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

Ebrahim Dadkhah Tirani

About

Age: 54
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Islam (Shi'a)
Civil Status: Married

Case

Date of Killing: October 11, 1979
Location: Najaf Abad, Esfahan Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Shooting
Charges: Assault and battery; Fighting against the revolution/blocking the path of God; Anti-revolutionary offense
Age at time of offense: 54

About this Case

was a farmer and was very experienced in horticulture and especially in the cultivation of grapes, which were his favorite fruit.

Information about the execution of Mr. Ebrahim Dadkhah Tirani, son of Monavar and Abolqasem, along with another person was published in Keyhan Newspaper on October 11, 1979. Additional information in this regard was obtained through Abdorrahman Boroumand Center’s interviews with a person close to Mr. Dadkhah Tirani on December 3, 2017 and March 30, 2018 (ABC interview), an ABC interview with a resident of Najaf Abad, a report published in the Etela’at Newspaper, a report by a group of lawyers* (Lawyer’s Report), ABC’s research, and documents available at ABC.

Mr. Dadkhah Tirani was born on October 29, 1928 in the Tiran area of Tiran and Karvan (or Karvand) County in Esfahan province. He was married with seven children (three daughters and four boys) and had elementary level education. His primary job was agriculture, and, according to a person close to him, he was very experienced in horticulture and especially in the cultivation of grapes, which were his favorite fruit. Due to Mr. Dadkhah Tirani’s credibility and popularity in the Tiran area, he helped local authorities to resolve disputes among the residents of the city. Mr. Dadkhah Tirani was an active member of the Rastakhiz Party of Iran**. His acquaintances remember him as a very patriotic person. 

Background

Before the 1979 revolution, Tiran County and the city of Najaf Abad had a disagreement over political issues and the rights to water resources. Mr. Dadkhah Tirani, as one of the most influential people in Tiran, tried to make Tiran the governor’s center and remove Tiran from the authority of Najaf Abad’s municipal governorate. The efforts of the representative of Tiran and Najaf Abad in the pre-revolutionary National Consultative Assembly to redirect the rivers which passed through Tiran to Najaf Abad, intensified the disputes. Since Mr. Dadkhah Tirani had worked to secure Tiran residents’ water resources rights for 25 years on behalf of the Esfahan provincial governorate, he was at the center of these disputes (ABC interview).

A majority of the citizens of Najaf Abad were opposed to the Pahlavi government. Some of the influential leaders of the revolution were from this city. In December 1978 (Muharram 1399), in the chaos preceding the revolution, events detailed below occurred in the city of Najaf Abad, which, after several months and with the victory of the Islamic Revolution, lead to the arrest of Mr. Dadkhah Tirani along with the head of the Gendarmerie in Tiran. These individuals were then charged with involvement in these incidents (ABC interview).

According to the news published on the events of the 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th of Muharram, 1399 (December 11, 12, 13 and 14, 1978), a report by a group of lawyers on this matter and ABC interviews, it is inferred that the events in Najaf Abad can be separated into three episodes:

1) Muharram 10th, 1399 (December 11, 1978): According to available information, a group of young people in Najaf Abad pulled down the statue of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi in the main square of the city on this day (ABC interview).

2) Muharram 11th and 12th, 1399 (December 12 and 13, 1978): After the statue of the Shah was pulled down, a group of officers including municipal police and SAVAK (Organization of National Intelligence and Security) agents from the city of Najaf Abad along with a number of residents of the city of Yazdanshahr (a city near Najaf Abad with a mostly Lur population) in a punitive operation, identified the revolutionaries in the city, attacked their houses and stores, burned some of their houses and stores as well as the city’s bazaar, broke many stores’ windows and plundered them, and assaulted many people in Najaf Abad and killed some of them (ABC interview and Lawyers’ Report).

In the chaos preceding the revolution, some events occurred in the city of Najaf Abad, which, with the victory of the Islamic Revolution, lead to the arrest of Mr. Dadkhah Tirani.

3) Muharram 13th, 1399 (December 14, 1978): A large number of people from villages and towns near Najaf Abad (including Tiran County) were persuaded and organized by government officers to stage a stret protest in favor of the government in Esfahan. One of the residents of Tiran, who was a witness to the event, estimates that several thousand people in a long line of cars drove towards Esfahan. They carried pictures of the Shah and the flag of Iran and shouted “Long Live the Shah”. Military vehicles, at the beginning and end of the line, escorted and directed the cars. The caravan entered the city of Najaf Abad, passing toward Esfahan without any conflict. On the way out of the city of Najaf Abad, a number of tanks and military vehicles blocked the road, preventing the cars from going forward and forcing them to return. The eyewitness added that as the caravan was heading back, some Najaf Abad residents attacked the cars by throwing stones and Molotov cocktails, which the military responded to by shooting (ABC interview).

