Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Manuchehr Hakim


Age: 71
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Baha'i
Civil Status: Married


Date of Killing: January 12, 1981
Location of Killing: Taleqani Ave., Corner of Keyvan St., Tehran, Tehran Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Extrajudicial shooting
Charges: Religious offense
Age at time of alleged offense: 71

About this Case

Though those who took the life of Dr. Manuchehr Hakim did their best to erase his name from history, to this day, his legacy as an expert in anatomy, a professor, hospital manager and humanitarian continues to command respect. 

Information about the murder of Dr. Manuchehr (also spelled "Manuchihr") Hakim, son of Arastu Hakim, was obtained from an Abdorrahman Boroumand Center for Human Rights in Iran’s (ABC) interview with his son on June 15th, 2022 and a person familiar with the case on June 18th, 2022. Additionally, information was obtained from a letter written by Dr. Hakim’s wife, Mrs. Germaine Landoy-Hakim, to numerous Iranian officials in February 1981, as well as documents published in the Archives for Baha’i Persecution in Iran, the Baha’i World (Volume 18, 1979-1983, Haifa), Baha’i News (Issue 378, Published by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States in 1962 and Issue 403, 1964) and an article titled Baha’i Health Initiatives in Iran; A Preliminary Survey (Fazel and Foadi, 2008).

Dr. Manuchihr Hakim is also one of the 206 Iranian Baha’is listed in a 1999 report published by the Baha’i International Community. The report, Iran’s Secret Blueprint for the Destruction of a Religious Community, documents the persecutions of the members of the Faith in the Islamic Republic of Iran and lists the Baha’is killed since 1978. (See also: www.question.bahai.org ). Additional information has been drawn from various issues of the The Baha’i World (See for example: Vol. XIX, 1982-1986, Haifa 1994), “asoo” website (October 6 and August 9th, 2015), Sahifeye Noor (Volume 17, May 28, 1982) and the BBC Persian Website (October 11, 2015).

Dr. Manuchehr Hakim was born in Tehran in 1910 (BW, Vol. 18). He attended a Baha’i elementary and secondary school in Tehran before moving to France on a government grant to complete a nine year medical education with a specialization in anatomy. Later in his career he successfully passed the agrégation, a competitive examination for civil service in the French public education system. In 1938, he married and the couple had two children before Dr. Hakim returned to Iran to serve his two years of compulsory military service. During this time he established and chaired the Anatomy Department at the University of Tehran where he later taught for 30 years. Dr. Hakim, was renowned for his research in anatomy and work in gastroenterology. His books and writings are today standard practice in medical textbooks. In 1976 he was awarded the Légion d’honneur by the French government for his humanitarian work.

Dr. Hakim was one of the founding members of the Misaghieh Hospital in Tehran (founded in the early 1950’s), which he managed for 31 years. Misaghieh was an independent hospital established and funded by the Baha’i community, and the first of its kind to found affiliated institutions such as a nursing school, the Tehran Elderly Care Home and a polyclinic that treated patients free of charge (Baha’i Health Initiatives in Iran; A Preliminary Survey, 2008). 

Dr. Hakim was also a devout Baha’i and highly regarded within the Baha’i community. He was briefly a member of the National Spiritual Assembly of France in 1962 (Baha’i News, Issue 378, Published by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States in 1962). Dr. Hakim was also an elected member of the National Spiritual Assembly of Iran for a number of years, beginning in 1964 (Baha’i News, Issue 403, 1964). 

According to his son, at the time of the arrest of the “First Spiritual Assembly” in Tehran on 21 August 1980, Dr. Hakim was vacationing in France. Though he had the option of staying away from the danger in France where his children lived, Dr. Hakim chose to return to Iran immediately, telling his family that he could not leave his fellow Baha’is alone in such critical times (Interview, June 15th 2022 and June 18th 2022). Dr. Hakim was elected to the “Second National Spiritual Assembly” that replaced the first in 1980.

The Baha’is in the Islamic Republic of Iran: Background

The authorities of the Islamic Republic have subjected the members of the Baha'i religious community of Iran - the largest religious minority, with approximately 300 thousand members in 1979(1)- to systematic harassment and persecution, depriving them of their most fundamental human rights. The Baha'i religion is not recognized under the Constitution of the Islamic Republic, and Iranian authorities refer to it as a heresy. As a result, the Baha'is have been denied the rights associated with the status of a religious minority; they cannot profess and practice their faith, and are banned from public functions. Discrimination under the law and in practice has subjected them to abuse and violence.(2) 

Persecution of Baha’is in Iran is not specific to the time of the Islamic Republic but it was in this era that it was amplified and institutionalized. During the Revolution itself, supporters of Ayatollah Khomeini attacked Baha’i homes and businesses and in certain instances, even committed murder.

