Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Reza Shahbakhti


Age: 37
Nationality: Iran
Civil Status: Married


Date of Killing: December 8, 1982
Location: Evin Prison, Tehran, Tehran Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Shooting
Charges: Plotting to overthrow the Islamic Republic

About this Case

The information about Mr. Reza Shahbakhti has been sent to Omid, through an electronic form, by a relative. Additional information has been drawn from the indictment of other individuals who were also involved in the Nojeh coup, as published in the Jomhuri Eslami newspapers on July 20, 1980.

Mr. Shahbakhti was born in Sabzevar (today in Khorasan Razavi province) in 1945. He was a high school graduate and served in the army during the previous regime. His file was related to the attempted Nojeh coup.

According to available information, the planners of the Nojeh coup were members of the armed forces and the Iran Party (social democrat and part of the Iranian National Front) who opposed the religious rule and believed in the separation of church and state. The core of the coup d’état plan was to fly aircrafts from Nojeh base in Hamedan and bomb some military targets as well as the residence of Ayatollah Khomeini. Another team was to take over the radio-television building in Tehran in order to announce the coup and expose the motives to the population.

On July 9, 1980, the Islamic Republic of Iran authorities announced the discovering and dismantling of a civil and military network which had planned the coup d’état to overthrow the regime. 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 – Shapur Bakhtiar” (Iran: In Defense of Human Rights, National Movement of the Iranian Resistance, Paris, 1983).

Following the discovery of the plan for the coup, 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 swept away in the first wave of purges which took place in the army after the fall of the monarchy. Executions of individuals involved in the Nojeh coup continued in the months and years to come; at least 200 persons were executed in relations to the coup.

Nureddin Kianuri, Secretary General of the Tudeh Party (the Iranian pro-Soviet communist party) mentioned the coup d’état in an article dated May 2, 2000 posted on the Rah-e Tudeh website. Kianuri stressed the fact that the military branch of the Tudeh Party, 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

The details of Mr. Shahbakhti’s arrest and detention is not known, other than he was arrested in 1980 in Sabzevar. He was detained in several prisons, including Evin. His first visit with family was 18 months after his arrest. He was under interrogation for two years.


There is no information regarding the trial of this defendant, other than he was tried at a court martial.


Mr. Shahbakhti was charged with attempt to overthrow the regime of the Islamic Republic.

In an indictment dated July 19, 1980, the Public Prosecutor said the following regarding some other participants of this alleged coup d’état plan: “These enthusiasts of the Shah’s rotten, filthy, and reactionary regime, these supporters of the blood-thirsty American imperialism, had in mind to bring ‘American social democracy’ as a gift to the liberated people of Iran. They had in mind to re-asses the opinion of our heroic nation about the return of the royal system through a referendum…”

The Public Prosecutor emphasized: “This conspiracy was not planned in a vacuum and hence cannot be described in a single indictment; and these conspirators cannot be considered ordinary convicts. They are criminals who have undermined the newly regained truth, honor, and dignity of a liberated community of Muslim people. Considering this and 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 the Shari’a law.”

Evidence of guilt

The report of this execution did not provide any specific information on the evidence presented against the defendants.


No information is available regarding Mr. Shahbakhti’s defense. He was denied the right to have an attorney.


Mr. Reza Shahbakhti was condemned to death and shot by a firing squad on December 8, 1982.

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