Stalin, who had implemented the dictatorship of the proletariat in the best way, the Soviet Union became a social-imperialist state. The contact address of the party is in Germany. The organ of this party is called "Tufan" magazine. This party is a member of the International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organizations (Unity and Struggle).

Background of Extrajudicial Killings by the Islamic Republic of Iran

The Islamic Republic of Iran has a long history of politically motivated violence in Iran and around the world. Since the 1979 Revolution, Islamic Republic operatives inside and outside the country have engaged in kidnapping, disappearing, and killing a large number of individuals whose activities they deemed undesirable. The actual number of the victims of extrajudicial killings inside Iran is not clear; however, these murders began in February 1979 and have continued since then, both inside and outside Iran. The Abdorrahman Boroumand Center has so far identified over 540 killings outside Iran attributed to the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Dissidents have been assassinated by the agents of the Islamic Republic outside Iran in countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia, Japan, India, and Pakistan in Asia; Dubai, Iraq, and Turkey in the Middle East; Cyprus, France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Norway, Sweden, and Great Britain in Europe; and the United States across the Atlantic Ocean. In most cases, there has not been much published, and local authorities have not issued arrest warrants. But documentation, evidence, and traces obtained through investigations conducted by local police and judicial authorities confirm the theory of state committed crimes. In some instances, these investigations have resulted in the expulsion or arrest of Iranian diplomats. In a few cases outside Iran, the perpetrators of these murders have been arrested and put on trial. The evidence presented revealed the defendants’ connection to Iran’s government institutions, and an arrest warrant has been issued for Iran’s Minister of Information.

The manner in which these killings were organized and implemented in Iran and abroad is indicative of a single pattern which, according to Roland Chatelin, the Swiss prosecutor, contains common parameters and detailed planning. It can be ascertained from the similarities between these murders in different countries that the Iranian government is the principal entity that ordered the implementation of these crimes. Iranian authorities have not officially accepted responsibility for these murders and have even attributed their commission to internal strife in opposition groups. Nevertheless, since the very inception of the Islamic Republic regime, the Islamic Republic officials have justified these crimes from an ideological and legal standpoint. In the spring of 1979, Sadeq Khalkhali, the first Chief Shari’a Judge of the Islamic Revolutionary Courts, officially announced the regime’s decision to implement extrajudicial executions and justified the decision: “ … These people have been sentenced to death; from the Iranian people’s perspective, if someone wants to assassinate these individuals abroad, in any country, no government has any right to bring the perpetrator to trial as a terrorist, because such a person is the implementing agent of the sentence issued by the Islamic Revolutionary Court. Therefore, they are Mahduroddam and their sentence is death regardless of where they are.” More than 10 years after these proclamations, in a speech about the security forces’ success, Ali Fallahian, the regime’s Minister of Information, stated the following regarding the elimination of members of the opposition: “ … We have had success in inflicting damage to many of these little groups outside the country and on our borders.”

At the same time, various political, judicial, and security officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran have, at different times and occasions, confirmed the existence of a long term government policy for these extrajudicial killings and in some cases their implementation. 

Read more about the background of extrajudicial killings in the Islamic Republic of Iran by clicking on the left hand highlight with the same title.

Mr. Hamidreza Chitgar’ Extrajudicial Execution 

Mr. Hamidreza Chitgar’s body was discovered by the Austrian police on July 12, 1987, in an apartment on 16 Barmherzigengasse near the Hilton Hotel in Vienna’s third district after the neighbors informed the police about an unpleasant odor from the apartment. In the forensic examination, it was found that Mr. Chitgar was killed by a single shot from a 6.65 caliber handgun in the back of his head.

According to the available information, the last time Mr. Chitger spent time with his wife was in Strasbourg on May 10, 1987, and then he spent a few days in Germany before going to Austria. On Tuesday, May 19, 1987, after two and a half years of correspondence and phone calls with a person named Ali Amiztab‘e in Iran, who presented himself as a supporter of the Toufan Party, Mr. Chitgar left for Vienna, Austria, where he was supposed to meet with the said individual in front of Vienna Hilton Hotel at five o'clock that afternoon. After this trip, he disappeared without a trace. His wife, who was waiting for Mr. Chitgar's phone call a day after he left, did not hear from him. After two days with no news, she called their friends in Germany, and they also expressed their lack of knowledge; the family began to worry then. At first, they informed the French police and Interpol about Mr. Chitgar’s disappearance, following which Hamid’s wife was distraught and agitated. She told all his friends and political organizations about Hamid's disappearance. She went to the French police again and asked for help from the French Organization for the Protection of Political Refugees (O.F.P.R.A), the High Commissioner for Refugees (H.C.R), and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs to find her husband. The family spent nearly two months trying to find any trace of their loved one. (Mr. Chitgar's brother-in-law)