On the eve of his return from France to Iran, in response to a question regarding political and religious freedom of Baha’is under the rule of an Islamic government, Ayatollah Khomeini stated: “They are a political party; they are harmful and detrimental. They will not be acceptable.” The interviewer asked another question: “Will they be free to perform their religious rites?” The Ayatollah responded: “No.” Khomeini had previously “spoken of the Baha’i threat to the Shah’s regime, Islam, national unity, and national security” in various speeches. (Asoo website, October 6, 2015).  

Baha’i National Spiritual Assembly After the Islamic Revolution 

In the organizational structure of the Baha’i community, the institution of the National Spiritual Assembly is a body composed of nine individuals that are elected annually with the votes of adult Baha’is in each country. This institution tends to the affairs and issues of the Baha’i community on the national level. The National Spiritual Assembly has the responsibility of guiding, coordinating, and moving forward the activities of each country’s local spiritual assemblies, and establishing contact with Beit-al-Adl (“House of Justice”), the international council of the Baha’i faith, the highest decision-making authority in the world Baha’i community. 

The Bah’I’s Spiritual Assemblies were gradually suppressed. In Baha’I’s literature, the first assemply whose members were kidnapped is commonly known as the First National Assembly. In 1980 and 1981, the First, Second, and Third National Spiritual Assemblies, as well as local Baha’i spiritual assemblies in various cities, including Tehran, Yazd, Hamedan, and Tabriz, were severely persecuted and the majority of their members were executed. In “The Final Message of the Iran National Spiritual Assembly to the Friends of the Country”, the Third Baha’i National Spiritual Assembly, abiding by the principle of obeying the government, announced the closure of the Baha’i organizations, and at the same time, sent an open letter to two thousand well-known and high-ranking government figures asking an end to the arrest, detention, torture, execution, and injustice against Baha’is. (BBC Persian website, October 11, 2015). 

Judicial officials of the Islamic Republic have come up with [unreasonable and unacceptable] justifications for the persecution and the execution of the members of the National Spiritual Assemblies. In a speech on May 28, 1982, Ayatollah Khomeini said: “The Baha’is are not a religion, they’re a [political] party; it’s a party that was supported by Britain in the past, and now it’s being supported by America. They are spies.” (Sahifeye Noor, Volume 17, May 28, 1982).

The Baha’is deny the charge of relations with countries such as Israel, citing “the religious principle of ‘the requirement of staying out of politics’. They say that religious relations know no bounds, and that the Iranian Baha’i Spiritual Assembly has done nothing, and taken no action, against the Islamic Republic”. (Asoo website, August 9, 2015). 

It must be noted that the Beit-al-Adl was established in Haifa at a time where there was no such country as the state of Israel. The founders of the Baha’i faith, Baha’ollah in particular, had no choice but to leave Iran in the latter part of the 19thCentury under pressure and persecution, and to turn to Turkey and Iraq. 

Baha’ollah did not escape persecution under the Ottoman Empire either. He was imprisoned for a time in present day Turkey and was released in 1908. In 1909, Baha’ollah transferred the body of Ali Mohammad Baab – who had been executed in Iran in 1850 – to Beit-al-Adl. A short time before the start of the First World War, Baha’ollah settled as the leader of the Baha’is in Haifa, a city where Beit-al-Adl is located, and began to tend to the affairs and the issues of the Baha’i community. After World War I, when Palestine was under the British Mandate, the Baha’i community remained safe from persecution. (Boroumand Center research). 

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. (3) 

Confiscation of the Misaghieh Hospital 

In addition to the arrests, imprisonments and executions of Baha’is following the 1979 Islamic Revolution, several Baha’i hospitals and medical centres, established by Baha’i initiatives and donations, were confiscated by the newly created Disinherited Foundation (Bonyad-e Mostazafan va Janbazan). The Foundation, designated a charity, is the second-largest commercial enterprise in Iran. It is directly run by the Supreme Leader and has been instrumental in the mass confiscations of property, including Baha'i property and hospitals following the 1979 revolution. 

Misaghieh Hospital was one of the confiscated institutions (Baha’i Health Initiatives in Iran; A Preliminary Survey, 2008). In a letter dated to June 6th, 1979 Bonyad-e Mostazafan’s Depatment of Confidcation issues an order to investigate and report all assets of the Omana company, including the Misaghieh hospital (Archives of Baha’i Persecution in Iran). Later, on April 28th, 1980, Islamic Revolutionary Central Branch One issued a court order demanding the surrender of all recorded assets for the benefit of Bonyad-e Shahid (Foundation of Martyrs) (ABPI, Court Order April 28th, 1980). The court order named the founders of the Misaghieh hospital, “followers of the perverse Baha’i sect” and the hospital a “major centre for Baha’ism and anti-Islamic propaganda” (ABPI, Court Order April 28, 1980). It also claimed that the founders had made “numerous monetary contributions to the House of Justice in Israel in an effort to protect the interests of imperialism and international Zionism” and that its nursing school was in reality a front for Baha’i education. 

