Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Ali Mohammad Partovi


Age: 41
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Non-Believer
Civil Status: Married


Date of Killing: August 29, 1988
Location of Killing: Evin Prison, Tehran, Tehran Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Unspecified execution method
Charges: Counter revolutionary opinion and/or speech

About this Case

Information about Mr. Ali Mohammad Partovi, son of Hamid, was taken from an interview with his sister. A friend sent additional information to Omid via an electronic form. Mr. Partovi was 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 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.  Information about the mass executions has been gathered by the Boroumand Foundation from the memoir of Ayatollah Montazeri, reports by human rights organizations, interviews with victims’ families, and witnesses’ memoirs.

Mr. Patrovi was born in Tabriz in June of 1947. He was married and a mechanical engineer. His childhood friend states, “He was compassionate and spiritual. He encouraged us to pray. He loved listening to the radio, and he listened to foreign radio programs in Farsi. … His father had passed away, and he helped out his mother and sisters … .”

He began his political activities in the mid-1960s. He was one of the founders of the Fadaiyan Khalq Guerilla Organization. He was arrested in 1971. He attempted to escape but was shot three times and arrested. He suffered from this injury for the rest of his life. He was then tried in a court martial,          which condemned him to death. However, due to international outcry, his sentence was quashed and reduced to life imprisonment. He spent 8 years in different prisons of the previous regime. He was eventually released in the last group of political prisoners freed on January 20, 1979.

After the 1979 revolution, he continued his work with the Fadaiyan Khalq Organization for some time. He was asked to be in charge of the labor section. His sister says that he was not happy with this post. He used to say, “I was in prison and I’m familiar with the workers. What can I tell them? The young activists and sympathizers know the workers much better than I do.” He later left the FKO and joined the Sahand Organization.

The Sahand Organization (or Ettehad-e Mobarezan-e Komonist”) was founded after the Islamic Revolution of February 1979, with the specific goal of focusing on theory and ideology.  Upon being designed and developed by Sahand, the Communist Party of Iran was founded in 1982 by Sahand and Komala together, along with the remaining members of such other Communist organizations as Peykar, Razmandegan, and certain affiliates of the Fadaiyan Khalq. Later, Sahand itself was divided into a number of various factions. Once the principal pillar of the Communist Party of Iran, Komala then separated from the Party. The Communist Party of Iran is now composed mostly of Sahand members and there is a Kurdistan organization affiliated with it, which also calls itself Komala.

Overall, Mr. Partovi spent 14 years of his life in prison. Both before and after the revolution, he was seen as a resistant prisoner who remained steadfast on his beliefs. That is why other prisoners liked him. He was also very kind and sincere. His sister describes his honesty by saying, “He was transparent.” He analyzed and thought deeply about issues that mattered to him. He had a good relation with my mother and sisters. Another of his characteristics was that he was humble. When the political prisoners were released in 1979, the public saw them as symbols of heroism. But Mr. Patrovi did not want to be seen as a hero.

Arrest and detention

Mr. Partovi was arrested on September 22, 1982, by the revolutionary guards on the road from Mashhad to Tehran. He was then taken to Tehran and kept at Tohid Prison.

Tohid prison, which consisted mostly of solitary cells, was named the Joint Anti-Sabotage Committee, prior to the revolution, and used it as a place to interrogate and torture prisoners. After the revolution, it was renamed, but its function remained the same. It was first called Ward 3000 and then Tohid Prison. In the late 1990s, it became the Ebrat Museum.

After the interrogation, Mr. Partovi was transferred to Evin Prison, where he was kept for the rest of his imprisonment. In Evin, he had visits with his family members and was allowed to write to them once a month, using special prison letter forms. His last letter to his sister is dated July 24, 1988. A few days later, the massacre of political prisoners began.


Specific details about the circumstances of the trials that led to the execution of Mr. Partovi 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.  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 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.


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 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 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. Partovi.


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


Prior to the execution, Mr. Partovi and a few other prisoners who had long prison terms were taken to the solitary confinement section of Evin. Survivors of the massacre say that he was singing in his native language of Azeri. He told the three-member committee, “You know me. Why do you ask me about principles of Islam?”  Based on the reports of his cellmates, Mr. Partovi was executed in Evin on August 29, 1988.

Months after the execution, his family members went to visit him in prison, only to find out that he had been executed. His older sister received the news and did not tell their mother until after they both visited his younger sister, who was also in Evin Prison at the time.

Families of the victims of the 1988 massacre were banned from holding memorial services for their loved ones. Nevertheless, Mr. Partovi’s mother did hold a memorial for him. Relatives came to the memorial from other cities such as Tabriz. Mr. Partovi is buried in a mass grave in Khavaran cemetery.


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