Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Bijan Fazeli


Age: 22
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Single


Date of Killing: August 19, 1986
Location of Killing: "House of Culture and Art of Iran" shop, Kensington District, London, United Kingdom
Mode of Killing: Bombing
Age at time of alleged offense: 22

About this Case

Bijan Fazeli was 22 years old. He was a senior at London University, studying computers. He was a sportsman, had a black belt in karate, and his friends used to call him “invincible”.

Information regarding the life and the extrajudicial killing of Mr. Bijan Fazeli, son of Reza, was collected from Washington Post website (August 21, 1986; New York Times (August 21, 1986), Daily Telegraph (August 22 and 28, 1986), Observer (August 24, 1986), and Times newspapers; a letter from Mr. Reza Fazeli to New York Times Newspaper (August 23 and September 2, 1986); and an interview given by Mr. Reza Fazeli to Pars Television (July 2007).

According to available information, Mr. Fazeli was 22, single, and a senior at London University, studying computers. He was a sportsman, he was a black belt in karate, and his friends called him “invincible”. He worked at his father’s arts and crafts store (KVC Video and Bookstore) on Kensington Avenue.

His father, Reza Fazeli, had a degree in Philosophy of Religion, and he was known in Iran as an actor, director, and producer. He went to England as a refugee in 1979. During the 1980s, through his UK based production company, he produced over 50 documentaries. He was a nationalist political activist and he wrote against the Islamic Republic Government. He had produced a series of films “Akhund Variety Show”, a satire in which actors dressed as religious figures and familiar government officials criticize the Islamic government. According to one of his friends, Reza’s store in London, in which he sold videos and books, gradually became a cultural center and a gathering place for Iranian writers and artists living in London (Nourizad).

Background of Extrajudicial Killings by the Islamic Republic of Iran

The Islamic Republic of Iran has a long history of politically motivated violence in Iran and around the world. Since the 1979 Revolution, Islamic Republic operatives inside and outside the country have engaged in kidnapping, disappearing, and killing a large number of individuals whose activities they deemed undesirable. The actual number of the victims of extrajudicial killings inside Iran is not clear; however, these murders began in February 1979 and have continued since then, both inside and outside Iran. The Abdorrahman Boroumand Center has so far identified over 540 killings outside Iran attributed to the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Dissidents have been assassinated by the agents of the Islamic Republic outside Iran in countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia, Japan, India, and Pakistan in Asia; Dubai, Iraq, and Turkey in the Middle East; Cyprus, France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Norway, Sweden, and Great Britain in Europe; and the United States across the Atlantic Ocean. In most cases there has not been much published and the local authorities have not issued arrest warrants. But documentation, evidence, and traces obtained through investigations conducted by local police and judicial authorities confirm, however, the theory of state committed crimes. In certain cases, these investigations have resulted in the expulsion or arrest of Iranian diplomats. In limited cases outside Iran, the perpetrators of these murders have been arrested and put on trial and the evidence presented, revealed the defendants’ connection to Iran’s government institutions, and an arrest warrant has been issued for Iran’s Minister of Information.

The manner in which these killings were organized and implemented in Iran and abroad, is indicative of a single pattern which, according to Roland Chatelin, the Swiss prosecutor, contains common parameters and detailed planning. It can be ascertained from the similarities between these murders in different countries that the Iranian government is the principal entity who ordered the implementation of these crimes. Iranian authorities have not officially accepted responsibility for these murders and have even attributed their commission to internal strife in opposition groups. Nevertheless, since the very inception of the Islamic Republic regime, the Islamic Republic officials have justified these crimes from an ideological and legal standpoint. In the spring of 1979, Sadeq Khalkhali, the first Chief Shari’a Judge of the Islamic Revolutionary Courts, officially announced the regime’s decision to implement extrajudicial executions, and justified the decision: “ … These people have been sentenced to death; from the Iranian people’s perspective, if someone wants to assassinate these individuals abroad, in any country, no government has any right to bring the perpetrator to trial as a terrorist, because such a person is the implementing agent of the sentence issued by the Islamic Revolutionary Court. Therefore, they are Mahduroddam and their sentence is death regardless of where they are.” More than 10 years after these proclamations, in a speech about the security forces’ success, Ali Fallahian, the regime’s Minister of Information stated the following regarding the elimination of members of the opposition: “ … We have had success in inflicting damage to many of these little groups outside the country and on our borders”

