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

Mansur Qodushim

About

Age: 51
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Judaism
Civil Status: Married

Case

Date of Killing: September 20, 1981
Location of Killing: Najaf Abad, Esfahan Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Shooting
Charges: Corruption on earth
Age at time of offense: 51

About this Case

Mr. Qodushim was Jewish and from the city of Esfahan. His father died when he was in sixth grade. He dropped out of school and became his family’s breadwinner as a street vendor. His work was his entire life. He used to say: “The country needs me like my children need me.”

News and information regarding the execution of Mr. Mansur Qodushim, son of Yahya, was obtained from an interview conducted by the Abdorrahman Boroumand Center with a person close to him. Additionally, news of the execution of Mr. Qodushim and three other individuals was published in Kayhan newspaper (September 21, 1981), of his execution along with four other individuals, quoting the Islamic Revolution Prosecutor General’s Office of Public Relations, in Jomhuri Eslami newspaper (September 21, 1981), and in Kayhan newspaper (September 26, 1981). (October 29, 2019).

Additional information about this case was obtained from the Decision of [city of] Qom Islamic Revolution High Court, Branch Two (September 11, 1981); a letter written by the Islamic Revolution of Iran Documentation Center to the Islamic Revolutionary Prosecutor for the towns of Shahreza and Najafabad (November 8, 1979); Mr. Qodushim’s letters to people close to him, including his will (September 20, 1981); Payam-e Iran newspaper (October 4, 1981); Khat-e Solh Monthly (November 23, 2013); Mr. Qodushim’s letter to the then-Head of the Judiciary High Council (November 1, 1980), Mr. Qodushim’s letter to the Governor of Esfahan Province (February 15, 1981), a letter written by the Islamic Revolution of Iran Documentation Center to the Islamic Revolutionary Prosecutor for the towns of Shahreza and Najafabad (November 8, 1980), Mr. Qodushim’s wife’s written account of her suffering, and Cheshmandaz website, Number 91, interview with Seyyed Mohammad Kazem Mussavi Bojnurdi (May-June, 2015).

Mr. Qodushim was born in 1930-31, in Bandar Anzali. He was Jewish and resided in Esfahan. He was married and had one son and two daughters. Mr. Qodushim lost his father when he was still a child, and was forced to drop out of school in sixth grade and start working. Through hard work and perseverance, he was able to start a small textile factory in the small town of Golshahr near Esfahan. In 1967-68, this small factory became the large “Mihanbaf Textile” factory. Beginning in 1970-71, he started running the Najafabad Textile (spinning and looming) Private Corporation. 2000 people were employed at these two factories and it supplied the country with a share of its textile needs.

Mr. Qodushim was a principal shareholder and the Managing Director of these two factories. He was a member of the Iran Textile Industries Association.

According to Mr. Qodushim’s wife, he was a hardworking and principled family man; he liked people and his country; he was a man of faith and believed in serving the people. “He singlehandedly transformed the little subdivision that was Golshahr into a town. He built houses for workers. He built schools for the children’s education. He paid for young workers’ weddings out of his own pocket… The people of Najafabad and Golshahr were always praying for him. In short, he had become a very popular and well-liked man…” (Mr. Qodushim’s wife’s account of her suffering).

Even after the Revolution, Mr. Qodushim was chosen by the then-Governor of Esfahan Province as an exemplary managing director. (Cheshmanadaz website). He was arrested three times in the summer and fall of 1980. The first time was in July or August, where he spent 80 days in detention. According to his wife “he was thrown in jail for being Jewish (!) and for cooperating with Zionists…” (Mr. Qodushim’s wife’s account of her suffering).

Mr. Qodushim was released each time with the help of his friends and colleagues and because of protests by his factories’ workers [in his support]. However, local authorities confiscated his factories to investigate them, and appointed a new Board of Directors to run the factories’ financial and administrative affairs. Upon his release, Mr. Qodushim actively tried to take his factories back. (Mr. Qodushim’s wife’s account of her suffering).

Arrest and detention

Mr. Qodushim was arrested for the last time in early September of 1981. He was incarcerated at Najafabad Prison. (Payam-e Iran, October 4, 1981, Khat-e Solh Monthly, November 23, 2013).

