Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Minu Majidi


Age: 62
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Islam (Sunni)
Civil Status: Married


Date of Killing: September 20, 2022
Location of Killing: In front of Taban 2 Confectionary (Vahdat Blvd), Kermanshah, Kermanshah Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Arbitrary shooting
Charges: Unknown charge
Age at time of alleged offense: 62

About this Case

Minu Majidi was full of energy and life. Her kindness has made her a pilar in the family. She shared the pain of Jina (Mahsa) Amini and couldn’t let the young protesters face danger alone. That evening, she separated from her husband to join protesters. 

Part of the information regarding the killing of Ms. Minu Majidi, daughter of Vahid Majidi and Vajiheh Qavidel, married mother of three children, was obtained through an interview conducted by the Boroumand Center with her daughter (Boroumand Center interview with Roya Pirai, February 7, 2023). Another part of the information in this case has been drawn from Ms. Mahsa Pirai’s interview with Radio Zamaneh (December 6, 2022). The news of Ms. Majidi’s extrajudicial killing has also been published in an Amnesty International report (September 21, 2022), Kurdistan Human Rights Organization’s website (September 21, 2022), and Hengaw Human Rights Organization’s website (September 22, 2022). Additional information in this case was obtained from Ms. Majidi’s case file, as well as from the following websites: Zanan Nirooye Taghyir (Women Are Force For Change) (September 22, 2022); Voice of America (September 22, 2022; October 29, 2022); Iran International (September 22, 2022); Radio Farda (November 12, 2022); and Time Magazine (December 7, 2022).

Ms. Minu Majidi was born on July 11, 1960, in the city of Qasr-e Shirin in Kermanshah Province. She spent her childhood as well as her adulthood in Kermanshah. Ms. Majidi was a graduate of the [city of] Tabriz Teacher Training Institute, where she obtained her Associate Degree in Teacher Training with a concentration in experimental sciences in 1981. According to her children, she was purged after the Cultural Revolution* and was not able to teach again; but she did teach table tennis for a while to the deaf and the hearing impaired. (Boroumand Center interview with Roya Piri, February 7, 2023; Radio Zamaneh, December 6, 2022).

Ms. Majidi was concerned about political and social issues, and, according to her daughter, Roya Pirai, “she always believed in freedom and cared about other human beings. She was kind to everybody and had a supportive personality”. Ms. Pirai stated: “My mother gave her life for what she believed in. She worked for freedom and was seeking justice for Mahsa [Amini] and the entire younger generation, people like myself.” (Interview with Angelina Jolie, Time Magazine, December 7, 2022). Ms. Majidi also liked sports, literature, and for a while, horseback riding. “She was full of energy and zest for life, and her unending kindness was the family’s rock that we relied on. She shared Jina (Mahsa) Amini’s mother’s pain, and did not want to leave young protesters on their own in their struggle. She had gotten separated from her husband that evening to join the protesters.” (Time Magazine website, December 7, 2022).

Ms. Majidi was an ethnic Kurd born in a Sunni Moslem family, but was not religious. (Boroumand Center interview, February 7, 2023).

At the time of her death, Ms. Majidi resided in Kermanshah. Three days after Mahsa (Jina) Amini’s death, she took part in demonstrations to protest her killing. (Time Magazine, December 7, 2022). On the day of the incident, before getting separated from her husband and joining the protests, she had told him in response to his concern: “If I don’t go, and if you don’t go [to the protests], and [only] people’s children go and get killed, how would we dare say we had a revolution, once the [Islamic regime] falls?” (Boroumand Center interview, February 7, 2023).

