Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

Omid, a memorial in defense of human rights in Iran
One Person’s Story

Ali Akbar Qorbani


Age: 38
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Single


Date of Killing: January 29, 1992
Location of Killing: Pinar, Yalova, Turkey
Mode of Killing: Other extrajudicial method

About this Case

Mr. Qorbani was a political refugee in France and was in charge of assisting Iranian refugees in Turkey

News of Mr. Ali Akbar Qorbani’s assassination was published on the Mojahedeen Khalq Organization’s website (February 12, 2007); United Nations Human Rights Commission’s Report (March 30, 1993); Turkey’s Hurriet newspaper (July 17, 1998); Turkey’s Milliet newspaper (May 10, 2000); Amnesty International’s Report (March-April 1994); and an article published by Brigham Young University in the United States (2013-14). Additional information about this case was obtained from Turkey’s Milliet newspaper website (May 9, 2000).

Mr. Qorbani, with the assumed name Mansur Amini (2013-14 Article), was 38 years old and born in the town of Meshkinshahr in Ardebil Province. He had studied basic sciences at Istanbul’s Technical University. (Mojahedeen Khalq Organization, February 12, 2007).

Mr. Qorbani was a political refugee in France and an active member of the Mojahedeen Khalq Organization in Turkey. He was in charge of assisting Iranian refugees in Turkey. (United Nations Human Rights Commission’s Report, March 30, 1993).

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 a 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 to 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. **

Threats against Mr. Qorbani, and His Death

Mr. Ali Akbar Qorbani was kidnapped in Istanbul’s Sisli district at 11:40 on August 5, 1992, and was subsequently tortured and killed. (Mojahedeen Khalq Organization, February 12, 2007; United Nations Human Rights Commission’s Report, March 30, 1993).

According to available information, two Turkish individuals dressed in police uniforms, had shown Mr. Qorbani their identification cards as he was getting into his car, and had asked him to accompany them to the police precinct to answer a few questions. Mr. Qorbani, who had become suspicious of them, asked them a few questions, at which point the two individuals attacked and rendered him unconscious, using anesthetic products. They proceeded to take him to a rented villa behind the Penar Development, five kilometers (3 miles) from the town of Yalova on the route to the town of Karamursel. (Mojahedeen Khalq Organization, February 12, 2007).

On June 11, 1992, the European Parliament issued a resolution in which it expressed concern about the fate of Mr. Qorbani, and asked the Turkish Government to prevent his transfer to Iran and to arrest the kidnappers. (United Nations Human Rights Commission’s Report, March 30, 1993).

After their arrest and in the course of police investigations, members of Turkey’s Islamic Movement *** admitted to having met with the agents of Iran’s Ministry of Information in March and April, 1993, in Istanbul’s Kadikoy district (Hurriet newspaper, July 17, 1998), kidnapping Mr. Qorbani, as instructed by Iran’s Ministry of Information, and turning him along with a suitcase to Iran’s Ministry of Information agents in a rental villa in the town of Yalova, in exchange for eighty thousand U.S. Dollars. (Milliet newspaper, May 10, 2000).

At the request of Iran’s Ministry of Information agents, Turkey’s Islamic Movement wanted to hire a postman to [wiretap and] listen in on phone conversations of opponents of the Islamic Republic of Iran, including Mr. Qorbani. Iranian security agents did not agree to the postman’s demand for payment of ten thousand Dollars for eavesdropping on each individual, and the project was halted.  (Milliet newspaper, May 10, 2000).

The members of this group admitted that the Ministry of Information agents killed Mr. Qorbani after interrogating him, mutilating his body, and then blaming [Turkey’s Islamic Movement] for the assassination, contrary to their agreement. Members of the group admitted that they could hear Ali Akbar Qorbani’s voice coming from the basement of the villa for several days, and that they subsequently took delivery of his mutilated corpse for burial. (Hurriet newspaper (July 17, 1998). Following this Islamic fundamentalist group’s admissions, the Turkish Police found Mr. Qorbani’s body. His fingernails had been pulled out, his genitals had been cut out, and there were signs of electric shock around them. (United Nations Human Rights Commission’s Report (March 30, 1993). He had been strangled with a rope, and buried in a shallow grave in a barren piece of property at a Hassanba District’s wooded area, located in the suburbs of Istanbul in the outskirts of the Jinarjik beach town. (Mojahedeen Khalq Organization, February 12, 2007).

After the arrest of the Islamic Movement members, the Turkish Minister of the Interior stated on February 4, 1993, that two Iranian nationals had interrogated Mr. Ali Akbar Qorbani for ten days. (Mojahedeen Khalq Organization, February 12, 2007). 

Iranian Officials’ Reaction

There is no information regarding the Iranian officials’ reaction. 

Turkish Government Officials’ Reaction

Turkish Police arrested the members of Turkey’s Islamic Movement. (Milliet newspaper, May 9, 2000). On February 4, 1993, the Turkish Minister of the Interior emphasized that the members of  Turkey’s Islamic Movement had admitted taking part in Mr. Qobani’s assassination, and that they had travelled to Iran on numerous occasions and received military training at a military camp in the south of Tehran. (United Nations Human Rights Commission’s Report, March 30, 1993; Amnesty International’s Report, March-April 1994; Mojahedeen Khalq Organization, February 12, 2007). 

Familys’ Reaction

There is no information regarding Mr. Qorbani’s family’s reaction.

Impacts on Family

There is no information regarding the impact of Mr. Qorbani’s assassination on his family.


* Champion, Brian and Crowther, Lee, "Appendix 3: An Interlinear Comparison of Six Chronologies Documenting Allegedly Iran-Sponsored Extraterritorial Attempted Killings, 1979-1996" (2013). Faculty Publications. 1572.
**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. 
*** The Islamic Movement was established in 1987 in the Turkish city of Batman. The Council, The decision-making section, and the Executive, were the three main sections of this Organization. Gunnery, logistics, and technique, were among other sections. The Organization’s high-ranking officials established contact with the Islamic Republic of Iran officials once they decided to initiate an armed struggle, and travelled to Iran numerous times. Members of the Movement were given military training by the Ministry of Information at a military camp in the south of Tehran. Mr. Irfan Cagarici, leader of the Islamic Movement was arrested in 1996. In the course of investigations conducted by Turkish Police, he and other arrested members of the Movement admitted to the assassination of opponents of the Islamic Republic of Iran at the instruction of the Ministry of Information, in addition to the assassination of the two Turkish journalists.

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