The information obtained from the informants and residents of Tiran and Najaf Abad about these incidents in Najaf Abad during the above-mentioned dates and the extent of the involvement of the residents of Tiran in these events is conflicting. According to a resident of Najaf Abad, on Muharram 13th (December 14( an intense clash occurred between Tiran and Najaf Abad residents and many residents of Tiran were injured by Najaf Abad residents and, according to this eyewitness, a number of injured people from Tiran escaped and took refuge in the eyewitness’ father’s home. However, an interviewee from Tiran, who was an eyewitness during the incident, denied those claims and stated that no one from Tiran was injured or killed on Muharram 13th (December 14( (ABC interview).

Arrest and detention

In March 1979, Mr. Dadkhah Tirani was asked by agents of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Komiteh in Najaf Abad to identify one of the former members of the royal army. He went to the Najaf Abad Komiteh with his two sons and was held there until night on the pretext of polite conversation, and his sons were instructed to return home. The agents held Mr. Dadkhah Tirani at the Najaf Abad Komiteh for several weeks, with no detention sentence given to him or his family. After several weeks of detention, Mr. Dadkhah Tirani was transferred to a prison in Dorcheh, Esfahan and was detained there for five months. During this period, Mr. Dadkhah Tirani did not have access to a lawyer, but he was allowed to visit his family (ABC interview).

Trial

The Islamic Revolutionary Court in Esfahan tried Mr. Dadkhah Tirani in one session on June 26, 1979. At the trail session, which started at 6:00 PM and lasted until 8:00 PM, Mr. Dadkhah Tirani was tried simultaneously with the Head of the Gendarmerie of Tiran. Six days later, the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Esfahan issued a verdict against Mr. Dadkhah Tirani (ABC interview).

Despite the issuance of the verdict by the Revolutionary Court in Esfahan, Mr. Dadkhah Tirani was transferred to Najaf Abad, and the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Najaf Abad sentenced him again on the same evidence without a new trial.

About five months later, despite the issuance of the verdict by the Revolutionary Court in Esfahan, Mr. Dadkhah Tirani was transferred from the prison in Esfahan to Najaf Abad, and the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Najaf Abad sentenced him again on the same evidence without a new trial (ABC interview).

Mr. Dadkhah Tirani did not have access to a lawyer during his trial and the witnesses who had come to testify to his innocence were not allowed to attend court hearings.

Charges

The charges brought against Mr. Dadkhah Tirani included the mobilization of people wielding clubs who attacked Najaf Abad on Muharram 12th, 1399 (December 13, 1978), breaking the store’s windows, plundering the stores, and assaulting people (Verdict issued by the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Esfahan on July 2, 1979).

On October 11, 1979, Keyhan Newspaper cited a list of charges for both Mr. Dadkhah Tirani and the head of the Gendarmerie in Tiran, who were tried simultaneously. The charges included “harassment of oppressed people, beating people, forcible seizure of people’s property with the cover of dictatorial power, rape, mobilization of people wielding clubs, torture of [revolutionary] devotees, and participating in numerous murders” (Keyhan Newspaper). It is noteworthy that in this news, the charges against Mr. Dadkhah Tirani were not mentioned specifically and distinctly.

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

Evidence of guilt

The testimony of witnesses and the affidavits of neighbors were used as evidence against Mr. Dadkhah Tirani.

Defense

Mr. Dadkhah Tirani never accepted any of the charges which were brought against him and always emphasized his innocence.

There is no information available on the details of his defense. However, it is incontrovertible that neither Mr. Dadkhah Tirani nor the head of the Gendarmerie in Tiran are mentioned in reports on the Najaf Abad clash. According to a source close to Mr. Dadkhah Tirani, on Muharram 13th, 1399 (December 14, 1978) Mr. Dadkhah Tirani was in the village of Hajiabad with some friends. He was confronted with the caravan while returning home, and since he was a well-known person, drivers requested that Mr. Dadkhah Tirani accompany them.

On October 11, 1979, Keyhan Newspaper referred on the trial of Mr. Dadkhah Tirani and the head of the Gendarmerie in Tiran by the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Esfahan, and the sentence which was issued by that court. However, the news further cited a retrial by the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Najaf Abad, and reported: “Yesterday (a day before the execution), the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Najaf Abad ended its review of the cases of two agents of the former regime” and sentenced them again. However, a person close to Mr. Dadkhah Tirani rejected the claim that Mr. Dadkhah Tirani was tried a second time by the Najaf Abad Revolutionary Court and stated that Mr. Dadkhah Tirani’s family did not have any information regarding the re-trial and the death sentence. The source stated that Mr. Dadkhah Tirani was not informed about the court’s order until the evening before his execution.

His name was never mentioned in reports on the Najaf Abad clash.

