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

Sadiq Kamangar

About

Age: 40
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Non-Believer
Civil Status: Married

Case

Date of Killing: September 4, 1989
Location of Killing: Ranya, Iraq
Mode of Killing: Extrajudicial killing
Charges: Unknown charge

About this Case

After the Revolution, Mr. Kamangar became the spokesman and person in charge of the Sanandaj Revolution Council and played a significant role in organizing protests against the new regime.

Information regarding the extrajudicial killing of Mr. Sadiq Kamangar was obtained from an Abdorrahman Boroumand interview with a friend acquainted with Mr. Kamangar’s family (May 4, 2021), electronic forms sent to the Abdorrahman Boroumand Center by family friends (November 13, and 14, 2007; March 13, 2009; January 22, 2009; July 5, and 13, 2010; August 25, 2010; August 12, 2010; May 25, 2011). Information about this assassination is also contained in the list of Komala victims, the Communist Party of Iran, and in the book “Faraz-hayi az Yek Zendegi” (“Highlights of a Life”), written by Akhtar Kamangar (Stockholm, 2016). Additional information was obtained from the book “The Bloody Sanandaj War and Its Accomplishments, The City Council” (Office of the Iran Fadaiyan Khalq Guerrilla Organization Supporters Publications, Sanandaj, 1979); the book “My Life and Times” by Iraj Farzad, PDF file available on Iraj Farzad’s website; Iraj Farzad’s website (September 5, 2011); the book “Three Years with Ebrahim Alizadeh (Inexpensive Book Publication, Second Printing, 2010); the publication “Communist”, the Communist Party of Iran; Kayhan Havai (September 13, 1989, Vol. 845); Payaam political and news website (September 5, 2020); the Worker-Communist Party of Iran website (May 3, 2018); Eshterak website; Bahram Rahmani’s website (September 21, 2019); The Experience of Democratic Institutions In Kurdistan (Iran Academia, Institute for Social Sciences and Humanities’ journal, Volume 2, Spring 2018, page 102); and Eshterak website (September 21, 2019). 

Mr. Sadiq Kamangar, son of Mohammad Saleh and Hobabeh, was born in 1946-47, in Kamyaran County’s village of Afryan. He finished his primary and high school education in Kamyaran and in the city of Kermanshah. He entered Tehran University in 1965-66, and after initially studying literature, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in law. He was married and had two children. He was an attorney in the city of Sanandaj before the 1979 Revolution and a member of the Iranian Bar Association.  (Electronic form, November 14, 2007, Asoyroj website). 

In the 1970’s, when the conflict between the farmers of Marivan County’s Darsiran village and the region’s landowners over the distribution of land intensified in Kurdistan, “Sadiq Kamangar defended the farmers’ rights as an attorney”. (Worker-Communist Party of Iran website (May 3, 2018). In the course of the Revolution, he became a well-known figure in Kurdistan’s political struggles. In June-July 1978, he organized the first sit-in under the Pahlavi regime at the city of Snanadaj’s Judiciary, in support of the city’s political prisoners who had gone on a hunger strike. In the months leading up to the 1979 Revolution, he became a member of the Board of the Bar Association and the Iran Jurists Association, and played a role in the formation of “The City of Sanandaj Teachers Association” that same year. After the Revolution, Mr. Kamangar became the spokesman and the person in charge of the Sanandaj Revolution Council *, and played a significant role in organizing protests against the regime. In circumstances where, according to Mr. Kamangar, Sanandaj had multiple governances, and the Gendarmerie and many other military institutions had been disarmed by opponents under his support and other opposition activists in Sanandaj, he and a number of other leftist activists formed an entity called “The Society for the Defense of Freedom and Revolution” ** in that city. Mr. Kamangar later said that this Society “intervened in executive work and actions. We performed many of the functions of the Judiciary. It had gotten to a point where the Judiciary de facto recognized our letters and notices as official documents. Even though the Road Police (state traffic troopers) were [still in charge] on the surface, in practice, we were the ones who carried out their functions.” Iraj Farzad website (September 5, 2011). Mr. Kamangar was one of the leaders and founders of Komala [Party], and subsequently the Communist Party of Iran. 

In 1984-85, Mr. Kamangar and his wife, Ms. Akhtar Kamangar – who was also a political activist – along with the other members of the Party, moved to Iraqi Kurdistan. Mr. Kamangar’s family, especially his parents and one of his young children, were arrested and imprisoned several times because of his political activities, and were exiled for a time. (Boroumand Center interview, May 4, 2021; the book“Highlights of a Life”, p. 31). 

Party members and people close to Mr. Kamangar recall him as “a political leader”, “a passionate and spirited speaker”, “a communist personality”, “popular with the workers and the downtrodden people of Kurdistan”, and describe him as someone who had “courage” and “guts” in the face of [stark] realities and doubts. (Communist Party of Iran website; Eshterak website; Iraj Farzad website). 

