Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Fatemeh Rajabpur


Age: 38
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Unknown


Date of Killing: June 15, 2009
Location of Killing: Tehran, Tehran Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Arbitrary shooting
Charges: Unknown charge

About this Case

The daycare stood opposite the Basij Base.  She and her mother had come on Monday afternoon to clean, after the children had gone home.

Information about Ms. Fatemeh Rajabpur’s killing, and the killing of her mother, was taken from the websites of the Iran newspaper on June 18, 2009, the Fars news agency on June 17, 2009, ISNA (Iranian Students News Agency) on October 12, 2009, and ILNA (Iranian Labor New Agency) on August 26, 2009. Ms. Fatemeh Rajabpur’s name was also included on the list of “Names and Specifications of 72 Martyrs of The Green Movement” published by the top advisor of Mr. Mirhossein Musavi, the presidential candidate, on the Noruz website on September 4, 2009. Additional information regarding the shooting incident on the Ashura Basij Base on June 15, 2009 was taken from an interview by the Boroumand Foundation with an eyewitness who was present at the scene.

Ms. Fatemeh Rajabpur, 38, and her mother, Sorur Borumand, 58, were employees and teachers at the Ava-ye Baran daycare. This daycare center was close to the Ashura Basij Base, Battalion 117. According to a family member, they went to the daycare center on June 15, 2009 to clean the building after it was closed.

On June 15, 2009, a demonstration took place in Tehran to protest the result of the presidential election. At the end of the demonstration, when people were gradually dispersing, some were killed and injured by paramilitary Basij members. Agents of the Ashura Base Battalion 117 began shooting at people from the rooftop and through the windows of their base, located at the entrance of the Mohammadali Jenah Highway on the north side of Azadi Square. Videos of this shooting were posted on YouTube, which showed tens of protesters in front of the Basij Base chanting slogans. In these videos, direct clashes between Basij forces and civilians were not apparent. However, the Basij forces were seen shooting at people from the windows and the rooftop of the building, the sounds of shotguns were clearly heard, and people were seen carrying away the injured. According to the eyewitness, the people at the demonstration were unarmed. The number of casualties from this incident is unknown but some people, including Mr. Davud Sadri, Mr. Sohrab A’rabi, Mr. Naser Amirnejad, Ms. Sorur Borumand, and Ms. Fatemeh Rajabpur, who were at the daycare building across the street from the Basij Base, were shot.

According to the Fars news agency, family members found the bodies of Ms. Fatemeh Rajabpur and her mother at the daycare center that same night. They were buried in Section 25 of the Beheshte-Zahra cemetery in Tehran on June 17, 2009.

Officials’ Reaction

According to the government-run Fars news agency, Ms. Fatemeh Rajabpur and her mother, who was a Basij member, died as a result of shooting by rioters at the daycare center. During a Basij ceremony in Tehran on October 12, 2009, the Commander of the Basij in Tehran confirmed that Basij forces shot at people in front of the Ashura Base Battalion 117 on June 15, 2009 (ISNA).

The Commander of the Basij in Tehran and the Commander of the Basij Base at the Panbehchi mosque confirmed the death of Ms. Fatemeh Rajabpur and her mother. According to the Commander of the Basij in Tehran, “The expert report indicates that the angle from where the shots were fired was not from our kids [the Basij].” (Fars news agency and ILNA) However, according to a statement by an eyewitness and videos taken from the incident, the protesters around the Basij Base were not armed. Also, state sources did not report any arrest of armed individuals or bullet injuries suffered by any Basij member from the Base. No information was published regarding the type of bullets that caused Ms. Fatemeh Rajabpur’s death or whether they were different from the bullets shot from the Basij Base at protesters.


