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

Ebadollah Fat'hi

About

Age: 21
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Islam
Civil Status: Unknown

Case

Date of Killing: December 10, 1989
Location: Rasht Prison (Lakan), Rasht, Gilan Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: War on God, God's Prophet and the deputy of the Twelfth Imam; Counter revolutionary opinion and/or speech

About this Case

A strong-minded young man who rebelled against both his country's despotic rule and the dictates of his own political party

Mr. Ebadollah Fathi is among 3,208 members of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) whose execution was reported by the organization in a book entitled “Crime against Humanity”. This book documents the 1988-89 mass execution of political prisoners. Supplemental information, including documentation regarding Mr. Fathi’s execution and burial, was provided to the Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation (ABF) by his brother, Vazir Fathi. Mr. Vazir Fathi, who himself was imprisoned for ten years was one of the few prisoners that met with Mr. Reynaldo Galindo Pohl, the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on Iran, in his third visit to Iran in December of 1992. In his visit with Mr. Galindo Pohl, Mr. Vazir Fathi mentioned his brother’s execution.

Mr. Fathi was born in Rasht. His family was politically active. His political beliefs were shaped by the writings of Mr. Ali Shariati (a contemporary Iranian revolutionary and sociologist). In 1983, he formed a political study group with his friends. He had been imprisoned in 1983 at the Revolutionary Guards’ prison in Rasht for six months for these political activities. He was later released on bail due to lack of evidence against him.

According to the information sent to the ABF, Shortly after his release, Mr. Fathi left the country and, under the pseudonym Yaser, joined the Mojahedin Khalq Organization in Iraq (MKO). He was badly injured in a military operation by a bullet in his chest and a piece of shell in his thigh. After the Mojahedin’s ideological revolution, Mr. Fathi became discontent with the Mojahedin ideology and as a result spent three months in a MKO’s prison in Iraq. After these three months imprisonment, Masud Rajavi (one of the leaders of Mojahedin) personally came to speak with him in order to convince him to return to the Mojahedin. Mr. Fathi, however, did not agree and ended up leaving the MKO. In February of 1989, after five years in Iraq, Mr. Fathi left the camp of the Democratic Kordestan Party, where he was staying as a guest, and returned to Iran illegally. He began living underground in Rashat and immediately purchased a large number of books including all of Shariati’s writings. Mr. Fathi’s brother, who was in Evin prison since February 1983, tried to convince him to leave the country.

The Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) was founded in 1965. This organization adapted the principals of Islam as its ideological guideline. However, its members’ interpretation of Islam was revolutionary and they believed in armed struggle against the Shah’s regime. They valued Marxism as a progressive method for economic and social analysis but considered Islam as their source of inspiration, culture, and ideology. In the 1970s, the MKO was weakened when many of its members were imprisoned and executed. In 1975, following a deep ideological crisis, the organization refuted Islam as its ideology and, after a few of its members were killed and other Muslim members purged, the organization proclaimed Marxism as its ideology. This move led to split of the Marxist-Leninist Section of the MKO in 1977. In January of 1979, the imprisoned Muslim leaders of the MKO were released along with other political prisoners. They began to re-organize the MKO and recruit new members based on Islamic ideology. After the 1979 Revolution and the establishment of the Islamic Republic, the MKO accepted the leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini and supported the Revolution. Active participation in the political scene and infiltration of governmental institutions were foremost on the organization’s agenda. During the first two years after the Revolution, the MKO succeeded in recruiting numerous sympathizers, especially in high schools and universities; but its efforts to gain political power, either by appointment or election, were strongly opposed by the Islamic Republic leaders.*

Arrest and detention

Based on the supplemental information sent to the Boroumand Foundation, 17 days after entering Iran, Mr. Fathi went to visit his parents. On his way back from his parents’ house, Mr. Fathi was identified and attacked by three Hezbollah individuals. He tried to escape, but was arrested by the Revolutionary Guards and taken to the Navy prison in Rasht. For two months in this prison, Mr. Fathi was kept in solitary confinement without any visitation and was viciously tortured. Later he was transferred to a prison in Tehran for more interrogation and torture. After four months imprisonment in Tehran, Mr. Fathi was transferred back to the Navy prison in Rasht, where he was again kept in solitary confinement without any visitation. Finally, after eight months in solitary confinement, Mr. Fathi was allowed to visit his family in December of 1989. The visit was conducted from a distance and over a screen, but his family were allowed to bring some food and fruits for him and pass it on through the prison guards. Less than a week from that visit, the authorities called Mr. Fathi’s father and told him to go back alone for another visit. In this visit, which was also conducted from a distance and over a screen, Mr. Fathi consoled his father who was worried about him. The next day, Mr. Fathi was executed.