Trial

Najafabad Islamic Revolutionary Court tried Mr. Qodushim in five sessions. (Islamic Revolution High Court, Branch Two’s Decision, September 11, 1981). He was not represented by an attorney. No information is available regarding the details of the trial sessions and the trial dates.

Charges

The Islamic Revolution Prosecutor General’s Office of Public Relations stated the charges against Mr. Qodushim as “espionage; sending financial assistance to Israel during the Arab-Israeli war, solidifying the rule of the Pahlavi regime (monarchy); illegal sale of land; cooperation with the SAVAK (the country’s security and information organization during the previous regime); planning to fight and oppress the clergy and the people; establishing contact with little American and anti-revolutionary groups and agreeing to cooperate with them; attempting to entice officers in order to corrupt and pay them bribes”. (Jomhuri Eslami newspaper, September 21, 1981).

The validity of the criminal charges brought against this defendant cannot be ascertained in the absence of the basic guarantees of a fair trial.  International human rights organizations have drawn attention to reports indicating that the Islamic Republic authorities have brought trumped-up charges against their opponents. The exact number of people convicted and executed based on trumped-up charges is unknown.

Evidence of guilt

The evidence presented against Mr. Qodushim regarding the charges of “cooperation with Zionists, and espionage” consists of a two pages of reports from the SAVAK. One of these reports was concerning a social gathering where, [according to the report,] he had raised funds to provide financial assistance to the Israeli army. The other report was regarding Mr. Qodushim calling a meeting with other Jews to protect the Jewish synagogue. (Islamic Revolution High Court, Branch Two’s Decision, September 11, 1981).

Mr. Qodushim having made several trips to Israel was also stated to have been among the evidence presented against him. (Islamic Revolution High Court, Branch Two’s Decision, September 11, 1981).

The Najafabad Islamic Revolutionary Court called throwing parties for workers and rewarding and encouraging them at these parties as evidence of “Mr. Qodushim’s allegiance and loyalty to the Pahlavi regime”. That assertion was approved by the Qom Islamic Revolution High Court, Branch Two.

Mr. Qodushim’s case file also refers to “complaints by certain people”; there is, however, no precise information as to what that entails.

Evidence related to the charges brought against Mr. Qodushim was not published by official sources.

Defense

Mr. Qodushim and his family denied the charges. In a letter to the Head of the Judiciary High Council, Mr. Qodushim stated that he was being persecuted because he belonged to a religious minority. (Mr. Qodushim’s letter to the Judiciary High Council). He was not allowed to have access to an attorney.

Upon examining the Najafabad Islamic Revolutionary Court’s Decision, the Qom Islamic Revolution High Court, Branch Two determined that the charges of “allegiance and loyalty to Taghut (derogatory term to refer to the Shah, meaning Satan) and the Taghuti (“Satanic”) regime and selling himself to Taghut’s regime” and “providing reports on the condition of Jews” were not sufficient to execute the defendant and to take his property, even though said actions constituted great sins. Furthermore, regarding the evidence against Mr. Qodushim related to raising funds for the benefit of the Israeli army, the High Court stated “it is not even clear that the Defendant [Mr. Qodushim] has actually provided financial assistance”. Additionally, the High Court did not find that Mr. Qodushim’s efforts in protecting Jewish holy sites in Iran, and even his trip to Israel to see his relatives and to visit Jewish holy sites there, constituted evidence of being a Zionist or a spy, and stressed that “there is no legitimate proof satisfying the requirements of Islamic jurisprudence in the Najafabad Islamic Revolutionary Court’s ruling against Mr. Qodushim to the effect that he was in contact with the Zionists and was [acting] against the Islamic Revolution and the Islamic regime”. (Islamic Revolution High Court, Branch Two’s Decision, September 11, 1981).

On September 11, 1981, the Qom Islamic Revolution High Court, Branch Two overturned Najafabad Islamic Revolutionary Court’s ruling; the latter did not, however, inform Mr. Qodushim of the Qom High Court’s decision. Instead, in response to his query regarding the High Court’s decision, [the Najafabad Court] told him that there was no need for the Qom High Court’s approval. (Islamic Revolution High Court, Branch Two’s Decision, September 11, 1981; Mr. Qodushim’s last will and testament written to his family, September 20, 1981).

