Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Bahman Nezami


Age: 33
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Non-Believer
Civil Status: Married


Date of Killing: July 23, 1988
Location of Killing: Evin Prison, Tehran, Tehran Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Counter revolutionary opinion and/or speech

About this Case

Information regarding the arrest and execution of Mr. Nezami has been collected from an electronic communication sent to the Boroumand Foundation, an interview with one of his relatives, Kayhan newspaper (No. 12053, 02 January 1984), and Jomhuri Eslami newspaper (No. 1331, 02 January 1984), which published on page 10 a report of the proceedings of the Military Revolutionary Tribunal that tried Mr. Nezami along with seven others. He is one of the victims of the massacre of political prisoners in 1988. The Boroumand Foundation has collected additional information regarding the 1988 massacre from the memoirs of Ayatollah Montazeri, reports from Human Rights organizations, interviews with witnesses and victims’ families, as well as the Bidaran website.

Mr. Nezami, son of Saleh, was born in Narjabad village in Maragheh. He was married and had two sons. His second son was born while he was in prison. He was a senior student at the Tehran University Medical School. He had a scholarship from the army and was serving his internship at a military hospital.Mr. Nezami was a hiker and known to be outspoken and candid. According to fellow inmates, he had retained his enthusiasm for sports and was a leader, in this, for other prisoners. He was one of the more influential prisoners and was able to create morale and solidarity among his companions. According to his inmates, in an era when medicine was scarce in the prison, Mr. Nezami tried to treat other prisoners using traditional medicine. (ABF interview)

According to a news report onMr. Nezami’s trial, the latter has stated during his defense that,impressed by his brother, he became a follower of Fadaiyan Khalq Organization after the revolution. He was discouraged by the objectives and the programs of the Organization after a while. In the beginning of the Iran –Iraq war, in 1980, Mr. Nezami went to the front to serve in the war.Towards the end of 1980, while he was still at the front, Mr. Nezami was summoned for an interview by the Ideological - Political office of the Military Academy. Followed by this, in the beginning of 1981, his name was placed on a list of expelled members, owing to his political affiliation. A while after he was expelled from the Military Academy; the Islamic Revolutionary Military Tribunal found him incompetent, due to his leftist beliefs; and he was eventually expelled from the army, too. According to information published by the courts, Mr. Nezami was drawn to the Tudeh Party by a friend, as soon as he was expelled from the army. Early in 1981, he joined members of the covert Tudeh network within the army.

The Tudeh Party of Iran (Hezbe Tudeh or the Party of the Masses) was founded in 1941 by a group of mostly communist intellectuals. Its non-radical, reformist platform and its name reflected the founders’ hopes to attract the larger religious population. Instead, the Party's Marxist-Leninist orientation and its anti-Imperialist and anti-Fascist positions made it most influential among intellectuals and educated Iranians. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, The Tudeh, with its country-wide organization, including active women, youth, and labor groups, as well as a secret military network (Sazman-e Nezami-ye Hezb-e Tudeh Iran), played a major role in Iran’s political scene.The Tudeh was banned following an attempted assassination against the Shah in 1949. Nonetheless, the Party continued its activities, as well as its publications, of which there would be many. Following the 19 August 1953 coup, the Tudeh’s military network was annihilated with many of its leaders arrested or forced into exile, mostly to the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Over the years, the Party’s political influence diminished, due to various splits resulting from its pro-Soviet stand and policies in periods of political tension in Iran and from the radicalization of the left in the 1960s and 1970s.After the 1979 Revolution, the Tudeh declared Ayatollah Khomeini and the Islamic Republic’s regime revolutionaries and anti-imperialists and actively supported and collaborated with the government. Though the Party never opposed the Islamic Republic, it became the target of its attacks in 1982, and the Party's leaders and many members, including those of the new secret military network, were arrested.The Tudeh lost scores of its members during the mass prison killings of 1988. Following several splits, the Party resumed its activities in the early 1990s in exile.

