Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

https://www.iranrights.org
Omid, a memorial in defense of human rights in Iran
One Person’s Story

Abbas Ali Monshi Rudsari

About

Age: 29
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Non-Believer

Case

Date of Killing: 1988
Location: Tehran, Tehran Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Unspecified execution method
Charges: Apostasy; Counter revolutionary opinion and/or speech

About this Case

The information about Mr. Abbas Ali Monshi Rudsari has been drawn from an interview with his wife. Mr. Monshi Rudsari was a member of the Fadaiyan Khalq Organization (Majority branch) and a victim of the mass killings of political prisoners in 1988. The majority of the executed prisoners were members of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization. Other victims included members or sympathizers of Marxist-Leninist organizations, such as the Fedaiyan Khalq (Minority) and the Peykar Organization, which opposed the Islamic Republic, as well as the Tudeh Party and the Fedaiyan Khalq (Majority), which did not. Information about the mass executions has been gathered by the Boroumand Foundation from the memoir of Ayatollah Montazeri, reports of human rights organizations, interviews with victims’ families, and witnesses’ memoirs.

Mr. Monshi Rudsari began his political activities after the Revolution in the Pishgam student section of the Fadaiyan Khalq Organization. He was a medical student in Esfahan University, expelled during the Cultural Revolution.

After the universities were closed, Mr. Monshi Rudsari was in charge of the promotional section of the Fadaiyan Organization in Esfahan. In 1983, he migrated to Tehran, along with his wife and children, in order to continue his political activism. He worked in the publishing house of the Organization and his work included publishing and distributing leaflets.

Mr. Monshi Rudsari married on May 4, 1983 and had two children. He was forgiving and intellectual, rational and calm. He had a positive influence on his family members, including his older siblings. His wife felt safe and serene when she was married to him.

One of his brothers, Mr. Baqer Monshi Rudsari, was charged with sympathizing with the Mojahedin Khalq Organization and executed in 1981. He was a 17 year old high school student at the time.

The Cultural Revolution began after Ayatollah Khomeini gave a speech in March 1980 and ordered that universities be purged of all those who opposed his regime and be transformed into “learning environments” [as opposed to political forums] where “an all-Islamic curriculum” would be taught. The first wave of violence began on April 15, 1980 during a speech by Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani [a member of the Council of the Islamic Revolution and Minister of Interior] at the University of Tabriz. Following the speech, students supporting the regime took control of the University’s central building and demanded that the “university be purged” from “pro-Shah elements and other sellouts.”

On April 18, the Council of the Islamic Revolution issued a communiqué accusing political groups of converting higher education institutions into “headquarters of discordant political activities” and naming them as obstacles to the radical transformation of the universities. The communiqué gave these groups three days (Saturday April 19 to Monday April 21) to shut down their activities in the universities. The Council stressed that the decision included libraries along with activities related to arts and sports. Political groups, which recruited members and had strong support in the universities, refused to evacuate.

Before the Council’s deadline, serious clashes took place between leftist groups and Islamist Associations, in opposition to the Associations that were sometimes supported by security forces and paramilitary groups. These clashes, which peaked at the end of the three-day deadline, resulted in the death of several people and the wounding of hundreds of others on university campuses around the country.

On April 21, the Islamic Republic authorities announced the victory of the Cultural Revolution and the closure of all universities in order to Islamicize the curricula. The universities remained closed for two years. One of the outcomes of the Cultural Revolution was the purging of many university professors and students based on their political beliefs.

The Fadaiyan Khalq Organization, a Marxist Leninist group, inspired by the Cuban Revolution and the urban guerilla movements of Latin America, was founded in 1971 by two communist groups opposed to the Pahlavi regime. Following the 1979 Revolution, the Organization, which had renounced armed struggle, split over their support of the Islamic Republic and of the Soviet Union. The Fadaiyan Khalq Majority considered the Islamic Republic as a revolutionary and anti-imperialist regime and supported it. After the spring of 1983, however, the Islamic Republic targeted its members solely because of their political beliefs.

Arrest and detention

Mr. Abbas Ali Monshi Rudsari was arrested in his house in July or August of 1986, along with his wife and two children. The officers of the Ministry of Intelligence, who came to arrest them, did not show them an arrest warrant. When asked why they were being arrested, the agents said that the neighbors had reported that they left their lights on in order to signal Iraqi fighter pilots where to drop bombs, during the Iran-Iraq war. Later it was revealed that the neighbors had not made such claim. The agents told the neighbors that the Monshi Rudsari family was arrested in connection with narcotic drugs.

The Monshi Rudsari family was taken to the Joint Committee prison, also called Tohidi prison, which is a museum today. At the time, this prison was used by the Ministry of Intelligence; officers of the Ministry interrogated the members of the family. Mr. Abbas Ali Monshi Rudsari was also interrogated in Esfahan for two months at the detention center of the Ministry of Intelligence.

Mr. Monshi Rudsari had visits with his family after the completion of interrogations at the Joint Committee and once in Esfahan detention center. His last visit took place on July 17, 1988.

Trial

Mr. Monshi Rudsari’s wife believes that his first trial took place in February or March of 1988, when she saw the court verdict, condemning her husband to six months imprisonment. He was denied the right to have an attorney.

According to his cellmates, Mr. Monshi Rudsari was taken to the three member committee in the summer of 1988. The political prisoners 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. This committee asked the leftist prisoners some questions about their beliefs and whether or not they believed in God.

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 then Minister of Justice Dr. Habibi, they argued 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 serving when they were retried and sentenced to death.

Charges

No charge has been publicly leveled against the victims of the 1988 mass executions. In their letters to the Minister of Justice (1988), and to the UN Special Rapporteur visiting Iran (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.

Defendants, who did not belong to the Organization named by the leader of the Islamic Republic, may have been accused of being “anti-religion” for not having renounced their beliefs.

Evidence of guilt

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

Defense

No information is available on the 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 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 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.”

Judgment

The details regarding the execution sentence are not available. According to available information, leftist prisoners executed in 1988 were found to be “apostates.” Months after the executions, prison authorities informed the families about the executions and handed in 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 against holding memorial ceremonies.

The prison officials informed the family of his execution and returned Mr. Monshi Rudsari’s clothes and pictures of his children. His will was not returned to the family. Mr. Monshi Rudsari had hidden his wedding ring and some pieces of paper in the trousers. On the papers, he had written poetry.

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