Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Akbar Aqbashlu


Age: 26
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Non-Believer
Civil Status: Married


Date of Killing: August 29, 1981
Location of Killing: Evin Prison, Tehran, Tehran Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Shooting
Charges: War on God; Possession of arms; Living in safe houses; Corruption on earth

About this Case

The news about execution of Mr. Aqbashlu was announced by the public relations office of prosecutor general for the central branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Court and was published in Jomhouri Eslami newspaper on August 30, 1981. The press release reads as follows: “In the name of God, ‘O ye who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to people.’ [sic] Hail to the warriors who are at the front of the war against global heresy led by the bloodthirsty America, and hail to the heroic and the martyr-cultivating Umma that diminishes the space for the heartless and criminal Monafeqin (hypocrites) at the inner fronts. Every day, Umma arrests another group of these anti-Quran and anti-Islam criminals and turns them to the security forces and the judiciary. Every day the Umma responds to Quran’s calling that says ‘O Prophet, fight against the disbelievers and the hypocrites and be harsh upon them.’” Mr. Aqbashlu’s wife, Ms. Ladan Bayani, was executed at the same time with him. His his borther, Mr. Babak Aqabashlu, was executed a month later.*

Mr. Aqbashlu’s name is among the 12,028 individuals listed in an addendum to the Mojahed magazine (No 261), published by Mojahedin Khalq Organization in 1985. The list includes individuals, affiliated with various opposition groups, who were executed or killed during clashes with the Islamic Republic security forces from June 1981 to the publication date of the magazine.

The Boroumand Foundation received additional information about Mr. Aqbashlu through an electronic form sent by a person familiar with this case. According to this information, Mr. Aqbashlu, son of Ali, was born in Tabriz in 1955. He was married and had a Bachelor’s degree in physics and a Master’s degree in English translation. He began his political activities in high school and was imprisoned for a year during the Shah’s regime because of an essay that he wrote in school. During the revolution, Mr. Aqbashlu, under the pseudonym “Ayub,” was an active member of the Peykar Organization. In 1980, Mr. Aqbashlu and some others split from Peykar Organization and founded another group called Red Star. Mr. Aqbashlu, under the pseudonym Amir Sabzevari, was the leader of the Red Star and the chief editor of its publication.

The Peykar Organization for the Liberation of the Working Class was founded by a number of dissident members of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization who had converted to Marxism-Leninism. Peykar was also joined by a number of political organizations, known as Khat-e Se (Third line). The founding tenets of Peykar included the rejection of guerrilla struggle and a strong stand against the pro-Soviet policies of the Iranian Tudeh Party. Peykar viewed the Soviet Union as a “Social imperialist” state, believed that China had deviated from the Marxist-Leninist principles, and radically opposed all factions of the Islamic regime of Iran. The Red Star group ( Setareh-ye Sorkh), was created by a number of individuals who split from Peykar in 1980 over tactical disagreements. The group was opposed to the Islamic Republic regime, rejected armed struggle, and believed in the fundamental role of organizing the industrial and agricultural labor force, and the student movement. The brutal repression of dissidents by the Iranian government in 1981 caused the dismantling of the Red Star.

Arrest and detention

According to the information sent through the electronic form, Mr. Aqbashlu was arrested, along with his wife, Ms. Ladan Bayani, in a safe house in Shahr-Ara street in Tehran on June 28, 1981. The Revolutionary Guards had surrounded the safe house and began shooting, during which Mr. Aqbashlu was shot in the leg. His family had no news of his whereabouts and there was no visitation.


No information is available on Mr. Aqbashlu’s trial.


According to the press release by the public relations office of prosecutor general for the central branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Court, published in Jomhouri Eslami newspaper on October 21, 1981, Mr. Aqbashlu was charged with membership in a safe house, being responsible for the Red Star publication, being corrupt on earth, being rebellious against Emam , waging war against God, and for plotting and armed opposition against the Islamic Revolution .

The validity of the criminal charges brought against this accused cannot be ascertained in the absence of the basic guarantees of a fair trial.

Evidence of guilt

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


No information is available on Mr. Aqbashlu’s defense.


According to the electronic information sent to the Boroumand Foundation, Mr. Aqbashlu was executed by a firing squad at the Evin prison in Tehran on August 29, 1981. His family learned about his execution by reading about it in Jomhuri Eslami newspaper. Mr. Aqbashlu’s body was not released to his family. The family was told that he was buried in the Khavaran cemetery in Tehran. There is no further information about this execution, but given the fact that Peykar Organization had originated from the Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO), and that its members officially pronounced themselves as non-believers, and given that the above-mentioned press release from the prosecutor’s office refers to the “war against global heresy,” it is possible that Mr. Aqbashlu’s execution was in fact for his beliefs and related to apostasy.


* The quoted phrases are translations from Arabic excerpts of Quran. The first phrase is misquoted in original. The accurate Quran verse 4:135 reads as follows: “O ye who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah.”

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