Arrest and detention

Mr. Nezami was arrested at his residence on Azarbaijan Street in Tehran at about 5:00 p.m. on 2 May 1983 and was taken to an unknown location by two revolutionary guards. Shortly after the arrest, the officers searched his house. There was no information on his whereabouts or his situation until 30 December, when his family could visit him for the first time. A year after his his arrest, when he had his trial and the sentence was issued, he was transferred to the Evin Prison. There is no further information about his condition and whereabouts before he was transferred to Evin.According to relatives, he was allowed to have a contact visit with his children every few months in the prison. These visits were sometimes associated with offensive behavior of the guards with the family. Mr. Nezami did not have any contact visits during the last year before his execution. According to fellow inmates, 15 days before his execution he went on hunger strike, along with five other prisoners, and was transferred to the prison clinic due to physical deterioration.


Mr. Nezami was first tried before the Islamic Revolutionary Military Tribunal of Tehran, headed by Hojatoleslam Rey Shahri, and was sentenced to 15 years and 9 months imprisonment.There is no further information regarding Mr. Nezami’s trial [in Evin Prison] but, according to testimonies of leftist political prisoners who were tried in Gohardasht Prison during the executions of the summer of 1988, the trials took place in a room on the ground floor of the prison after a few weeks of isolation during which prisoners were deprived of visitation, television and radio broadcasts, and time outdoors.

Towards the end of August, a three-member delegation, composed of Hojatoleslam Eshraqi, the prosecutor, Hojatoleslam Nayyeri, the religious judge, and hojatoleslam Pourmohamadi, the representative of the Ministry of Information, asked prisoners questions about whether they were Muslim or Marxist, whether they prayed, and if their parents were practicing Muslims. Based on the prisoners’ responses, the latter were sentenced to be hanged or flogged until they agreed to pray. The authorities never informed prisoners about the delegation’s purpose and the serious implications of their responses. According to survivors, during the summer of 1988 a large number of prisoners sympathizing with the Mojahedin or Leftist groups were executed for not recanting their beliefs.The relatives of political prisoners executed in 1988 deny the legality of the judicial process, which resulted in thousands of executions throughout Iran. In their 1988 open letter to the 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.


During the first trial in the Islamic Revolutionary Military Tribunal of Tehran, Mr. Nezami was charged with “being an active member of the covert military network of the Party, holding “Nariman” as his pseudonym, supervised by Kazem, paying a monthly membership of between 200 and 300 Tomans (Rials 2000 – 3000) to his superior, Kazem, and having a relationship with the Tudeh Party, after Imam’s message.” (Jomhuri Eslami newspaper, No. 1331, page 10, 02 January 1984). However, there has been no charge publicly stated against the victims of the 1988 mass executions.Based on the testimonies of the prisoners who were incarcerated during the summer of 1988, the questions of the three-member committee to the leftist prisoners were about their beliefs, and they were accused of being “anti-religion,” insisting on their beliefs and not repenting. 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 executions. 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.Defendants, who did not belong to the Mojahedin Khalq Organization, may have been accused of being “anti-religion” for not having renounced his or her beliefs.

Evidence of guilt

The report of this execution does not contain information regarding the evidence provided against Mr. Nezami.


There is no information available on Mr. Nezami’s defense against the three-member delegation. According to newspaper reports published in Kayhan newspaper (No. 12053) and Jomhuri Eslami (No. 1331), and according to his relatives, he objected to the competence of the trial courts and argued with the prosecutor and the trial judge. He had explained about him his being expelled from the university on the last year of his medical studies, being expelled from the army, and how he became acquainted with and joined the Tudeh Party. He mentioned his services to the people and hoped that the court would allow him to return to university, finish his studies, and serve his people.


Mr. Bahman Nezami was hanged in Evin Prison in the summer of 1988 during the massacre of political prisoners. Once the family heard about the mass executions, through BBC news, they made numerous follow-ups, and, finally, Mr. Nezami’s execution was confirmed by the authorities of Evin Prison after several months. Some of his personal belongings, such as his watch and wedding ring, were delivered later to his family. His family was never informed of where he was buried. They were not allowed to hold any memorial service for him.Based on the Boroumand Foundation’s research, leftist prisoners executed in 1988 were found to be “apostates.” Months after the executions, prison authorities informed the families about the executions and handed over the victims’ belongings to their families. The bodies, however, were not returned to them. The bodies were buried in mass graves. Authorities warned the families of prisoners not to hold memorial ceremonies for their loved ones.

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