Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Fereidun Parnak


Age: 23
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Non-Believer
Civil Status: Single


Date of Killing: July 27, 1982
Location of Killing: Central Prison (Dizelabad), Kermanshah, Kermanshah Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Shooting
Charges: Altercation with/confronting University security personnel; Actively opposing the Islamic Republic
Age at time of alleged offense: 22

About this Case

News of the execution of Mr. Fereidun Parnak was obtained from interviews conducted by the Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation (ABF) with his sister. Further information has been collected from statements written Mr. Parnak’s sister and friends. Mr. Fereidun Parnak is one of the 430 individuals whose names appear on the list of “Martyrs of the Peykar Organization for the Liberation of the Working Class” published on the website of Andeesheh va Peykar. This list contains the names of those members of the organization who died after the revolution of 1979. More than 400 of the individuals on this list have been executed. Mr. Parnak is one of the 12,028 individuals listed in an addendum to the Mojahed magazine (No 261), published by Mojahedin Khalq Organization in 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.

According to available information, Parnak was born on April 26, 1959, to a farming family of the Kurdish Kalhor tribe in a rural area near the city of Gilan-e Gharb. He was the family’s first child and dearly loved by all. He was an excellent student, and after receiving a high school diploma in mathematics in 1976, was accepted into Gilan University’s physics program. He played an active part in the student movement during the Shah’s time, and was often chosen to represent his fellow students. He was subjected to two short-term arrests by SAVAK (the Shah’s secret police) and the university guard. Following the revolution he joined the Peykar organization and was active in Dal Dal, the organization’s wing for high school and university students. At Gilan University he worked as an operator at Peykar’s office, was responsible for the organization’s publications stall, and worked to promote Dal Dal’s theoretical views. On April 21, 1980, Pasdaran and other regime operatives launched an assault against the university to force its closure. Parnak and his fellow students mounted a defense of the campus in response. Following the incident, his name was falsely released as one of those who had been killed. He lived a brief period in Tehran before relocating to Islamabad-e Gharb, where he resumed his activities and became a member of Peykar’s Central Committee. According to friends, he was one of the most intelligent of the Committee’s members, and all relied on him.

Parnak’s sister relates: “Fereidun was very dear to me. I’m not going to mythologize him: like all people he was a complex of different things and was acculturated in the social and political conditions of the time. He affected me and our other family members in many positive ways. He was funny, kind, and eloquent. He was very handsome and well-dressed, and always popular. Owing to his many talents, Fereidun tutored the neighbors’ children. He was on good comradely terms with his friends, and always showed them kindness.”

The Peykar Organization for the Liberation of the Working Class was founded in 1979 by a number of dissident members of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization who had converted to Marxism-Leninism. Peykar was also joined by a number of political organizations, known as Khat-e Se (Third line). The founding tenets of Peykar included the rejection of guerrilla struggle and a strong stand against the pro-Soviet policies of the Iranian Tudeh Party. Peykar viewed the Soviet Union as a “Social imperialist” state, believed that China had deviated from the Marxist-Leninist principles, and radically opposed all factions of the Islamic regime of Iran. The brutal repression of dissidents by the Iranian government and splits within Peykar in 1981 and 1982 effectively dismantled the Organization and scattered its supporters. By the mid-1980s, Peykar was no longer in existence.

Arrest and detention

Parnak was discovered and arrested on November 26, 1981, ten kilometers outside Islamabad by Pasdaran who had identified him as a communist during the revolution. At the time of arrest he was en route to his native Gilan-e Gharb with his paternal uncle owing to the risk of being captured and disappeared.  He was transferred on to the Pasdaran Committee’s prison in Islamabad-e Gharb. Following his arrest, agents went to Parnak’s house and removed his photographs, tapes, and books. Parnak’s two sisters – 14 and 16 years old – were taken into custody the same day. In prison, Parnak was tortured and abused for being a communist without charges or evidence. After a series of blows were struck against the Peykar Organization in Islamabad and a number of its supporters arrested, the Committee’s head turned over information to regime agents which resulted in new rounds of torture for Parnak. This treatment was such that he twice attempted suicide in prison. Parnak’s mother and father met with him a few times, once in a hospital following a suicide attempt. His mother saw signs of torture on Parnak’s body (ABF interview with sister). Parnak spent more than four months in Islamabad Prison before being transferred to Dizelabad Prison in Kermanshah on April 30, 1982. There he was held in Ward 2 of the City Guards, the facility’s ward for political prisoners (written statement from Parnak’s friend).


The Islamabad-e Gharb Revolutionary Court tried Parnak in late April of 1982. He and a number of other Peykar supports were tried simultaneously (ABF interview with Parnak’s sister) without the presence of a defense lawyer. Details regarding trial proceedings are not available.


The charges entered against Mr. Parnak comprised “being a communist, communication with an organization opposed to the regime, and clashing with regime operatives at the university” (written statements from Parnak’s sister and friends). The judge told Parnak he had been arrested for the murder of an individual in Rasht (ABF interview with Parnak’s sister).

The validity of the criminal charges brought against this defendant cannot be ascertained in the absence of the basic guarantees of a fair trial.  International human rights organizations have drawn attention to reports indicating that the Islamic Republic authorities have brought trumped-up charges, including drug trafficking, sexual, and other criminal offences, against their opponents (including political, civil society activists, as well as unionists and ethnic and religious minorities). Each year Iranian authorities sentence to death hundreds of alleged common criminals, following judicial processes that fail to meet international standards. The exact number of people convicted and executed based on trumped-up charges is unknown.

Evidence of guilt

Evidence entered against Parnak comprised “his being identified as a communist in the town in which he was residing, confessions of his organizational superior, evidence and information from the Sepah-e Pasdaran and Rasht Committee concerning student protests against the closing of the university, and Parnak’s own confession of having been involved in the clash at the university.”

International human rights organizations have repeatedly condemned the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran for its systematic use of severe torture and solitary confinement to obtain confessions from detainees and have questioned the authenticity of confessions obtained under duress.


No information is available on Mr. Parnak’s defense.


The Kermanshah Revolutionary Court sentenced Parnak to death. He and two or three other individuals were executed by firing squad in Diezelabad Prison on July 27, 1982.

On July 28, 1982, the Sepah-e Pasdaran informed Parnak’s family by telephone of his execution. The bodies of several individuals had been confused at either the prison or the morgue, and Parnak’s father was the one to make the identification. Parnak was buried in the Islamabad Municipal Cemetary. The grave was disturbed on several occasions until Parnak’s body was transferred to another location. Parnak’s father slept in the cemetery at night in order to protect his son’s grave. For years the family was harassed by local Sepah and Hezbollahis. 

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