At the same time, various political, judicial, and security officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran have, at different times and occasions, confirmed the existence of a long term government policy for these extrajudicial killings and in some cases their implementation. *

Mr. Bijan Fazeli’s Threat and Death

According to available information, on Tuesday August 19, 2006, a bomb went off in Mr. Reza Fazeli’s store on Kensington Avenue in London, causing the death of his son, Bijan Fazeli. Twelve other people were injured in this explosion, two of whom were taken to hospital. The explosion demolished the two-story building.

In a letter to the New York Times, dated August 27, 1986, Mr. Fazeli, Bijan’s father, said: “Several weeks before his death {his son} I received threats and “Your death is coming” was written on my store window.” (Times – September 2, 1986)

A spokesperson for the British Foreign Office said: “Last year, Mr. Fazeli was threatened by people from the embassy or by their supporters (Observer).”

Iranian Officials’ Reaction

The Iranian Embassy in London has denied any connection to the bombing incident and they claim that Mr. Bijan Fazeli was killed while assembling a bomb destined for the Iranian Consulate near Mr. Fazeli’s store (Observer and New York Times).

Seyyed Kasa’i, embassy press spokesperson of the time, held the British Government responsible for causing friction between the different opposition factions and said: “Maybe you are at fault for letting them come here. You supported them and you made things easy for them (Observer). 

British Officials’ Reaction

According to available information, after the bomb exploded and Mr. Fazeli was killed, the police announced that investigations by detectives and antiterrorism police showed that in the store where the explosion happened yesterday, videos against the Iranian Regime and Khomeini were produced and sold. Also, Reza Fazeli was identified as having produced amateur videos that were being smuggled into Iran.

According to information that was published in the media, the police initially considered the possibility that the victim might have been building the bomb that detonated. However, in the days following the incident, after they received the coroner’s report and interviewed the witnesses, they discounted this idea. From that point, they concentrated on finding a group among Khomeini supporters or a faction in the Iranian community in exile who might have carried out this bombing.

After a while, police released new evidence they had as a result of interviewing a young Iranian who had been in the store at the time of the explosion. According to the Times, antiterrorism detectives had found out that Mr. Fazeli, who had been killed in the bombing at his Father’s store, had been working in the basement at the time, and that he was some distance away from the site of the explosion. The coroner’s examination and evidence also led police to discount the idea that Mr. Fazeli had been building a bomb to use at the Iranian Consulate, a short distance away.

The police were never able to arrest the people who were responsible for this bombing. Mr. Fazeli said the police recommended he leave England, because they would not be able to guarantee his protection. 

Family’s Reaction

According to available information, speaking at the site of the explosion, Mr. Reza Fazeli, Mr. Fazeli’s father said, “The consequence of watching one of my videos in Iran is death. Maybe they thought by doing this I would stop making videos. They tried to kill me but my son was accidentally killed instead.”

In an open letter he said the bomb was put in his store to kill him, but it killed his son.

Mr. Fazeli’s father vowed to continue his opposition to Khomeini’s regime. He said, “My revenge will be my camera.”

Impacts on Family

After Mr. Fazeli’s death, his family’s life was completely disrupted. His father was forced to seek asylum in the United States. According to one of his friends, “He lost his store, he lost his wealth. He lost his books, and his CDs. The insurance company messed him about and said you hadn’t told us that your store might be attacked by terrorists” (Nourizad)


*Read more about the background of extrajudicial killings in the Islamic Republic of Iran by clicking on the left hand highlight with the same title.

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