Communist Party of Iran

The Communist Party of Iran was founded on September 2, 1983, through the merger of several leftist political organizations such as the Union of Communist Militants “Sahand” and the Society of Revolutionary Toilers of Iranian Kurdistan “Komala”. The objective of founding this party was to follow up on and ensure the political and economic demands of Iran’s working class through the establishment of a “Revolutionary Democratic Republic”. The closing statement of the founding congress states: “ … The Communist Party of Iran is a squadron of the world army of the proletariat, with the victory of the revolution and the establishment of a new socialist society as its goal and ideal … From revolutionary Kurdistan where the Communist Party of Iran’s Kurdistan Organization (Komala) is the leader of a mass movement and the organizer of a revolutionary movement, to cities across Iran where communist activity has to continue in the darkest of oppressive conditions and police terror, our Party fights for the organizing of a unified and independent Iranian working class; our Party is the party of workers, the poor, and the disadvantaged and the underprivileged who are fighting for a proletarian government, abolition of private property, and socialism.” (Komonist publication, Communist Party of Iran website).

Komala

Several remaining members of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran established the Revolutionary Organization of this party in Iraq in the mid 1960s. Esma’il Sharifzadeh, Abdollah Mo’ini, and Molaavareh were among the leaders of this organization who, inspired by the Cuban Revolution, began an armed guerrilla struggle in Kurdistan. When this group was defeated in 1969 and several of its members were arrested, armed struggle was criticized and the Maoist trend overcomes. When some of its leaders were released in 1978, the Revolutionary Organization of Working People in Kurdistan – Komala was established. Based on Marxist theory, Komala was against the capitalists and landlords and encouraged workers and peasants in Kurdistan to an armed uprising against them and the central government. This organization considered the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran (PDKI) as the rich party and campaigned against it, resulting in several armed conflicts and hundreds dead. In 1982, Komala joined another Marxist group, Sahand, which was basically a theoretical group, and established the Communist Party of Iran. Then it became called the Kurdistan Organization of the Communist Party of Iran – Komala. Years later, this organization separated from the Communist Party of Iran and faced several schisms. The Komala Party of Iranian Kurdistan, led by Abdollah Mohtadi, Komala, and the Kurdistan Organization of the Communist Party of Iran led by Ebrahim Alizadeh are some of these factions.

Threats and Mr. Kamangar’s Death

[Mr. Kamangar and his family] had settled at the Bahar Camp, near the town of Ranieh in Iraqi Kurdistan in 1989-90, where they were conducting their activities. (Akhtar Kamngar, p. 166). In her account of that period, Ms. Kamangar expresses concern regarding the security of their place of residence and Mr. Kamangar’s activities. Ms. Kamangar writes that the place that had been designated in the camp for their family and for the Radio, “was not an appropriate location for Sadiq from a security standpoint”. In spite of Ms. Kamangar’s concerns and their place of residence being “out of the way [and on the beaten path]”, they settled in the camp upon Mr. Kamangar’s insistence, and with confidence in the security force “of ten members of the Amadeh (“Ready”) Unit” that the Party had assigned to provide security for that location. (Akhtar Kamangar, p, 168).

At 2 o’clock in the morning of September 4, 1989, Mr. Kamangar, who had just finished writing a piece for a “Radio Voice of the Revolution” program, was assassinated as he was stepping out of the a bathroom located [in a camp] in a valley called “Bardangah” in the vicinity of the town of Ranieh in Iraqi Kurdiatan. 

In his last speech given on September 2, on the occasion of the seventh anniversary of the formation of the Communist Party of Iran, Mr. Kamangar described the conditions of Iran’s workers in the period between the 1979 Revolution and the end of the 8-year war between Iran and Iraq, criticizing firings, unemployment, and the Islamic Republic’s attack on the worker’s livelihood and quality of life, and asked workers, “this great social class” to take over the Communist Party of Iran so that, in his words, “they can uproot the oppressive capitalist regime and build the foundations of the red proletarian government on its ruins”. (Communist Party of Iran website, September 4, 2018). 

On the night of September 3, 1989, approximately one week after the assassination in Cyprus of Gholam Keshavarz, another leader of the Communist Party, Mr. Kamangar first had dinner with his wife and friends at the camp cafeteria, and subsequently went to the Radio building in order to take care of matters related to the [Party] radio [programming]. He informed his wife after midnight that “he was not done and was still working on a piece [to be broadcast] on the radio”, and asked her to go to bed. At 2 o’clock in the morning of September 4, 1989, Mr. Kamangar was shot by one of his bodyguards as he was stepping out of the bathroom, and later died at the local clinic. (Iraj Farzad, “My Life and Times”, PDF file, p. 44; Electronic form, January 22, 2009; “Highlights of a Life”). 