Mr. Chitgar's family was under a lot of pressure. French security police also contacted his wife regarding Mr. Chitgar's disappearance. His wife recalls: "The French security police came and interviewed us. I thought he was interrogating me. In short, he asked a series of questions. This was before Hamid's body was found. While we were talking, I realized that he didn't want to find Hamid; he wanted to know who my friends and I were, and he wanted to know us; at that time, I was not as intelligent as I am now. Suddenly, I got up and shouted, "What do you want to do? Why do you want me to take my friends' fingerprints?" She adds: "I don't know; at that time, the authorities and the police in France or Austria did not give us the feeling at all that they wanted to help us." (ABC interview with Mr. Chitgar's wife - November 9, 2023)

Finally, on July 17, 1987, the police informed his family that they had discovered the body of an unknown person in the city of Vienna, who could be Mr. Chitgar. After his family and friends identified the body, it became clear that the body belonged to him. In the published photo of his body, he sits on a chair with his head leaning over the table. The killer or killers had stolen his documents, and after erasing all effects of the crime, they had fled the place with Mr. Chitgar's car. 

Mr. Chitger's brother-in-law went to Vienna to identify the body: "We went to the central police of Vienna, and this time they treated us attentively and kindheartedly. They showed photos of the body. Hamid was easily identifiable in the photos." The Austrian Central police told his family that his murder was highly professional because the perpetrators did not leave a trace. After removing all the documents, they left his car near the railway. (Mr. Chitgar's brother-in-law) 

According to the Austrian police investigation, the apartment where Mr. Chitgar's body was found was rented by a 27-year-old person with a Turkish passport named Mahmud Akyüz on May 15, 1987. This person had presented himself [to the landlord] as a teacher from Turkey who came to Austria to improve his German language. He was thin, tall, and was familiar with foreign languages. " (Iran Labor Party - Toufan – May 31, 2020) 

According to the Austrian police, Mahmud Akyüz had leased the apartment for three months and paid the entire rent in advance. This individual had once traveled to Vienna a year before the assassination of Mr. Chitgar. 

The next day, the Austrian Ministry of Interior contacted the family: "They made arrangements to meet. We went to the Ministry of Interior around noon. Hamid's comrades were preparing themselves for a press interview. The head of the minister's cabinet received us. The interior minister was not in his office. He expressed his condolences to us. They came with sympathy; they had realized that they had unforgivably failed us with their investigation  ." (Mr. Chitgar's brother-in-law) 

After the assassination of Mr. Chitgar, a wave of protests was launched by Iranian and European political groups and organizations, and reports of many demonstrations in various European cities protesting the Islamic Republic’s state terrorism were published in the Iranian and European press.

Mr. Chitgar's body was buried on August 8, 1987, in Père Lachaise Cemetery and a large number of people and political refugees in Paris attended his funeral ceremony. 

Austrian Officials‘ Reaction 

According to available information, after finding Mr. Chitger's body on July 17, 1987, Austrian police officially launched their investigation into his murder. The police did not follow up after Ms. Chitgar reported her husband missing on Tuesday, May 19, 1987. The Austrian government tried to pressure the family, even preventing Mr. Chitger's wife from entering Austria. When Ms. Chitger went to the Austrian consulate for a visa, she was not granted one. Mr. Chitgar's wife states, "I went to the consulate to get a visa. I was surprised to learn that they would not grant me a visa. When I objected, the consul personally told me that he knew about the police report and that he would not agree to give me a visa to prevent us from putting pressure on the police.” (ABC interview with Mr. Chitgar's wife - November 9, 2023) 

After Austria rejected Ms. Chitgar‘s visa application, Mr. Chitger's sister went to Vienna with some friends from the party. There, they realized that the Austrian police had let his case go quiet and had not even taken any action to locate his car. 

After Mr. Chitgar’s disappearance, police told the family that the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs had not issued a visa to anyone named "Ali Amiztab‘e," a man who had a meeting with Mr. Chitgar in Vienna and that such a person had not entered Austria. After discovering Mr. Chitger's body, police affirmed that since traveling to Austria with a Turkish passport did not require a visa, it was not an easy task for the police to track down the person who had rented the apartment. 

On April 8, 1988, Vienna’s public prosecutor's office  requested to cancel the investigation until new evidence is found against Mr. Chitgar’s murderer or murderers. 

After the assassination of Mr. Chitgar and Mr. Abdolrahman  Qasemlu in Vienna in 1997, several representatives from the Green and Liberal parties in the Austrian Parliament demanded the formation of an investigation committee to shed light on these assassinations. Regarding Mr. Chitgar's murder, they specifically asked what legal measures should be officially taken to find his killers. (Letter by MPs Petrovic, Anschober, and friends of the Federal Minister of Justice) 

Iranian Officials’ Reaction 

Based on available information, nothing was published about reactions from the Iranian authorities regarding Mr. Chitgar’s murder. However, in German-language newspapers, there was talk of the assassinations that took place in Austria, and Foreign Minister Alois Mock has sporadically spoken of "Iran’s blackmail methods." Also, in a television interview in April 1997, the head of the political department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the time, after his retirement, said: "The Iranian ambassador has indicated that Iran can be dangerous for Austrians." This means that Iran pressured Austria and threatened them. (Kurier) 

