Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Bahman Samandari


Age: 53
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Baha'i
Civil Status: Married


Date of Killing: March 18, 1992
Location of Killing: Tehran, Tehran Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Unspecified execution method
Charges: Religious offense

About this Case

Information about the execution of Mr. Bahman Samandari, son of Azizollah and Behyieh, was obtained from United Nations Reports on the human rights situation in Iran dated January 28, 1993 (Reynaldo Galindo Pohl), January 25, 1988, November 30, 1992 and November 30, 1991. Additional information was obtained from Keyhan-e Havaei (June 8th, 1992), Kayhan London (16 April 1992), Andaleeb Magazine (January 21, 2022). Furthermore, information was acquired from various documents published in the Archives of Baha’i Persecution in Iran, including a brief biography, an excerpt of his Death Certificate from the National Organization for Civil Registration (March 17, 1992), a copy of his death certificate from the Shemiran Branch of  the National Organization for Civil Registration (NCR) released on December 3, 2008, a letter from his wife to the Head of the Supreme Judicial Council, Mr. Yazdi (May 5th, 1992), and a feature article from IranWire (April 22nd, 2022).

Mr. Samandari 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 Faith in the Islamic Republic of Iran and lists the Baha’is killed since 1978. 

Mr. Bahman Samandari was born on November 8th 1939 in Karaj, Iran (Andaleeb Magazine January 21, 2022). He completed his highschool education in Tehran before migrating to Turkey in 1955 and obtaining a Bachelor of Economics from Ankara University. He then returned to Iran and got married to Rosa Mahbubi in 1971 and had two children. Mr. Samandari owned a successful travel agency for a number of years, but this business was amongst the masses of property confiscated from Baha’i’s following the 1979 revolution (IranWire April 22nd, 2022). After the confiscation, Mr. Samandari worked at a textile factory (Kayhan, April 16th, 1992). 

Mr. Samandari served the Baha’i community in a variety of ways. He served on the Executive Board of the University of Indiana’s project that offered correspondence courses for Baha’i students in Iran, after Baha’is were systematically purged from Iran academia following the Cultural Revolution (IranWire).[1] Mr. Samandari was also a member of Yaran, an informal administrative group for the affairs of the Baha’is, following the dibandment of Spiritual Assemblies in Iran (ABC, IranWire).

Mr. Samandari was first arrested on October 21st, 1987, during a Yaran meeting with four other Baha’is, without an arrest warrant (IranWire) and reportedly “charged because of membership in the Baha’i community” (UN Report January 28, 1993). He was kept in solitary confinement for 57 days and released on October 21st, 1987 (IranWire, ABPI, Andaleeb). Following the arrest, the title of his home and bail payment was turned over to the authorities and he was required to report to the Revolutionary Guard headquarters at regular intervals (UN Report January 28, 1993). The Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran addressed the charges for this arrest in a published letter as having been “spying.” The letter also stated  that he was released “because of his repentance for [...] conduct and the lightness of his charges” (UN Report 1993). 

In her letter to the Head of the Supreme Judicial Council, Mr. Samandari’s wife wrote that he was “the most beloved person” in the life of his wife and two children (ABPI, Rosa Mahbubi, May 5th, 1992). 

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(2)- 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.(3)

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. Samandari was summoned to the Office of the Islamic Revolutionary Prosecutor in Tehran on March 17th, 1992. No official reason was presented. His wife was informed of his arrest at 2:00 PM on the same day. No information was provided about his location or reason for arrest. His wife’s request to visit him or obtain any information about him was denied on March 18th and she was deferred and denied various times after that. Mrs. Mahbubi also stated that her husband had an illness but her effort to bring him medication, and other personal items, was denied. Both the Prosecutor’s Office and Evin Prison reported that they had no information regarding Bahman Samandari (ABPI, Rosa Mahbubi, May 5th, 1992). 


In a letter dated November 24th, 1992, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran published that the verdict issued against Mr. Bahman Samandari “has taken its legal procedure and approved by High Court" (UN Report, January 28th, 1993). No additional information about a trial for Mr. Samandari is available. 