While Mr. Dadkhah Tirani was in detention (about 5 to 6 months), some people drove around nearby cities and villages addressing people with a loudspeaker and encouraged them to file complaints against Mr. Dadkhah Tirani, actions which led to the filing of at least two complaints. One of the plaintiffs was a resident of Tiran who claimed that his father was killed by Mr. Dadkhah Tirani. He claimed that Mr. Dadkhah Tirani had told his father -who had a skin disorder- not to go to the public bath until recovery, whereupon his father had a nervous attack and died.  Another person claimed that Mr. Dadkhah Tirani was responsible for damages to his store owing to widespread allegations that Mr. Dadkhah Tirani led the people who had demonstrated in Najaf Abad in favor of the Shah (ABC interview).

In all sources which explained Mr. Dadkhah Tirani’s charges, there is no evidence of his guilt, nothing to prove a connection with the killing of even one person in Najaf Abad, and no mention of a legal complaint against him in this regard.

Judgment

The Islamic Revolutionary Court in Najaf Abad sentenced Mr. Dadkhah Tirani to death. However, Mr. Dadkhah Tirani had been previously tried at the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Esfahan and sentenced to two years of imprisonment.

According to a person close to Mr. Dadkhah Tirani, all his property (including a flock of sheep, household belongings, and even the cash in his wife’s wallet) was seized without a court order.

The transfer of Mr. Dadkhah Tirani from Esfahan to Najaf Abad and the issuance of his death sentence by the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Najaf Abad were done despite the fact that the spokesman of the Revolutionary Court in Esfahan stated,“The Islamic Revolutionary Court in Esfahan will try Mr. Dadkhah Tirani and the head of the Gendarmerie in Tiran again, only if new complaints against these two defendants are filed. If there is a new complaint against them, it is necessary for it to be filed at the court. The new trial will be held based on new complaints and new charges. Regarding their past committed crimes, the court’s order is valid and will not be renewed” (Available documents in ABC).

After Mr. Dadkhah Tirani was transferred to Najaf Abad, his family brought the case to Ayatollah Khomeini’s office. On September 24, 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini’s office sent a letter to the Revolutionary Chief Public Prosecutor asking for the return of Mr. Dadkhah Tirani to Esfahan and the implementation of his two-year imprisonment sentence. According to the letter: “... People in Najaf Abad demonstrated against the verdict of the Esfahan court based on emotions... and it is certain that if [Mr. Dadkhah Tirani] is tried in Najaf Abad, the ruling may not be free of emotion...”

In the report made by Revolutionary Chief Public Prosecutor, dated on September 30, 1979, in response to a letter sent by the Islamic Revolutionary Prosecution Office in Esfahan on September 29, 1979, it is mentioned: “... it was established that the accused party, Ebrahim Dadkhah Tirani, stay in Esfahan and not be sent to Najaf Abad, and that the ruling of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Esfahan is currently binding.” However, the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Najaf Abad disregarded the verdict issued by the Revolutionary Court in Esfahan and issued the death sentence for Mr. Dadkhah Tirani without any new charge.

The history of local political hostilities between Tiran and Najaf Abad before the revolution lead to the death sentence for Mr. Dadkhah Tirani.

The charges brought against Mr. Dadkhah Tirani resulted in a two-year imprisonment sentence, and no information is available on the charges that resulted in the death sentence issued against him. It seems that the history of local political hostilities between Tiran and Najaf Abad before the revolution lead to the death sentence for Mr. Dadkhah Tirani.

On October 11, 1979, Mr. Ebrahim Dadkhah Tirani was executed by firing squad in Najaf Abad Prison.

In his will, which Mr. Dadkhah Tirani dictated to one of his cellmates, Mr. Dadkhah Tirani clearly emphasized his innocence: “I committed no crime, and I did not deserve to be executed. You yourselves [the officials], the people, my family and all my friends know that I was illegally imprisoned for 216 days. I shall die, but my name will not be tarnished with shame. Shame would be staying with you [officials of the Islamic Republic]” (Mr. Ebrahim Dadkhah Tirani’s will - October 10, 1979).

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*   A report by a group of lawyers on the events of Najaf Abad – Iran history website:On December 16, 1978, a group of lawyers from Tehran, including (1) Dr. Mohammad Taqi Damqani- attorney at law and a member of the Board of Directors of the Bar Association, (2) Ahmad Sadr Haj Seyed Javadi- Attorney at law, (3) Mir Shams Shahshahani- Deputy Head of a Central Provincial Prosecutor’s Office, and (4) Kazem Kashef- Deputy of General Inspection Organization, the special agent of the Ministry of Justice, and a representative of the Bar Association, reported their observations and discussions with the authorities and the residents of Najaf Abad during a trip lasting a few hours: http://tarikhirani.ir/fa/news/30/bodyView/3203 
**  The Rastakhiz Party of the People of Iran, known as the Rastakhiz Party, was formed on March 2, 1975 by the order of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, and all the other licensed and legal parties and syndicates in Iran, such as the Iran Novin Party, the Party of Iranian People, the Pan-Iranist Party, and the Iranians’ Party were merged into it. The structure and organization of this party were based on three principles: “the imperial system, the constitution, and the Shah and People’s Revolution (White Revolution)”.

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