Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Ali Reza Kiani


Age: 39
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Non-Believer
Civil Status: Married


Date of Killing: August, 1988
Location: Gohardasht Prison, Karaj, Tehran Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Counter revolutionary opinion and/or speech; Apostasy

About this Case

The information about Mr. Ali Reza Kiani, son of Hedayatollah, has been drawn from an interview with a relative. His name is also mentioned in the book Those Who Said “No”, published in 1999 by the Paris-based Association for the Defense of Political Prisoners and Prisoners of Conscience in Iran.

Mr. Kiani was a sympathizer of the Fadaiyan Khalq Organization (Majority) and a victim of the mass killings of political prisoners in 1988. The majority of the executed prisoners were members of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization. Other victims included members or sympathizers of Marxist-Leninist organizations, such as the Fadaiyan Khalq (Minority) and the Peykar Organization, which opposed the Islamic Republic, as well as the Tudeh Party and the Fadaiyan Khalq (Majority), which did not. Information about the mass executions has been gathered by the Boroumand Foundation from the memoir of Ayatollah Montazeri, reports of human rights organizations, interviews with victims’ families, and witnesses’ memoirs.

Mr. Kiani held a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and worked at the Tehran Oil Refinery Company, in which he led political activities of the employees. He was a prominent and well-known political activist among employees of the Company as well as among political prisoners before and after the revolution of 1979. Mr. Kiani was arrested in 1981 and freed after some time, without being tried.

The Fadaiyan Khalq Organization, a Marxist Leninist group, inspired by the Cuban Revolution and the urban guerilla movements of Latin America, was founded in 1971 by two communist groups opposed to the Pahlavi regime. Following the 1979 Revolution, the Organization, which had renounced armed struggle, split over their support of the Islamic Republic and of the Soviet Union. The Fadaiyan Khalq Majority considered the Islamic Republic as a revolutionary and anti-imperialist regime and supported it. After the spring of 1983, however, the Islamic Republic targeted its members solely because of their political beliefs.

Arrest and detention

Agents of the Ministery of Intelligence arrested Mr. Kiani in September 1985 in Zahedan, from where he intended to flee the country. He was detained in Zahedan for some time and then transferred to the Joint Committee.

After the Revolution of 1979, the Joint Anti-Sabotage Committee was renamed to 3000 Ward and subsequently to Tohid Prison. Before and after the revolution, political prisoners were tortured in this infamous prison, which has become the Ebrat Museum since the early 1990’s.


Mr. Kiani was tried in April 1986 and condemned to three years imprisonment. Specific details on the circumstances of the trials that led to the execution of Mr. Kiani and thousands of other individuals in 1988 are not known. According to existing information, there was no official trial with the presence of an attorney and prosecutor. Those who were executed in 1988 were sent to a three-man committee consisting of a religious judge, a representative from the Intelligence Ministry, and a Public Prosecutor of Tehran. This committee asked the leftist prisoners some questions about their beliefs and whether or not they believed in God.

The relatives of political prisoners executed in 1988 refute the legality of the judicial process that resulted in thousands of executions throughout Iran. In their 1988 open letter to then Minister of Justice Dr. Habibi, they argue that the official secrecy surrounding these executions is proof of their illegality. They note that an overwhelming majority of these prisoners had been tried and sentenced to prison terms, which they were either serving or had already completed serving when they were retried and sentenced to death.


According to the interviewee, in his first trial, Mr. Kiani was charged with refusing to denounce his political organization. No charge has been publicly leveled against the victims of the 1988 mass executions. In their letters to the Minister of Justice (1988), and to the UN Special Rapporteur visiting Iran (February 2003), the families of the victims refer to the authorities accusations against the prisoners – accusations that may have led to their execution. These accusations include being “counter-revolutionary, anti-religion, and anti-Islam,” as well as being “associated with military action or with various [opposition] groups based near the borders.”

An edict of the Leader of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khomeini, reproduced in the memoirs of Ayatollah Montazeri, his designated successor, corroborates the reported claims regarding the charges against the executed prisoners. In this edict, Ayatollah Khomeini refers to members of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization as “hypocrites” who do not believe in Islam and “wage war against God” and decrees that prisoners who still approve of the positions taken by this organization are also “waging war against God” and should be sentenced to death.

Defendants, who did not belong to the Organization named by the leader of the Islamic Republic, may have been accused of being “anti-religion” for not having renounced his or her beliefs.

Evidence of guilt

The report of this execution does not contain information regarding the evidence provided against the defendant.


No information is available on Mr. Kiani’s defense. In their open letter, the families of the prisoners noted that defendants were not given the opportunity to defend themselves in court. The same letter, rebutting the accusation that these prisoners (from inside the prison) had collaborated with armed members of the Mojahedin Organization in clashes with armed forces of the Islamic Republic, states that such claims “are false considering the circumstances in prisons; for our children faced most difficult conditions [in prison, with] visitation rights of once every 15 days, each visitation lasting ten minutes through a telephone from behind the glass window, and were deprived of any connection with the outside world. We faced such conditions for seven years, which proves the truth of our claim.”


The details regarding the execution sentence are not available. State officials issued a death certificate only due to persistence of his family members. This certificate states that Mr. Kiani died in his house on September 16, 1988. However, according to some survivors of the massacre, the leftist prisoners of Gohardasht were executed in the last few days of August 1988. Prison officials have not informed his family of the location of Mr. Ali Reza Kiani’s burial. Family members of the victims of the 1988 mass executions believe, based on information and testimonies that they were able to gather, that leftist prisoners who were executed in the summer of 1988 were buried in mass graves in Khavaran cemetery.

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