The Mostazafan (disinherited) Foundation commissioned the occupation of Misaghieh Hospital and a full inventory report of its properties in a letter written on June 6th, 1979 (ABPI, Letter from Mostazafan Foundation to Mr. Siamak Sotoudeh). The same day, according to a letter from Executive Head of the hospital to Ayatollah Mahdavi Kani, its agents of the  invaded the hospital premises, presenting an order of confiscation from the Foundation and claiming that the action was mandated by the Islamic Revolutionary Tribunal (IranWire) (ABPI, Letter June 30th, 1979; IranWire). The Office of the Revolutionary Public Prosecutor General denied having ordered the confiscation, but took no action to protect the hospital and prevent the dismissal of the management and all Baha’i staff, including the director and the confiscation of all documents and books (ABPI, Letter June 30th, 1979). 

Dr. Manuchehr Hakim’s Death 

On January 12, 1981, at approximately 5:30pm, Dr. Hakim was alone in his private practice inTehran and expecting a last patient when he was shot once in the forehead once and killed (ABC Interview on June 18th 2022 with a friend who had spoken to the medical examiner). 

The information on Mr. Hakim’s life in the months preceding his assassination is limited. Three days prior to his murder, he was interrogated by the Revolutionary Guards (IranWire, Persecution of Baha’i Doctors). The reason for the interrogation is not known. According to his son, Dr. Hakim had received threats on his life even before the revolution Seven or eight months before his assassination, Dr. Hakim’s passport was confiscated at the airport where he intended to travel to France to visit his family. (Interview, June 15th, 2022). 

Memorial services were held on the 19thand 20thof January 1981(See Jomhouri-e Eslami, Jan 18th 1981). Dr. Hakim was buried in Golestan Javid Cemetery (the Baha’i cemetery in Tehran) in the presence of possibly thousands of mourners (Interview, June 18th, 2022). The large outpouring of attendees, which can be seen in a published video footage (See Archives of Baha’i Persecution in Iran), in spite of the fear public gatherings of the kind would have caused at the time was a testament to the respect he enjoyed in his community and among his peers, students, and hospital staff. 

Officials’ Reaction

According to a friend who was interviewed by ABC, three days after his murder, Revolutionary Guards went to Dr. Hakim’s house which was attended by a Baha’i man who helped him around the house and with receiving patients at his private practice next door. They asked him about the whereabouts of Dr. Hakim’s valuables and safety, which he stated that he had never seen. The revolutionary guards arrested the man and reportedly tortured him for a few days to extract information about Dr. Hakim’s assets, including his home and practice which were all confiscated (Interview June 18th 2022 and Letter by Germain Landoy-Hakim). 

Despite Dr. Hakim being described as a member of the “perverse Baha’i sect” and an “agent of Zionism” by the Revolutionary Court not long before his murder and his property being confiscated, the Iranian government denied any connection to his murder (ABPI, Court Order [DATE] 1979). All the other members of NSA that Dr. Hakim had been a part of, were arrested on December 14th 1981 and executed on December 27th, 1981.    

Family’s Reaction

At the time of Dr. Hakim’s murder, his wife and children who were working and studying in France, were advised not to return to Iran.Mrs. Hakim sent letters to various Islamic Republic officials, including the President and Prosecutor General pleading for justice for her slain husband (Letter, Germaine Landoy-Hakim). She never received a response (Interview, June 15th, 2022)

Impact on Family

The assassination of Dr. Hakim and the confiscation of their property had terribly shaken the family, according to his son who recalls being “annihilated” at the time. (ABC interview, June 15th, 2022)


1- ‘Slow Death for Iran’s Baha’is’ by Richard N. Ostling, Time Magazine,20 February 1984. Also see ‘The Persecution of the Baha’is of Iran, 1844-1984, by Douglas Martin, Baha’i Studies,volume 12/13, 1984, p. 3. There is no information about the current number of Baha’is in Iran.
2- The Islamic Republic Penal Code grants no rights to Baha'is, and the courts have denied them the right to redress or to protection against assault, murder, and other forms of persecution and abuse. In so doing, the courts have treated Baha'is as unprotected citizens or "apostates," citing eminent religious authorities whose edicts are considered to be a source of law equal to acts of Parliament. The Founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khomeini, made execution a punishment for the crime of apostasy and decreed that a Muslim would not be punished for killing an apostate. 
3- 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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