Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Mostafa Rahi


Age: 26
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Islam (Shi'a)
Civil Status: Single


Date of Killing: August 11, 1988
Location of Killing: Evin Prison, Tehran, Tehran Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Shooting
Charges: War on God, God's Prophet and the deputy of the Twelfth Imam; Counter revolutionary opinion and/or speech

About this Case

Compassionate, kind, and influential among his companions, his politics emerged from broad study and a strong sensitivity to injustice.

The information about Mr. Mostafa Rahi was sent to Omid, via an electronic form from a relative. He is also among 3,208 members and sympathizers of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization whose execution was reported by the organization in a book entitled Crime Against Humanity. This book documents the 1988-1989 mass execution of political prisoners. Additionally, Mr. Rahi is mentioned in a UN Human Rights Commission’s Special Representative’s Report, “Names and particulars of persons allegedly executed by the Islamic Republic of Iran during the period July-December 1988,” published January 26, 1989. The latter report specifies that although 1,000 names are mentioned, “in all probability” there were several thousand victims. “Most of the alleged victims were members of the Mojahedin. However, members of the Tudeh Party, People’s Fedaiyan Organization, Rahe Kargar, and Komala Organization and 11 mollahs were also said to be among the alleged victims.”

Mr. Rahi, son of Qorban Ali and Soraya, was born in Tehran on June 28, 1962. He was an outstanding student at Karim Zand High School in Tehran, and majored in mathematics. A relative of Mr. Rahi remembers that, “although he did not live long, he greatly influenced those around him. The entire family, regardless of their thinking, remembers him as someone wise and of good morals. He was very sensitive to injustice… He was extremely kind and compassionate.” Mr. Rahi graduated from high school in 1980 or 1981.

Mr. Rahi began his political activism during the revolution, and he was a sympathizer of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization. According to the relative who wrote to Omid through an electronic form, he participated in demonstrations against the monarchy and read political, religious, and philosophical books, as well as the Mojahed magazine. He was well-known for his political activism. Based on the information in the electronic form, state agents went to the Rahi family’s house a few times and searched the property.

In 1981, Mr. Rahi was first arrested at age 19 for being a “Hypocrite,” the term Iranian officials used to refer to those affiliated with the Mojahedin Khalq Organization. While incarcerated, he had several visits with his family. During the visits, which took place behind glass dividers and through a telephone, his family members witnessed that he had lost weight and limped. They believe that we could not walk because he was tortured on the soles of his feat, a form of punishment called bastinado. Mr. Rahi was tried behind closed doors and condemned to 6 months imprisonment. He was released in 1982.

Arrest and detention

Mr. Rahi was re-arrested in Tehran in 1984 and transferred to Evin prison. His family visited him in prison. His relative states that, “he was in good spirits but looked very skinny. It was obvious that he had been tortured.” During one visit, his feet were bandaged.


Mr. Rahi was tried in 1985. There is no available information about the court verdict. Specific details about the circumstances of the trials that led to the execution of Mr. Rahi and thousands of other individuals in 1988 are not known. According to existing information, there was no official trial with attorneys or prosecutors. Those who were executed in 1988 were sent to a three-man committee consisting of a religious judge, a representative from the Intelligence Ministry, and a Public Prosecutor of Tehran.

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 Minister of Justice at the time, 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 when they were retried and sentenced to death.


No charge has been publicly stated against the victims of the 1988 mass executions. In their letters to the Minister of Justice in 1988, and to the UN Special Rapporteur visiting Iran in 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 members of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization 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 does not contain information regarding the evidence provided against the defendant.


No information is available on Mr. Rahi’s defense. In their open letter, the families of the prisoners 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 Khalq 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 the most difficult conditions [in 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.”


According to the relative who sent the electronic form, in late July of 1988, Iranian authorities contacted Mr. Rahi’s parents and asked them to come to the station. There, they returned Mr. Rahi’s bag and personal belongings to his parents and informed them that he had been shot by a firing squad. His parents were forced to pay for the bullets used to kill their son. The authorities threatened the family that they would be arrested if others found out about Mr. Rahi’s execution. They also warned the family against holding memorial service for Mr. Rahi. In 1989, the Registration Organization of the Interior Ministry issued a death certificate that stated Mr. Rahi had died of natural causes on August 11, 1988. The certificate states that the natural death “was registered in 1989 in the Behesht-e Zahra cemetery. Nevertheless, the burial location remains unknown to the family. They believe that Mr. Rahi is buried in the Khavaran Cemetery, where other victims of the 1988 massacre are interred.

At the time of execution, Mr. Rahi was 26 years old.



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