2022 (Mahsa Amini) Protest background

Nationwide protests were sparked by the death in custody of 22-year old Kurdish woman Jina (Mahsa) Amini on September 16, 2022. Amini had been arrested by the morality police in Tehran for improper veiling on September 13 and sent brain dead to the hospital. The protests, which started in front of the hospital and continued in the city of Saqqez (Kordestan Province), where Mahsa was buried, were triggered by popular exasperation over the morality patrols, misleading statements of the authorities regarding the cause of Mahsa’s death and the resulting impunity for the violence used against detainees, as well as the mandatory veil in general. This protest, initially led by young girls and women who burned their veils and youth in general who chanted the slogan “Women, Life, Freedom,” rapidly took on a clear anti-regime tone, with protesters calling for an end to the Islamic Republic. The scope and duration of the protest was unprecedented. State efforts to withdraw the morality police from the streets and preventative arrests of journalists and political and civil society activists did not stop the protests. By the end of December 2022, protests had taken place in about 164 cities and towns, including localities that had never witnessed protests. Close to 150 universities, high schools, businesses, and groups including oil workers, merchants of the Tehran bazaar (among others), teachers, lawyers (at least 49 of whom had been arrested as of February 1st, 2023), artists, athletes, and even doctors joined these protests in various forms. Despite the violent crackdown and mass arrests, intense protests continued for weeks, at least through November 2022, with reports of sporadic activity continuing through the beginning of 2023.

The State’s crackdown was swift and accompanied by intermittent landline and cellular internet network shutdowns, as well as threats against and arrests of victims’ family members, factors which posed a serious challenge to monitoring protests and documenting casualties. The security forces used illegal, excessive, and lethal force with handguns, shotguns, and military assault rifles against protesters. They often targeted protesters’ heads and chests, shot them at close range, and in the back. Security forces have targeted faces with pellets, causing hundreds of protesters to lose their eyesight, and according to some reports women’s genitalia. The bloodiest crackdown took place on September 30th in Zahedan, Baluchestan Province, where a protest began at the end of the Friday sermon. The death toll is reported to be above 90 for that day. Many injured protesters, fearing arrest, did not go to hospitals where security forces have reportedly arrested injured protesters before and after they were treated.

By February 1, 2023, the Human Rights Activists News Agency reported the number of recorded protests to be 1,262. The death toll, including protesters and passersby, stood at 527, of whom 71 were children. The number of arrests (including of wounded protesters) was estimated at 19,603, of whom 766 had already been tried and convicted. More than 100 protesters were at risk of capital punishment, and four had been executed in December 2022 and January 2023 without minimum standards of due process. Authorities also claimed 70 casualties among state forces, though there are consistent reports from families of killed protesters indicating authorities have pressured them to falsely register their loved ones as such. Protesters, human rights groups, and the media have reported cases of beatings, torture (including to coerce confessions), and sexual assaults. Detainees have no access to lawyers during interrogations and their confessions are used in courts as evidence.

Public support and international solidarity with protesters have also been unprecedented (the use of the hashtag #MahsaAmini in Farsi and English broke world records) and on November 24, 2022, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution calling for the creation of a fact finding mission to “Thoroughly and independently investigate alleged human rights violations in the Islamic Republic of Iran related to the protests that began on 16 September 2022, especially with respect to women and children.”

Ms. Minu Majidi’s Arbitrary Execution

According to available information, Ms. Majidi was shot and killed by security forces on the night of September 20, 2022, in Kermanshah’s Nobahar neighborhood, as nationwide protests were going on. (Boroumand Center interview, February 7, 2023).

On the day in question, Ms. Majidi and her spouse left their home at 7:30 PM in order to take part in the protests, and proceeded to go to the location where the protesters had previously designated for their assembly. They had traveled a short distance when they separated and Ms. Majidi went to Nobahar Street (Chaleh Chaleh). (Boroumand Center interview, February 7, 2023).

Footage of the protests at Kermanshah’s Nobahar Intersection was posted on the internet in late afternoon of September 22, 2022. That same day, a video showing Ms. Majidi being moved after she was shot was also published. (Iran International, September 22, 2022; @1500 Tasvir (“1500 Images”) Twitter account). 

According to Ms. Roya Pirai who had spoken to an eyewitness, Ms. Majidi had been chanting slogans along with other protesters a few Minutes before the agents started shooting. The agents shot Ms. Majidi from behind with shotguns at very close range. (Interview with Angelina Jolie, Time Magazine YouTube channel, December 7, 2022). The shooting occurred in front of Taban Confectionary at approximately 8 PM, a short time after she had joined the protests. Mahsa Pirai stated in an interview that, according to the Medical Examiner’s Office, there were 167 pellets in Minu Majidi’s body. (Radio Zamaneh, December 6, 2022).

