Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Rahmatollah Vojdani


Age: 57
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Baha'i
Civil Status: Married


Date of Killing: August 31, 1985
Location of Killing: Bandar Abbas, Hormozgan Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Shooting
Charges: Religious offense

About this Case

Information about the execution of Mr. Rahmatollah Vojdani (also spelled "Rahmatu'llah Vujdani") was obtained from a biography published in the Archives of Baha’i Persecution in Iran. Additional information was drawn from a reuters’ report published in Ettelaat daily on 27 February 1974.

Rahmatollah Vojdani is also one of the 206 Iranian Baha’is listed in a 1993 report published by the Baha’i International Community. The report documents the persecution of the members of the Baha’i faith in the Islamic Republic of Iran and lists those killed since 1978. Additional information has been drawn from various issues of The Baha’i World. See for example: Vol. XIX, 1982-1986, Haifa 1994.

Mr. Vojdani was born in 1928 in Bandar, Abbas (ABPI, Bio). He was employed as a teacher by the Ministry of Education for a time, but due to persecution over his Baha’i faith he was forced to change jobs frequently.

Little is known about Mr. Vojdani’s family except that he had lost his 22-year old son Faramarz who studied in the philippines in 1972.  According to the Philippines Federal Bureau of Investigation, Faramarz Vojdani and two other students were found dead with mutilated bodies after having a heated debate with a group of Muslims from the southern part of the Philippines in the Lanao del Sur region. Five Muslims were persecuted for their murder in 1974. (Ettelaat, 27 February, 1974)

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). 

Arrest and Detention 

Mr. Vojdani was arrested on July 24th, 1984 and detained in Bandar Abbas. He was transferred to Evin Prison in Tehran before being returned to Bandar Abbas. According to information on the Baha’i Persecution in Iran website, Mr. Vojdani was tortured during his imprisonment (ABPI).


There is no information about a trial held for Mr. Vojdani. 


There is no information about the charges against Mr. Vojdani. 

The validity of the criminal charges brought against this defendant cannot be ascertained in the absence of the basic guarantees of a fair trial.  International human rights organizations have drawn attention to reports indicating that the Islamic Republic authorities have brought trumped-up charges, including drug trafficking, sexual, and other criminal offences, against their opponents (including political, civil society activists, as well as unionists and ethnic and religious minorities). Each year Iranian authorities sentence to death hundreds of alleged common criminals, following judicial processes that fail to meet international standards. The exact number of people convicted and executed based on trumped-up charges is unknown. 


There is no information about evidence used by the prosecution. 


There is no information about Mr. Vojdani’s defense The representatives of the Baha'i community stress that their members are being persecuted for their religious beliefs. They refute the validity of charges such as counter-revolutionary political activities or spying leveled against them in Iranian courts. They point out that the fundamental principles of their religion require them to show loyalty and obedience to their government and refrain from any political involvement. They believe that the accusation of espionage for Israel is unfounded and based solely on the fact that the Baha'i World Center is in Israel. They point out that this center was established on Mount Carmel in the late 19th century, long before the establishment of the State of Israel. 


Mr. Rahmatollah Vojdani was executed on July 24th, 1984 and buried in his family’s presence in according to Baha’i law (ABPI). 


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.

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