Trial

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

Charges

No information is available Mr. Fathi’s charges.

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

Evidence of guilt

The report of Mr. Fathi’s execution did not provide any specific information on the evidence presented against him.

Defense

No information is available on the defendant’s defense.

Judgment

According to the supplemental information sent to the Boroumand Foundation, Mr. Fathi was executed on December 10, 1989. The day after his execution, the authorities contacted his father telling him to return to the prison to pick up Mr. Fathi’s personal belongings. His death certificate mentions the cause of death: execution. Only after Mr. Fathi’s father’s strong insistence, the prosecutor of the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Rasht agreed to deliver Mr. Fathi’s body to his family on the condition of having no burial, no ceremony, and no writing on his tomb besides date of birth and date of death. According to his brother, his body was showing recent torture marks. Despite these conditions and the heavy presence of the security forces, a burial ceremony for Mr. Fathi took place. While some of Mr. Fathi’s relatives did not attend the burial due to their fear of the regime, a number of brave non-relatives attended the burial and carried his coffin. Mr. Fathi was thus buried at the Tazeh Abad cemetery in Rasht, near the collective burial place for victims of the massacre of political prisoners in 1988.

According to the supplemental information sent to the Boroumand Foundation, years later, in 1997, the authorities forced Mr. Fathi’s father to return the official documents of Mr. Fathi’s execution (including his burial certificate, will, and the morgue report) under the pretext that “some mistakes need to be corrected.” Mr. Fathi’s old father, after being summoned to the Intelligence office, subject to harsh treatment, threats, insults, being blind folded and forced to stay standing, and after suffering an asthma attack, returned the above-mentioned documents to the authorities. In March 2005, Mr. Fathi’s brother was summoned to the Ministry of Intelligence for another reason, he was told: “who said we executed Ebad? Do you have any evidence? Don’t say such a thing again! We are warning you!”

 

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*The exclusion of MKO members from government offices and the closure of their centers and publishing houses, in conjunction with to the Islamic Republic authorities’ different interpretation of Islam, widened the gap between the two. Authorities of the new regime referred to the Mojahedin as “Hypocrites” and the Hezbollahi supporters of the regime attacked the Mojahedin sympathizers regularly during demonstrations and while distributing publications, leading to the death of several MKO supporters. On June 20, 1981, the MKO called for a demonstration protesting their treatment by governmental officials and the government officials’ efforts to impeach their ally, President Abolhassan Banisadr. Despite the fact that the regime called this demonstration illegal, thousands came to the streets, some of whom confronted the Revolutionary Guardsmen and Hezbollahis. The number of casualties that resulted from this demonstration is unknown but a large number of demonstrators were arrested and executed in the following days and weeks. The day after the demonstration, the Islamic Republic regime started a repressive campaign – unprecedented in modern Iranian history. Thousands of MKO members and sympathizers were arrested or executed. On June 21, 1981, the MKO announced an armed struggle against the Islamic Republic and assassinated a number of high-ranking officials and supporters of the Islamic regime. *

In the summer of 1981, the leader of the MKO and the impeached President (Banisadr) fled Iran to reside in France, where they founded the National Council of Resistance. After the MKO leaders and many of its members were expelled from France, they went to Iraq and founded the National Liberation Army of Iran in 1987, which entered Iranian territory a few times during the Iran-Iraq war. They were defeated in July 1988 during their last operation, the Forugh Javidan Operation. A few days after this operation, thousands of imprisoned Mojahedin supporters were killed during the mass executions of political prisoners in 1988. Ever since the summer of 1981, the MKO has continued its activities outside of Iran. No information is available regarding members and activities of the MKO inside the country.

In spite of the “armed struggle” announcement by the MKO on June 20, 1981, many sympathizers of the organization had no military training, were not armed, and did not participate in armed conflict.

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