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

Sorush Jabari

About

Age: 44
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Baha'i
Civil Status: Unknown

Case

Date of Killing: March 3, 1987
Location: Evin Prison, Tehran, Tehran Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Unknown charge
Age at time of offense: 42

About this Case

News of Mr. Sorush Jabbari’s execution was published in the Archives of Baha’i Persecution in Iran (June 13, 2019). Mr. Jabbari’s name is also mentioned in the List of Baha’i Martyrs and Prominent Persons (January 11, 2017).

Mr. Jabbari was one of the 206 individuals whose name was published in the Worldwide Baha’i Community’s 1999 report. This report, entitled The Baha’i Question: Iran’s Secret Blueprint for the Destruction of a Religious Community”, dealt with the persecution of members of the Baha’i faith in Iran by the Islamic Republic, and contained a list of Baha’is who were killed in Iran since 1979.

Mr. Jabbari was born into a Baha’i family on September 11, 1942, in the town of Sissan in Eastern Azarbaijan Province. He and his family moved to the town of Miyaneh after a few years. He completed part of his high school education there until the age of 16 and then moved to Tehran to continue his education. After obtaining his high school diploma, he started working for a construction company as a draftsman, and gradually became the head of the drafting department. Mr. Jabbari was fired in 1982 for being an adherent of the Baha’i faith.

Upon closure of the Baha’is’ administrative offices in Iran in 1982-83, Mr. Jabbari was appointed as member of a board charged with handling the affairs of the Baha’i community.

The Baha’is in the Islamic Republic of Iran: Background

The Baha’i religious community is the largest minority group in Iran, with approximately 300,000 members in 1979 (more current figures are not available).*  The authorities of the Islamic Republic have subjected Baha’is religious  to systematic harassment and persecution, depriving them of their most fundamental human rights. The Baha’i religion is not recognized under the Constitution of the Islamic Republic, and Iranian authorities refer to it as a heresy. As a result, the Baha’is have been denied the rights associated with the status of a religious minority; they cannot profess and practice their faith and are banned from public functions. Discrimination under the law and in practice has subjected them to abuse and violence. **

Arrest and detention

On September 15, 1984, Mr. Jabbari was arrested along with five other Baha’i Community Board members. No one knew where he was being detained for two and a half months. After a while, his family found out that Mr. Jabbari was at Karaj’s Gohardasht Prison. Mr. Jabbari was ultimately transferred to Evin Prison. He was in prison for two years and six months.

Trial

No information is available Mr. Jabbari’s trial.

Charges

The charge brought against Mr. Jabbari is not known.

Evidence of guilt

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

Defense

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

Judgment

On March 3, 1987, Mr. Sorush Jabbari was hanged at Tehran’s Evin Prison.

Mr. Jabbari’s body was not turned over to his family and the family believes he was probably buried by government agents.

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* ‘Slow Death for Iran’s Baha’is’ by Richard N. Ostling, Time Magazine,20 February 1984. Also see ‘The Persecution of the Baha’is of Iran, 1844-1984, by Douglas Martin, Baha’i Studies,volume 12/13, 1984, p. 3. There is no information about the current number of Baha’is in Iran.
** The Islamic Republic Penal Code grants no rights to Baha’is, and the courts have denied them the right to redress or to protection against assault, murder, and other forms of persecution and abuse. In so doing, the courts have treated Baha’is as unprotected citizens or “apostates,” citing eminent religious authorities whose edicts are considered a source of law equal to acts of Parliament. The Founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khomeini, made execution a punishment for the crime of apostasy and decreed that a Muslim would not be punished for killing an apostate.
Banishment from public functions has seriously damaged the Baha’is’ professional, economic, and social lives. Soon after the revolution, a Ministry of Labor directive called for the dismissal from public office and all governmental organizations and associations of those “who belong to any of the misguided sects recognized by all Muslims as heretical deviations from Islam, or to organizations whose doctrine and constitution are based on rejection of the divinely-revealed religions.” Finally, the mandatory requirement of specifying religion in application forms and official documents (lifted recently in some areas under international pressure) has seriously limited Baha’is’ freedoms and opportunities in all areas of their lives including divorce, inheritance, access to universities and travel.
In practice, since 1980, thousands of Baha’is have lost their jobs, pensions, businesses, properties and educational opportunities. By banning the Baha’i administration including Spiritual Assemblies -  the elected bodies that lead and administer the affairs of Baha’i communities at both local and national levels -  the Islamic Republic has denied Baha’is the right to meet, elect, and operate their religious institutions. Further, the Iranian government has executed at least 200 Baha’is and has imprisoned, tortured, and pressured to convert to Islam scores more.
Because of the unanimous international condemnation of the persecution of this quietist, apolitical religious community, Iranian authorities do not always admit that the Baha’is are being punished for their religious beliefs. Therefore, judicial authorities have often charged Baha’is with offenses such as “being involved in counter-revolutionary activities,” “having supported the former regime,” “being agents of Zionism,” or “being involved with prostitution, adultery, and immorality.”

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