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

Hojat Zamani

About

Age: 31
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Single

Case

Date of Killing: February 7, 2006
Location: Raja’i Shahr (Gohardasht) Prison, Karaj, Alborz Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Corruption on earth; Bombing
Age at time of offense: 24

About this Case

News of Mr. Hojat Zamani’s execution was published in Iran newspaper, quoting the Judiciary Branch spokesperson, (February 22, 2006), by Amnesty International (February 17, 2006), on the Iran Press News website (February 15, 2006), in the Hojat Javidan weblog (March 7, 2006), and on the Aftab website (February 21, 2005). Additional information in this regard was obtained from the websites of Human Rights and Democracy Activists (February 6, 2008), Radio Free Europe (February 21, 2006), the Committee for the Follow Up of the Conditions of Rajaishahr Prison’s Political Prisoners (February 22, 2006) Radio Farda (April 30, 2005), Ettela’at newspaper (July 17, 2004), Amnesty International (February 3, 2004), Hamshahri newspaper (June 3, and 6, 1998), International Ettela’at newspaper (June 4, 1998), the Mojahedeen Khalq Organization of Iran website (May 1, 2017), and from Hojat Zamani’s weblog.

Mr. Zamani was born in a well-known family in Ilam County’s village of Haft Cheshmeh, and finished his elementary and high school education there. After going through the Teacher Training College, he began working as a teacher in Ilam schools.

Mr. Zamani was a very sensitive man and would become upset and start crying at hearing or seeing bad news. (Human Rights and Democracy Activists).

According to available information, Mr. Zamani joined the Mojahedeen Khalq Organization of Iran (MKO) in 1997-98. His two brothers, Khaz’al and Fallah were killed in skirmishes with the Revolutionary Guards in 1998 and 1999, when they were supporters of the MKO. Mr. Zamani’s case is related to a bombing on June 2, 1998.

The Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) was founded in 1965. This organization adapted the principles 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

Mr. Zamani was identified in Tehran’s Vanak Square in July 2000, and arrested by the Revolutionary Guards forces. (Mojahedeen Khalq Organization of Iran). Mr. Zamani was incarcerated at Evin and Gohardasht (Rajaishahr) Prisons for four years and seven months. He was taken to Evin’s Ward 209 for interrogations numerous times. (Iran Press News). According to available information, Mr. Zamani was subjected to physical and psychological torture during the interrogations, and went on several hunger strikes in 2004 and 2005, in protest of the prison conditions. (Mojahedeen Khalq Organization of Iran). Mr. Zamani was able to get out of prison and flee to Turkey 2003. He was arrested, however, on August 3, 2003, at Istanbul’s Taqsim Square by the Turkish Security Police and turned over to Iranian authorities. (Amnesty International).

Trial

Tehran Islamic Revolution Court Branch Six tried Mr. Zamani in the summer of 2004. He had a court-appointed lawyer but no information is available regarding his trial session(s).

Charges

The charges brought against Mr. Zamani were declared to be “supporting the Mojahedeen Khalq Organization of Iran and carrying out bombing”. (Iran newspaper). According to available information, Mr. Zamani was accused of having participated in the bombing of the Tehran Islamic Revolution Court Building on June 2, 1998, which resulted in the death of four people and injury to 22 others.

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

Evidence of guilt

The evidence used against Mr. Zamani was declared to be “the statements of plaintiffs and witnesses”.

Defense

In initial news disseminated right after the explosion in the Tehran Islamic Revolution Court Building, the reason for the explosion was stated to have been carelessness in transporting explosives related to a case being adjudicated in court. (Ettela’at International newspaper, Shahrvand newspaper). Furthermore, the Islamic Republic News Agency announced, quoting the head of the Firefighting and Safety Services Organization’s Public Relations: “Unfortunately two people were killed and 6 injured because of the explosion, and the injured were taken to the nearest hospital.” A person in the Islamic Revolutionary Prosecutor’s Office with knowledge of the case also stated that the reason for the explosion was negligence and carelessness in transporting and handling the explosive materials. Three days later, however, a news item quoting the Head of Tehran’s Islamic Revolution Courts said: “Based on the investigations conducted, operatives of the Monafeqeen grouplet (derogatory term used to refer to MKO) were involved in the explosion that took place on Tuesday in this Court’s building where three of our compatriots were martyred.” (Hamshahri newspaper). Mr. Zamani was not given the opportunity to hire an attorney of his choosing, and the court-appointed attorney did not object to the death sentence issued in his case. (Quoting Mr. Zamani’s brother on Radio Farda).

Judgment

In initial news disseminated right after the explosion in the Tehran Islamic Revolution Court Building, the reason for the explosion was stated to have been carelessness in transporting explosives related to a case being adjudicated in court. (Ettela’at International newspaper, Shahrvand newspaper). Furthermore, the Islamic Republic News Agency announced, quoting the head of the Firefighting and Safety Services Organization’s Public Relations: “Unfortunately two people were killed and 6 injured because of the explosion, and the injured were taken to the nearest hospital.” A person in the Islamic Revolutionary Prosecutor’s Office with knowledge of the case also stated that the reason for the explosion was negligence and carelessness in transporting and handling the explosive materials. Three days later, however, a news item quoting the Head of Tehran’s Islamic Revolution Courts said: “Based on the investigations conducted, operatives of the Monafeqeen grouplet (derogatory term used to refer to MKO) were involved in the explosion that took place on Tuesday in this Court’s building where three of our compatriots were martyred.” (Hamshahri newspaper). Mr. Zamani was not given the opportunity to hire an attorney of his choosing, and the court-appointed attorney did not object to the death sentence issued in his case. (Quoting Mr. Zamani’s brother on Radio Farda).

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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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