At the time of his death, no official charges were announced against Mr. Bahman Samandari. In response to the United Nation’s criticism of Mr. Samandari’s execution, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran issued a letter, on November 24th, 1992, stating “Mr. Bahman Samandari has been a spy, and in numerous cases has involved individuals in his intelligence gathering activities. He has a corrupt personality and has frequently committed adultery with married women.” The government denied that his charges were related to being a Baha’i: “his indictment had nothing to do with his belief” (UN Report 1993). 

According to a media report, Mr. Samandari’s father-in-law, Hasan Mahbubi[3], a member of Yaran, wrote that Mr. Samandari “had been charged with membership of the Baha’i community, ‘activities against national security through the Baha’i community,’ organizing religious ceremonies at his home and hiding a member of the Yaran” (IranWire, April 22, 2022). The validity of this statement has not been verified. 

Because of the unanimous international condemnation of the persecution of this quietist (apolitical) religious community, Iranian authorities do not always admit that the Baha'is are being punished for their religious beliefs. Therefore, judicial authorities have often wrongfully charged Baha'is with offenses such as "being involved in counter-revolutionary activities," "being spies", "being agents of Zionism," or "being involved with prostitution, adultery, and immorality." 

Evidence of Guilt 

There is no information regarding evidence used against Mr. Samandari. 


There is no information about a defense used by Mr. Samandari. 


No final verdict or judgement was issued by the authorities. Mr  Bahman Samandari was executed on March 17th or early hours of March 18th, 1993, less than 24 hours after his arrest. The report of the execution was confirmed by the United Nation Special Representative (UN Report 1993). 

In the original copy of Mr. Samandari’s death certificate issued by the National Organization for Civil Registration, the date of death is recorded March 17th, 1992 and the cause of death is left blank (NCR, March 17, 1992). In a later copy of Mr. Samandari’s death certificate released to one of his children on December 3, 2008, the cause of death is stated as “suicide” (NCR, Shemiran, December 3, 2008). 

The family of Mr. Samandari was not informed of his death until April 5th, 1992 when his written will, dated March 18th[4], 1992 at 3 PM, was presented to his wife, after countless denied attempts to find out about the fate of her husband. On April 7th, 1992, in response to his wife requesting information about his death, she was handed his empty wallet and broken glasses (ABPI, Rosa Mahbubi, May 5th, 1992). 

In a letter written by Mr. Samandari’s wife, Mrs. Rosa Mahbubi to the Head of the Supreme Judicial Council, Mr. Yazdi on May 5th, 1992, rquests for Mr. Yazdi to “investigate the following: 

  1. What was the reason for my husband to be summoned on 27 Esfand 1370 [March 17, 1992], and why was he killed in the final office hours of 28 Esfand [March 18, 1992], just as the whole country was closing down for the holidays, without the order of the Supreme Judicial Council?
  2. What were his charges that he needed to be executed so quickly?
  3. What are the reasons for our not receiving his body and for the secrecy about the location of his burial?
  4. By what legal or religious law have my two children and I been deprived of the most basic human right, which is being informed of my husband’s situation from 27 Esfand 1370 [March 17, 1992] to 16 Farvardin 1371 [April 5, 1992]?
  5. There is a discrepancy between the dates on the death certificate and his will [...]. His death certificate was issued on 27 Esfand [March 17, 1992], and the date on his will is 3:00 pm on 28 Esfand 1370 [March 18, 1992]. How can someone who is not alive write a will? Or if the date of the will is correct, why is the date of the death certificate 27 Esfand 1370 [17 March 1992]?” 

Mr. Bahman Samandari was buried in Behesht-e Zahra Cemetery on March 20th, 1992.


1- 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 on April 15, 1980 during a speech by Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani [a member of the Council of the Islamic Revolution and Minister of Interior] at the University of Tabriz.  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.
2- ‘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.
3- 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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