Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Mohsen Khajenuri (Khadjehnouri)


Age: 63
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Islam (Shi'a)
Civil Status: Married


Date of Killing: September 24, 1979
Location of Killing: Evin Prison, Tehran, Tehran Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Shooting
Charges: Corruption on earth; Association with the Shah's idolatrous regime

About this Case

In Parliament, Mr. Khajenuri provided a medical dispensary and clean water for his district. He would later defend Iranian Freemasonry as part of a tradition including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

The execution of Mr. Mohsen Khajenuri was reported by Kayhan Daily on September 24th 1979. Additional information about this case was similarly drawn from Kayhan in 1979; dates including the19th-22nd of September and the 20th of March. Information about the case of Mr. Khajenuri was completed by a person close to him.

Mr. Khajenuri, born in Tehran, was 62 years old. He had obtained a doctorate degree in economics from a university in Switzerland. He was elected in 1963 as a representative of Shemiranat, Tehran, in the 21st Parliament and resigned in 1973 to run for the Senate. He held different positions such as the Executive Director of Social Insurance for Workers, Senior Advisor to the Ministry of Labor, and one of the founders of Hezb Novin Iran (New Party of Iran) which was a political party under the Shah’s regime (Kayhan, 20 March 1979, the Research Center of Majles and information received from an individual close to him). The New Party of Iran was established in 1963, but after the Shah declared a one-party system in 1974, it merged into the Rastakhiz Party.

Arrest and detention

Mr. Khajenuri was arrested on 19 March 1979 by the Islamic Revolutionary Committee of the Third Circuit of Tehran and was surrendered to Qasr Prison in Tehran. He was detained for some time at Qasr where he was allowed weekly visits by relatives. Later he was transferred to Evin Prison.


The Islamic Revolutionary Tribunal of the Center (i.e. Tehran) held four sessions to examine the case of Mr. Khajenuri and two other defendants. They were tried in camera and their relatives were not allowed in. The trial took place in the Evin Prison.


The charges brought against the defendant were : "having been the executive director of the construction and development company Shemiran-e No"; "having been the technical director of the Ministry of Labor"; "having been the executive director of Workers' Social Security Organization"; "having been one of the founders of the anti-nationalist party Iran Novin"; "having supported the 1953 coup d'etat (that toppled the government of Prime Minister Mossadeq)"; "embezzlement of public funds while he was serving as a legislator"; "spreading corruption, partying and drinking with Pahlavi's family"; "having been a Freemason". He was also accused of having assigned the villagers' land to the royal hunting domain and national ski resorts. The prosecutor accused the defendant of firing unjustly an employee of the Social Security Organization in 1967.

Evidence of guilt

The evidence mentioned by the prosecutor consisted of a complaint filed by 28 villagers and the testimony of the employee of the Social Security Organization. The religious judge did not allow the defendant to list his services to his constituency while he served as a legislator. The defendant was not allowed to summon witnesses who volunteered to testify in his favor; they were not allowed in the courtroom.


Mr. Khajenuri and the two other defendants were not allowed to hire a lawyer. Mr. Khajenuri firmly denied the charges of embezzlement. He said he had only received his salary as a representative of the people and nothing more. He mentioned his services to his constituency: he had personally funded the construction of a medical dispensary for the villagers, and he had provided the villages with clean drinking water. All his wealth, he said, was inherited from his father and his mother. As for being a Freemason, the defendant reminded the court that national figures such as Jamaledin Asadabadi, Nasrollah Taqavi and Mohamad Mosadeq were Freemasons in Iran. Around the world, he added, Freemasons had always fought for freedom. People like Washington and Jefferson who fought for the independence of their country were Freemasons. He said he was against communism because communists are against democracy and that is why he joined the Freemasonry, the only organization capable to counter communism. As for his alleged support of the 1953 coup, the defendant reminded the court that he was serving the Prime Minister Mossadeq at the time of the coup and he was the architect of the creation of the Workers Social Security Organization. After the coup, he explained, he resigned in protest and was banned from public life for eight years. The defendant also dismissed the charges of removing the villagers from their land, by reminding that he had no authority to do so. The royal hunting domain was managed by the Court Ministry, and the Ski Federation was in charge of the skiing domain.

A Summary of the Legal Defects in the Adjudication of Mr. Mohsen Khajenuri’s Case

According to available information, the basis for all of the charges brought against Mr. Khajenuri was the positions he held under the Pahlavi regime [such as Senator]. None of the positions or offices he occupied were security related, and therefore, he could not have intervened in security and intelligence related issues, or in quashing demonstrators, and other matters of that nature. Among the charges brought against him was his alleged role in the 28 of Mordad (August 19, 1953) coup d’état, for which no evidence was presented whatsoever. The charges also alleged that he had played a role in the misuse of public funds. The problem with the latter charge is that, first, it should state exactly when and under what circumstances such funds were misused by Mr. Khajenuri, and in what amount. Secondly, misuse has not been defined as a crime; if he had embezzled funds or had illegally misappropriated government funds or property, such actions should have been proven through presentation of proper evidence and with specificity. Furthermore, these are crimes that have been specifically defined and for which specific punishments have been devised in the law and in Shari’a legal tenets.

The charges also stated that he had promoted debauchery (partying and drinking) and corruption in the Pahlavi family! One has trouble understanding what is meant by such a statement, and how and in what manner he had promoted debauchery, and if so, whether such action was contrary to the law and the tenets of Shari’a. Such actions could in no way have constituted Moharebeh (“waging war against Allah”) and Efsad fel-Arz (“spreading corruption on Earth”), since pursuant to religious rules relied upon by tribunals at the time, Moharebeh consisted of taking up arms with the intention of creating fear and apprehension in the populace and initiating killings. In other words, Mohareb was a person who took up arms with the intention of fighting Allah or the Islamic government. None of Mr. Khajenuri’s actions could amount to any such allegations by any stretch of the imagination.

The Defendant’s defense of himself was not addressed in the course of the trial, and no convincing proof or evidence was submitted to prove the charges brought against him. Furthermore, the court did not allow a number of individuals and ordinary citizens to testify on his behalf. Additionally, the court deprived Mr. Khajenuri of his right to an attorney, whereas, in accordance with the law, the Defendant had the right to legal representation and the court could not deprive him of that right. It seems, generally, that Mr. Khajenuri’s death sentence was handed down solely to exact revenge, and that it had no basis in Islamic jurisprudence or the law.


The defendant was sentenced to death and executed. On the eve of his execution he was allowed a last visit from his wife. Late in the evening (after 10:00 pm) she was summoned to the prison. They were given thirty minutes. He hugged her and asked her not to cry. He told her that this was his destiny; he had done nothing wrong and was proud of his achievements; his door had always been open to those in need. Few hours later, at dawn, Mr. Khajenuri was executed.

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