On the night of the shooting, the family had no news of Ms. Majidi’s whereabouts until around 10:30 PM. They went to police precincts and hospitals to locate her, and finally found out that she had been killed and that her body was at Kermanshah’s Taleqani Hospital. According to Mahsa Pirai, “they initially refused to show us my mother’s body for identification, but after a lot of protesting and shouting by my relatives, they agreed to show us her body. My father and my aunts (my father’s sisters) were allowed to see the body. My mother’s entire back, as well as the back of her neck, was filled with pellets.” (Radio Zamaneh, December 6, 2022).

A Taleqani Hospital letter dated September 21, 2022, addressed to the Medical Examiner’s Office states that Ms. Majidi’s “death” occurred “outside the hospital” and the reason for [her body] being dispatched to the Medical Examiner’s Office is “suspect”. This [letter] also states that Minu Majidi had “no signs of life” when she arrived at the Hospital. This acknowledgment, as well as eyewitness accounts, indicate that the extent of her injuries were such that she had died immediately. This document also states that attempts at reviving her were not successful. (Boroumand Center archives; Radio Zamaneh, December 6, 2022).

Two days after her arbitrary killing, on the morning of Thursday, September 22, 2022, Ms. Majidi’s funeral took place at Kermanshah’s Minabad Cemetery (a Sunni Moslem cemetery) in the presence of a large number of friends and relatives and other people. Footage of the burial shows the attendees chanting political slogans, including “Woman, Life, Freedom”. (Boroumand Center archives).

The video footage of the funeral shows a number of women twirling their head scarves in the air in a symbolic gesture of protest against mandatory Hijab. (Voice of America, September 22, 2022; Boroumand Center archives).

Although Ms. Majidi’s family are adherents of Sunni Islam, her burial ceremony was conducted according to the rites of the Yarsan creed. (Boroumand Center interview with Roya Pirai, February 7, 2023). 

Officials’ Reaction

Iranian authorities did not officially and specifically address Ms. Minu Majidi’s killing. In the days following the murder, however, the Kermanshah Prosecutor confirmed in an interview with state media that two individuals had been killed and 25 wounded in the protests in the city. (Kurdistan Human Rights Network, September 21, 2022).

Ms. Majidi’s body was taken to the Medical Examiner’s Office after her murder (Kurdistan Human Rights Network, September 21, 2022). Taleqani Hospital was initially prevented from turning Ms. Minu Majidi’s body over to her family. The family had therefore stated that Minu Majidi had been on her way to the dentist’s office, and not to the protests, just so they could get her body back. According to Ms. Mahsa Pirai, “they agreed to turn the body over to us because of the story [the family] told. My father was interrogated; they asked him about the family; they asked him where my sister was, where I was, etc.”. (Radio Zamaneh, December 6, 2022).

According to Mahsa Pirai, the Medical Examiner’s office and the Prosecutor’s Office announced that Minu Majidi had been shot to death, but with “a bullet from a non-governmental weapon”. (Boroumand Center archives; Radio Zamaneh, December 6, 2022).

In response to Ms. Majidi’s family’s follow-ups, government officials attributed her killing to the “Monafeqin” (meaning “the Hypocrites”, a term used by the Islamic Republic to refer to the Mojahedeen Khalq Organization). (Radio Zamaneh, December 6, 2022).

Pressure and threats by the security apparatus against Ms. Majidi’s family continued until the rituals of her Chehelom (“Fortieth Day of Passing”). Security forces had put pressure on the family not to hold the Fortieth Day rituals. According to Ms. Pirai, “they even contacted my father about the Chehelom just to make sure he was and stayed home, because we were not allowed to hold the ceremonies, and the call [to hold the Fortieth Day ceremonies] was one made by the people [not us]. My father was under duress and was not able to go to my mother’s resting place for the Fortieth Day of her passing … [Security agents] even got a pledge from my uncle (my mother’s brother) [not to hold the ceremonies”. (Radio Zamaneh, December 6, 2022). Nevertheless, a group of people from Kermanshah issued calls for participation in the Fortieth Day rituals in solidarity with the Majidi family.