According to Komala and the Communist Party of Iran media and leaders, Mr. Kamangar’s shooter, named Tofigh Gerjali was an agent of the Islamic Republic who had “infiltrated’ [the Party]. He had become a member of Komala in 1979 and after a period of renouncing [the Party] and “surrendering” to the Iranian regime, approached Komala once again and ultimately joined the Central Committee Protection Section. According to Party members, Mr. Gerjali was “a trained undercover agent of the Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Information [Section]”, who had carried out the assassination of the [town of] Sardsht’s Friday Prayers Imam, a plot that had been planned by the Revolutionary Guards themselves. The Government media attributed that assassination to anti-Revolutionary elements, [again upon prior plotting and planning], after which Mr. Gerjali proclaimed himself as the person responsible for this extra-judicial killing and requested to join Komala’s “overt organization”. (“My Life and Times”, PDF file, p. 44; Three Years with Ebrahim Alizadeh, 2010, p. 153; Eshterak website, September 21, 2019). 

One of the more notable points in Mr. Kamangar’s last speech on September 2 had to do with the phenomenon of the “repenters” of Kurdistan. The term “repenters” is used to refer to those persons opposed to the Islamic Republic who have expressed remorse about their past political activities. These individuals are scorned by their previous leaders as a matter of course, and referred to as “traitors”, “cowards”, and “sellouts”. Sadiq Kamangar thought otherwise and believed that instead of criticizing these individuals, they should criticize “the Islamic regime and the oppression apparatus” which, according to him, “forces the most honorable fighters to express remorse for what they have done, in order to turn public opinion against revolutionaries”. (Communist Party of Iran website, May 3, 2018). 

Officials’ Reaction 

There is no information regarding Iranian officials’ reaction regarding Mr. Kamangar’s death. 

Familys’ Reaction 

Mr. Kamangar’s case has not been followed up on in Iran, [Iraqi] Kurdistan, or Iraq. 

In September 1989, Kayhan Havai newspaper stated that there was a connection between Mr. Kamangar’s murder and the assassination of the communist Gholam Keshavarz, both stemming from “internal conflicts within Komala”. According to Mr. Bahram Rahmani, Iranian communist activist, attributing assassinations committed outside Iran to “internal conflicts” is one of the Iranian regime’s common methods of deflecting and denying responsibility for the murder of its own citizens abroad. (Kayhan Havai newpaper, September 13, 1989, Volume 845; Boroumand Center Interview, December 26, 2020).

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* In a book entitled “Highlights of a Life”, Ms. Akhtar Kamangar writes about her life and activities with Mr. Kamangar
** After the 1979 Revolution, political forces in Kurdistan, especially in the city of Sanandaj, established popular councils. The council was accepted for a time by the regime subsequent to the dispatch of a delegation from Tehran to Kurdistan. “The Interim Revolution Council in Sanandaj’s” Communique Number 8 was published bearing the signature of Sadiq Kamangar as the Sanandaj City Council’s spokesman. “The Bloody Sanandaj War and Its Accomplishments, The City Council” (Office of the Iran Fadaiyan Khalq Guerrilla Organization Supporters Publications, Sanandaj, 1979, p. 156).
*** Prior to the Revolution, and even in the early months of the Revolution, the personnel of Iranian Kurdistan Revolutionary Toilers Organization that later became known as Komala were working in non-governmental organizations, societies, and institutions that had gradually become active in the course of the Revolution. They were important members of institutions such as the Union of the Demanders of the Kurdish People’s Rights in Iran, in the city of Marivan; the Society for the Support of Toilers and the Defense of The Kurdish People’s National Rights, in the city of Saqez; the Society for the Support of Toilers and the Defense of The Kurdish People’s National Rights, in the city of Bukan; [city of] Mahabad’s Democratic Forces Joint Headquarters [there were two entities that were active in Mahabad: One was the Democratic Forces Joint Headquarters, and the other was the Toilers’ Salvation Path Organization]; the Society for the Fighters of the Path of Freedom and for the Defense of the National and Democratic Rights of the Kurdish People, in the town of Baneh; the Society for the Defense of Freedom and Revolution, in Sanandaj. (Iran Academia, Institute for Social Sciences and Humanities’ journal, Volume 2, Spring 2018, page 102).
**** In the organizational chart of Komala and the Communist Party of Iran, “The Amadeh Unit” is a distinct military unit for the protection of the Komala Headquarters and the leadership when they are moving about [or traveling].
***** The Peshmerga and other members who renounce and leave the Party and return to Iran are referred to – in the political literature of opposition Kurdish parties – as “the Surrendering Peshmerga” and their act is referred to as “surrendering”.

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