A member of the Board of Directors of the Jewish Association alluded to Mr. Qodushim’s case in an interview. He said that he had spoken to the then-Prosecutor General of the Islamic Revolution regarding the case, and the Prosecutor had found him to be innocent and had faxed his release order to Najafabad Prison on September 20, 1981. (Solh Monthly).

According to the letter written by the Islamic Revolution of Iran Documentation Center to the Islamic Revolutionary Prosecutor for the towns of Shahreza and Najafabad dated November 8, 1979, Mr. Qodushim did not have any prior criminal record whatsoever.

A Summary of the Legal Defects in the Adjudication of Mr. Mansur Qodushim’s Case

According to the documents available at the Boroumand Center, including the Court Decision, Mr. Mansur Qodushim was sentenced to death on the charge of Efsad fel-Arz (“spreading corruption on Earth”) through spying for the State of Israel and cooperating with the SAVAK (the Shah’s information and security organization”).

After the 1979 Revolution, Iran’s judicial system underwent tremendous changes that were based on [the new regime’s] ideological worldview. Because of these changes, many of the fair trial guarantees existing in Iranian law were simply scrapped. This was particularly the case in revolutionary courts that were instituted pursuant to a decree issued by the Leader of the Revolution and had no basis in law. The judges sitting on the bench in revolutionary courts were chosen mostly from among clerics affiliated with and loyal to the government, and had no judicial experience whatsoever. In these courts, trials took place based on Islamic laws and regulations, and the judge was called the Shari’a Judge [or Ruler]. These conditions resulted in violations of due process and the principles of fair trial, particularly in political and security-related cases.

The present case fell victim to those same conditions, much like thousands of other cases. In this case, the Shari’a Judge tried the Defendant on the charge of Moharebeh (“waging war against God”) and Efsad fel-Arz, whereas no such crime was defined anywhere in the criminal laws of the time. Judges derived that crime from religious texts. Even in religious texts, however, Moharebeh consists of an act where an individual takes up arms within a group, and deprives a large segment of the populace of their safety and security. There was no sign or evidence of any use of weapons in this case. Furthermore, the defendants’ actions did not result in the people being deprived of security in any way whatsoever.

Another charge leveled against the Defendant was spying for Israel, whereas the crime of espionage consists of an individual putting classified information [at the disposal of or] turning the same over to people without standing or authorization. The Defendant in this case never held a position where he could have had access to classified information by any means, and, according to available information, no such claim was ever made by the court.

Another charge brought against the Defendant was cooperating with the SAVAK, whereas Mr. Qodushim never held a military or government position. Furthermore, his contacts with security agents did not constitute evidence of cooperation, as demonstrated by the [city of] Qum High Revolutionary Court’s actions: The latter court dismissed all the charges against Mr. Qodushim and overturned the Najafabad Revolutionary Court’s ruling, and thereby the Defendant’s conviction. In spite of the High Revolutionary Court’s ruling, however, the officials executed Mr. Qodushim, brazenly disregarding said ruling. This was in complete contradiction with the laws existing at the time: Overturning Mr. Qodushim’s conviction meant that he was found not guilty of committing any of the crimes ascribed to him, and should be released. However, an individual determined to have been innocent by no less an authority than the country’s judicial system itself, was executed nonetheless. This is a prime example of intentional murder, that is, the officials who issued the order to execute Mr. Qodushim committed intentional murder and should have been prosecuted as such.

Judgment

The Najafabad Islamic Revolutionary Court found Mr. Mansur Qodushim to be Mofsed fel-Arz (“one who spreads corruption on Earth”) and sentenced him to death and to expropriation of his and his wife’s property. On September 20, 1981, Mr. Qodushim and four other individuals were executed by a firing squad in Najafabad, Esfahan Province.

The ruling was overturned by the Qom Islamic Revolution High Court, Branch Two on September 11, 1981. No one had paid attention to the High Court’s ruling, however.

Mr. Qodushim’s body was not turned over to his family. He left a last will and testament addressed to his family, dated September 20, 1981.

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