When there was no sign of Mr. Chitgar, some people from Tehran would call his wife in Strasbourg from Tehran and introduce themselves as friends of Amiztab’e and supporters of the Labor Party and would express their worries for her. Yet they were consistently looking for the addresses of the supporters of this organization in Iran. Two days before Mr. Chitgar's body was found, they gave an ultimatum to the supporters of the "Labor Party '' by phone and asked them to come to a secret place in Iran or  they would cut off all contacts. (Profil news magazine) 

Also, one of the members of the "Iran Labor" party said in an interview: "In the two months during which "Comrade Hamid" had disappeared, a woman claiming to be the wife of  Ali Amiztab‘e called the party’s foreign office and expressed her concern about her husband's disappearance. Several times, A man called the party's foreign office and expressed his concern aboutAmiztab’e’s disappearance. He wanted to connect with the party and emphasized in his calls that the group (meaning the fictitious group belonging to "Amieztab‘e") would not last without official and organizational connections. This dirty agent made a lot of effort for us to put him in touch with our connections inside Iran. Before the discovery of the body of "Comrade Hamid," these agents desperately tried to inflict another blow to the party by setting the stage and presenting a normal façade to the outcome of the cases. But that wasn’t the outcome. After the discovery of Comrade Hamid’s body, said individuals’ contact with the foreign office was immediately cut off. (Iran Labor Party - Toufan – May 31, 2020) 

Family of Mr. Chitgar's wife in Iran was also taken for questioning on several occasions and were pressured to call Mr. Chitgar’s daughter and convince her to return to Iran. 

Family‘s Reaction 

His family tried to follow up his case through a lawyer and a friend in Austria. Although it was difficult to pursue the case from the distance between France and Austria and not knowing the language, Mr. Chitgar's family hired a lawyer in Austria and followed up the case with the help of one of their friends who lived there. 

The first reaction of the family's lawyer, Dr. Vana, was to write a letter to the then Austrian Minister of the Interior, Karl Blecha, for which he did not receive a response. Dr. Vana said: "What would you think would happen if an Austrian politician was lost abroad? In this country, the authorities do not pay attention to the killing of a political activist and consider this assassination as an ordinary disappearance. (Profil news magazine) 

After some time, the lawyer concluded that the Austrian authorities had no intention to pursue this case seriously. 

Impact on family 

According to available information, Mr. Chitgar’s disappearance on Tuesday, May 19, 1987, and his extrajudicial execution had a profound effect on the family. Mr. Chitgar's wife, who was one of the activists of the party and no longer cooperates with them, says: "I never thought that any trouble would befall us outside the country, even though Shahryar Shafiq or Oveisi had been killed. We thought they had nothing to do with us. Like, they were Royalists; in short, excuse me for saying this word, killing them is permissible; it was really like that. Were we heavy-hearted? Were we ignorant? Whatever it was, we didn't expect it. I did not think at all; I am speaking for myself. I was in a state of shock, etc. They had to give me a shot, I went to the hospital, and so on." (ABC interview with Mr. Chitgar's wife - November 9, 2023)

Mr. Chitgar's wife moved to Sweden with her daughter a few months after this incident: "After all, I was young and more ignorant than today. I could not go to Paris at all, thinking that  Hamid was buried there; it was awful. It was a bad feeling. Hamid's friends were all there and still are. But I could not tolerate their gatherings. In short, I thought I would leave Paris. I was in such a hurry to leave that I went wherever they accepted me first, which happened to be Sweden then." She believes that she did not make the right decision for her daughter. Because Mr. Chitgar and his daughter had a very close relationship, and so for the first year following his death, Ms. Chitgar could not tell her 7-year-old daughter about her father’s death: "One year after the incident, Maryam and I went for a walk in the street. I told myself I would explain now, so I told her, , my dearest Maryam, a bad thing happened to us, and our little family was hurt, and Dad got into an accident. I did not give any details. She stared at me, stomped her foot on the ground, and said in French, that we will never speak of this incident again.” His daughter did not visit her father's grave until she was 18 years old. According to her mother, her daughter was emotionally hurt so badly that it had severely affected her life. (ABC interview with Mr. Chitgar's wife - November 9, 2023) 

Mr. Chitgar's daughter writes about her father: "It is said that a person does not die as long as they stay in our memory. Although I was very young, I still remember him as a loving father and an active politician who sacrificed his life for a cause. I wish he were here because his death was unnecessary, cruel, and unjust as he was killed for his ideas." She continues: "In any case, today, I cannot do anything to get justice for my father and millions of other Iranians. However, I know that history will judge those responsible for my father's murder.” 


* National Council of Resistance is a political coalition consisting of Iranian organizations, groups, and personalities, which was founded on July 21, 1981, in Tehran by Mr. Abolhassan Bani Sadr, the then president, and the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran to overthrow the Islamic Republic. Later, Bani Sadr and many groups and individuals left this coalition.

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