Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Habibollah Iravani


Age: 66
Nationality: Iran
Civil Status: Married


Date of Killing: 1980
Location of Killing: Qasr Prison, Tehran, Tehran Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Drug trafficking

About this Case

The information regarding Mr. Habibollah Irvani has been drawn from an electronic form sent to Omid by an individual familiar with this case. Mr. Irvani was born in Tehran in 1914 and worked as an entertainer for weddings and parties, acting in “ruhozi” plays. He was married with children. The sender of the form remembers Mr. Irvani as gentle, simple, and sincere.

“Ruhozi” (“over-the-pool”) theatre has roots in Iranian urban culture. It was generally performed at celebrations and weddings. The actors put wooden planks over the pool in the yard so that the audience can better see the stage. One of the characteristics of this genre of theatre is improvised lyrics about social issues, at times critical of social problems, accompanied by rhythmic music and dance. Today this genre of music is on the verge of extinction.

Arrest and detention

The exact circumstances of Mr. Irvani’s arrest and detention are not known. He was arrested in his house on Molavi Street in Tehran and detained in Qasr prison.


There is no information regarding this trial, other than the accused was tried by Ayatollah Khalkhali.


Mr. Irvani was charged with “international drug trafficking”.

The validity of the criminal charges brought against this defendant cannot be ascertained in the absence of the basic guarantees of a fair trial.

Evidence of guilt

According to the electronic form, there was no evidence to prove the alleged charge.


No information is available concerning Mr. Irvani’s defense. The sender of the electronic form states that “Mr. Khalkhali did not understand the word ‘defense.’” This individuals asserts the reasoning behind the sentence was that such “minstrels” would spread “debauchery and corruption” and should be eradicated. The sender of the form goes on to say that Mr. Irvani was falsely charged with international drug trafficking even though he would sometimes get lost traveling through Tehran. The sender of the form emphasizes that Mr. Irvani was not wealthy and lived in a “rented shanty”, and was condemned to death solely for his profession.


No specific information is available about the verdict leading to this execution. According to the form, one day very early in the morning, Mr. Irvani felt very cold in prison and asked for a blanket. The prison guard left and returned a few minutes later and said that the judge wanted Mr. Irvani to go and fetch a blanket. Mr. Irvani followed the guard into the prison yard. The religion judge was waiting outside and told the jailer to bring a rope to warm up the prisoner. Mr. Iravni was hanged in Qasr prison in 1980.

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