Familys’ Reaction

According to available information, Minu Majidi’s family did not take legal action in pursuing her extrajudicial killing.

According to Ms. Mahsa Pirai, “they even contacted my father through an intermediary [to convince him] to declare my mother a Shahid (“Martyr”), but of course, my father did not agree. He was trying to take legal action in my mother’s case, he even talked to a lawyer, but they told him it was useless when they don’t even allow lawyers to do their jobs. Also, who do you want to lodge a complaint against, and before what authority?” (Radio Zamaneh, December 6, 2022).

After Minu majidi’s murder, her daughter, Roya Pirai, posted a picture of herself at her mother’s grave on Instagram. On the picture, she had shaved her head, and was holding strands of her hair in her hand as a sign of protest, looking calmly into the camera. The picture quickly became viral on social media and became one of the most watched pictures on international social media. Chosen as one of the “BBC 100 Women”, Ms. Pirai stated in this regard: “I knew I could not speak out loud about anything. This was the only way I could show how cruel this regime is.” (BBC Persian, December 7, 2022).

Another one of Ms. Majidi’s children stated this at her Fortieth Day of Passing ceremonies in England: “In the name of my mother; I do not become more calm with each passing day; on the contrary, I get angrier and angrier because of this injustice that we have suffered. I still cannot believe what life has done to us. I’m constantly asking ‘why [my] mother’? My mother was a great mother, not just to me, but to my brother, to Rose, to Lily, to … But that wasn’t enough for her, she died to become mother to [all of] Iran.” (Voice of America, October 29, 2022)

Ms. Pirai’s children tried to be her voice outside of Iran, and are following up on her case by having recourse before international and legal organizations.

Impacts on Family

Ms. Minu Majidi’s murder altered her family members’ lives. Her daughter, Roya Pirai, stated this in an interview: “I lost the person I held dearest in my life, and that’s why I feel like they have killed me as well. (Interview with Angelina Jolie, December 8, 2022).

According to Ms. Pirai, “Many family members suffered because of this murder. My grandparents are elderly: My grandfather is 90 and my grandmother is over 80 years old. She has also suffered greatly in her life: She lost a son during the [Iran – Iraq] war, has fought cancer twice. As a matter of fact, the last time she was fighting cancer was just two years ago. My mother took care of their medical issues and constantly visited them. My mother was the rock we relied on in a way. Also, my father lost his companion and his friend. Many of our family members are dealing with trauma and depression as a result of this tragedy. Every person these people kill, well, they don’t just kill a person, they destroy an entire family. (Boroumand Center interview with Roya Pirai, February 7, 2023).


* The Cultural Revolution began after Ayatollah Khomeini gave a speech in March 1980 and ordered that universities be purged of all those who opposed his regime and be transformed into “learning environments” [as opposed to political forums] where “an all-Islamic curriculum” would be taught. The first wave of violence began onApril 15,1980during a speech by Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani [a member of the Council of the Islamic Revolution and Minister of Interior] at theUniversityofTabriz.  Following the speech, students supporting the regime took control of the University’s central building and demanded that the “university be purged” from “pro-Shah elements and other sellouts.” 
On April 18, the Council of the Islamic Revolution issued a communiqué accusing political groups of converting higher education institutions into “headquarters of discordant political activities” and naming them as obstacles to the radical transformation of the universities. The communiqué gave these groups three days (Saturday April 19 to Monday April 21) to shut down their activities in the universities. The Council stressed that the decision included libraries along with activities related to arts and sports. Political groups, which recruited members and had strong support in the universities, refused to evacuate.  
Before the Council’s deadline, serious clashes took place between leftist groups and Islamist Associations, which were at times supported by security forces and paramilitary groups.  These clashes, which peaked at the end of the three-day deadline, resulted in the death of several people and the wounding of hundreds of others on university campuses around the country. 
On April 21, the Islamic Republic authorities announced the victory of the Cultural Revolution and the closure of all universities in order to Islamicize the curricula. The universities remained closed for two years. One of the outcomes of the Cultural Revolution was the purging of many university professors and students based on their political beliefs.

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