Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Mohammad Malek


Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Unknown


Date of Killing: July 19, 1980
Location of Killing: Evin Prison, Tehran, Tehran Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Shooting
Charges: Plotting to overthrow the Islamic Republic

About this Case

The execution of Brigadier General Mohammad Malek was reported along with 4 others in the Jomhuri Eslami and Enqelab Eslami dailies (July 20, 1980). Brig. Gen. Malek was reportedly involved in planning a coup d’état, known as Noje, which was never carried out.

On July 7, 1980, the Islamic Republic of Iran authorities announced the discovery and dismantling of a civil and military network which had planned a coup d’état to overthrow the regime. Following this discovery, more than sixty officers and civilians were executed in several cities of Iran in less than a month. Most of the officers were still active in the army and had not been removed in the first wave of purges which took place within the file and ranks of the army after the fall of the monarchy.

Two months later, the organization NEGHAB in a communiqué, claimed responsibility for this attempted ‘uprising.’ The organization attested that “the path of Mossadegh is that of the people” and today “Bakhtiar is its authentic leader.”

“We have risen up to put an end to this curse (the Islamic regime) and to entrust the affairs of our land to the faithful disciple of Mossadegh—Shapour Bakhtiar.” (Iran: In Defense of Human Rights, National Movement of the Iranian Resistance, Paris, 1983)

Nureddin Kianuri, Secretary General of the Tudeh Party (the Iranian pro-Soviet communist party) mentions the coup d’état in an article dated May 2, 2000 (www.rahetudeh.com). Kianuri stresses the fact that the military branch of the Tudeh, which cooperated with the Islamic Republic's authorities, discovered and "neutralized" the above mentioned organization as well as other groups that planned a coup against the newly established regime.

Arrest and detention

No information is available on the circumstances of this defendant’s arrest and detention.


Based on the report, the trial was held from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Islamic Revolutionary Tribunal of the Army in the Evin Prison. The deliberation amongst religious judges lasted an hour.


No charges were specified for Brig. Gen. Malek individually. Collectively, he and three other defendants were charged with “plotting and participation in a coup d’état to be carried out on Thursday night on July 9, 1980, against the Islamic Republic of Iran” and being “rebels against the sovereignty of Islam.” The prosecutor referred to the defendants as “enthusiasts of the Shah’s rotten, filthy, and reactionary regime” and “supporters of blood-thirsty American imperialism.” He further explained that the defendants “had in mind to bring the ‘American social democracy’ as a gift to the liberated people of Iran. They had in mind to re-assess the opinion of our heroic nation about the return of the royal system through a referendum […].”

Evidence of guilt

Based on the indictment, the evidences used against the defendants were as follows:

1) “The defendants’ clear confessions regarding: a) having designed and having had the intension of carrying out a coup d’état against the sovereignty of the Islamic Republic of Iran; b) having prepared 35-50 aircrafts for their operation and for bombing various busy parts of the cities; c) having intended to return the treacherous Bakhtiar to power in case their plan succeeded; d) having prepared printed leaflets to distribute among people and threaten to suppress any resistance in case their plan succeeded; e) having planned to take over military centers such as Mehrabad Airport and the Radio and Television Office.”

2) “Reports attached to the defendants’ files by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards”

3) “Statements of each defendant about the other defendants”

4) “Existence of certain indications and references in their files”


No information is available on Brig. Gen. Malek’s defense.


The indictment ends with the following “necessary explanation:” “This conspiracy is not a single incident and these conspirators cannot be considered ordinary convicts. These are criminals who have undermined the newly-found truth, honor, and dignity of a liberated Umma [community of Muslim people]. Considering that and by consulting the holy verses of the Koran regarding the punishment of the ‘rebel’ against the Islamic sovereign, it is imperative that the convicts receive their punishment according to Shari'a law.”

Brig. Gen. Malek was sentenced to death. At midnight, within hours after the issuance of the verdict, the defendant was executed at the same place where he was tried.

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