Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Habib Cheraghi


Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Married


Date of Killing: August 19, 1979
Location of Killing: Paveh, Kermanshah Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Shooting
Charges: Unknown charge

About this Case

The information about Mr. Habib Cheraghi has been drawn from an electronic form sent to Omid by an individual familiar with this case, the book Sahifeh-ye Emam by Ayatollah Khomeini, volume 9, the book Ayam-e Enzava (Times of Solitude) by Ayatollah Khalkhali, the report “The Demise of Sadeq Khalkhali” by Mansur Boluri (Iranian Political Bulletin, 30 November 2003), the report Murder at Mykonos published by the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, as well as the Kayhan newspaper (Aug. 21 & 23, 1979).

The sender of the electronic form, states that Mr. Cheraghi was a peshmerga, who according to Kayhan was affiliated with the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan. The sender of the form remembers Mr. Cheraghi as an honest man, who was a good model for others to live by. Mr. Cheraghi was a husband and a father of three.

Mr. Cheraghi’s execution was part of a wave of executions that took place in order to combat the “anti-Revolutionary” elements in Kurdistan. Following the negotiations between the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI) and the interim prime minister, several clashes occurred, at times armed, between the Revolutionary Guards and the peshmerga (the militia of the PDKI) particularly in the cities of Sanandaj (Kordestan province) and Paveh (Kermanshah province). These intensifying conflicts between the new central Shiite government of Iran and the mainly Sunni region of Kordestan concerned the role of minorities in the drafting of the constitution, specification of Shiite as the official state religion, and particularly the autonomy of the region.

Subsequent to conflicts that resulted in some casualties, on August 18, 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini issued an order to the military and the armed forces to “move to Paveh and end the fighting…” In the same order, he encouraged them to use force and threatened that: “if they do not move toward Paveh within 24 hours with missiles and tanks and all necessary arsenals, I will hold them accountable. And in case of any infringement of this order, I will treat them in a Revolutionary manner” (Sahifeh-ye Emam, p. 285). On August 19, Ayatollah Khomeini called the PDKI the “party of Satan” and declared it “unofficial and illegal” noting that some of these “anti-Islamic” individuals had boycotted the referendum of April 1, when people went to polls to vote for or against the Islamic regime (ibid p. 311).

In accordance with Khomeini’s order, Ayatollah Sadeq Khalkhali traveled the western region of Iran and told a reporter from the Ettela’at newspaper: “I will visit all areas of Kurdistan… and will bring to justice anybody who was involved in these bloody plots” (Times of Solitude p. 96). According to Mr. Boluri, Ayatollah Khalkhali condemned at least 58 Kurds to death in the span of 10 days. Mass executions and conflicts continued for many months in that region.

Arrest and detention

Mr. Cheraqi was arrested on August 11, 1979 in his house in Paveh without a warrant (electronic form). Whether or not he and other victims had visits with their families before execution is not known. However, according to statements of the religious judge in Kermanshah, it appears that authorities prohibited the families from visiting the prisoners: “I request the families to look after their children and watch for any anti-Revolutionary behavior or activity. [I also ask them] not to follow up with the cases of their children and let the Revolutionary Tribunals carry out their functions” (Kayhan August 23, 1979).


According to Kayhan, “Ayatollah Sadeq Khalkhali… having visited the damaged parts of the city [Paveh] including a hospital, which was badly damaged by the attackers… examined the files of the offenders and after 14 hours of deliberation” he condemned 9 individuals to death, including Mr. Cheraghi (Kayhan August 21, 1979). Ayatollah Khalkhali calls this session a “Revolutionary summary trial” (Times of Solitude p. 95). The religious judge of Kermanshah denied “the rumors of execution of leftists without trial” (Kayhan August 23, 1979).


The charges brought against the defendant are not known.

Evidence of guilt

Ayatollah Khalkhali mentions in his memoir that: “all the executed individuals… confessed during the interrogation that they had participated in the armed invasion of Paveh” (Times of Solitude p. 96). 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 concerning Cheraghi’s defense.


Ayatollah Khalkhali called Mr. Habib Cheraghi and 8 other prisoners “corrupt on earth, and at war with God and his prophet” and condemned them to death (Kayhan August 21, 1979). According to Ayatollah Khalkhali, some of the residents of Paveh came to him and asked him for amnesty. He replied: “amnesty can be issued only by the leader of the Revolution [Ayatollah Khomeini]” (Times of Solitude p. 97).

Mr. Habib Cheraghi was executed on August 19, 1979. Kayhan announced he was executed by a firing squad on August 21, 1979 in the same location where Revolutionary Guards had died..

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