Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Hamid Montazeri


Age: 36
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Non-Believer
Civil Status: Married


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

About this Case

Information about Mr. Hamid Montazeri was gathered from an electronic form sent to the Boroumand Foundation and an interview with his daughter, Shokufeh Montazeri. Mr. Hamid Montazeri is also cited in the list published by the Fadaiyan Khalq Organization, Majority Branch on April of 2002, and the book, “Those Who Said No,” published in 1999 in Paris by the Association for the Defense of Political Prisoners and Prisoners of Conscience in Iran. He was a victim of the mass killings 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 from the Bidaran website. 

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 Fadaiyan Khalq (Minority) and the Peykar Organization, which opposed the Islamic Republic, as well as the Tudeh Party and the Fadaiyan Khalq (Majority), which did not.  

Mr. Hamid Montazeri, son of Abdolrasul, was born in Bam on July 29, 1952. He was married with two children, Shokufeh and Omid. His son, Omid, was born when his father was imprisoned. Mr. Hamid Montazeri received his elementary and high school education in Bam. Then he continued his education at the Law School of Tehran University. His school friends called him “Robin Hood,” since he was adventurist and very active. Before the revolution, during his college years, he was arrested and imprisoned until 1978. After the revolution, he joined the Rah-e Kargar Organization and, later, in 1980, he joined the Fadaiyan Khalq Majority Organization. He became a member of the Tehran Provincial Committee of this organization and participated in the first Congress of the organization in Tashkent, Soviet Union. He was an advisor to the Central Committee of the organization when arrested. 

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. After the 1979 Revolution, the organization, which renounced armed struggle, split over their support of the Islamic Republic and of the Soviet Union. The Fadaiyan Khalq Majority supported and considered the Islamic Republic as a revolutionary and anti-imperialist regime. After the spring of 1983, however, the Islamic Republic sought its members solely because of their political beliefs.

Arrest and detention

Mr. Hamid Montazeri was arrested, along with his pregnant wife, after leaving his sister’s house in Tehran, in August of 1986. Later, the family realized that he had been under surveillance by the Intelligence Ministry for awhile. They were both arrested and transferred to the Komiteh-Moshtarak prison.* 

After Mr. Montazeri was transferred to the Evin prison, he was allowed to visit his family behind a screen twice a month. During these visitations, his wife realized that he had been tortured severely. He could not walk normally and his hands and elbows were injured. He was very thin, and his hair had suddenly become grey. According to Shokufeh, Mr. Montazeri’s daughter, “the first visitation took place in April 1987. My mother had already been released, and she took me with her.”


Specific details about the circumstances of the trials that led to the execution of Mr. Hamid Montazeri are unknown. According to the testimonies of leftist political prisoners who were tried in Evin and Gohardasht Prisons 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 outdoor time. Toward the end of August, a three-member delegation composed of Hojatoleslam Eshraqi, the prosecutor, Hojatoleslam Nayyeri, the religious judge, and Hojatoleslam Purmohammadi, 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. During the summer of 1988, according to survivors, 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 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 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.  Based on the testimonies of the prisoners who were in prisons in the summer of 1988, the questions of the three-member committee from 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 who “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 Mr. Hamid Montazeri.


No information is available on Mr. Hamid Montazeri’s defense before the three-member committee.


Mr. Hamid Montazeri was executed during the mass killings of political prisoners in Evin Prison in 1988. Based on one of his cellmates having told his family, it’s possible that he had been executed in August of 1988. According to this cellmate, Hamid was taken from the prison cell in August, only a few days after the Forugh Javidan Operation,** and no one saw him again. 

One day, someone from the prison called his family and told them to go to the local Komiteh at Tarasht in Western Tehran. Authorities gave the family Mr. Montazeri’s belongings, including a damp towel and a watch that was his wife’s gift. The family went to the Khavaran cemetery right away. Other families had gone there before, digging up the ground, and recovered several bodies. They had identified a body by its face and clothes that Mr. Montazeri’s wife thought might be Hamid. 

Based on the Boroumand Foundation’s research, leftist prisoners executed in 1988 were determined 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. 

*The prison of Komiteh-e Moshtarak was an anti-terrorist place established during the Shah’s regime and was a center to interrogate and torture detainees. Later during the 80s, this place played a similar role and was called Tohid Prison. Another name of this prison was Section 3000 during early 80s. It consisted mostly from solitary confinement cells and was the place for interrogation and torture. It became a museum since 90s. 

**Mojahedin Khalq last operation, the Forugh Javidan Operation, was defeated in July 1988. A few days after this operation, thousands of imprisoned Mojahedin supporters were killed during the mass executions of political prisoners in 1988. 

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