Election returns from Iran’s June 12th, 2009, presidential election declared Mahmoud Ahmadinejad re-elected with 62.63 percent of the vote. Following the announcement, citizens disputing these official results demonstrated in the streets. Text messaging services were disrupted starting at 11:00 p.m. on the night before the election and remained unavailable for nearly three weeks, until July 1st. On Election Day, the deputy chief of Iranian police announced a ban on any gathering of presidential candidates’ supporters throughout the country. The same evening, security forces made a “show of strength,” increasing their presence in Tehran’s public squares to “reinforce security at polling stations.” Officials at election headquarters began reporting results soon after midnight, despite a statement from the Minister of the Interior that the first returns would not be announced until after the morning prayer (around 4:00 a.m.).

Many supporters of other presidential candidates came out into the streets on June 13th, once the results were made public, to protest what they believed to be a fraudulent election. Candidates Mir Hossein Musavi, Mehdi Karubi, and Mohsen Reza’i, Ahmadinejad’s competitors in the race, contested the election, alleging many instances of fraud. They filed complaints with the Council of Guardians, the constitutional body charged with vetting candidates before elections take place and approving the results afterwards, requesting an annulment and calling for a new election. Before the Council of Guardians could review their claims, however, the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, congratulated Ahmadinejad on his re-election. In the meantime, many people active in Karubi’s and Musavi’s campaigns were arrested.

On June 15th, unprecedented demonstrations filled the streets of central Tehran, in which an estimated three million protestors participated, according to statements attributed to the mayor of Tehran. As the demonstrations were ending, paramilitary forces attacked the marchers, injuring and killing several people. To prevent such news from being broadcast, the Iranian government expelled foreign journalists from the country and banned news agencies from reporting on the events. Over the next three days, protesters took part in peaceful demonstrations in Tehran. The repression entered a new phase on June 19th after Ayatollah Khamenei’s Friday sermon, in which he announced his support for Ahmadinejad and warned protestors that they were responsible for any disorder and its consequences. Amnesty International stated that the speech gave “legitimacy to police brutality.” The next day and thereafter, police and plainclothes paramilitary groups attacked the protesters. Public gatherings of any kind were declared illegal, and police, motorcycle-riding special units wearing black uniforms and helmets, and plainclothes agents brutally enforced this restriction.

Individuals in civilian clothing, commonly referred to as plainclothes forces, are used in the Islamic Republic to disrupt political and trade union activities, student events and gatherings, electoral initiatives, and protests. Armed with sticks and clubs, and sometimes with chains, knives, batons, or firearms, they emerge when the state decides to suppress dissent. These plainclothes forces move about freely, violently beating protesters and arresting them, while the police passively look on or actively cooperate with them.

There is little information on the command structure and organization of such groups, whose members wear ordinary clothing rather than official uniforms and may be affiliated with the ministry of information, influential political groups, or the armed forces. Following the post-election demonstrations in June 2009, pictures of some plainclothes agents were posted on internet websites. Internet users helped to identify some of them and provided evidence that these individuals were affiliated with the Basij paramilitary groups, the Revolutionary Guard Corps, and state intelligence forces. On September 16, 2009, a deputy commander of the Revolutionary Guards Corps of the Province of Tehran confirmed the active and decisive role of Basij forces in the repression of the demonstrations, saying, “Basijis, through their presence in recent events, have blinded the eyes of the conspirators, and they should be appreciated… The enemies of Islam wanted to make the air dusty and to exploit the recent events, but thank God, through the enlightenment of the Honorable Leader we were victorious against this conspiracy.” He also emphasized, “The zealous youth of [the] Basij, believers in the Guardianship of the Jurisprudent, are the second and third generations of the Revolution. They have been successful in this stage and victorious on this battlefield.”

When personal property was damaged during the protests, government authorities and state-run radio and television programs accused the demonstrators of vandalism and justified the repression. At the same time, however, footage posted online showed security forces destroying and damaging property on side streets and in uncongested areas away from the protests. Moreover, in a public gathering in Tehran on October 20th, the chief of Iranian police conceded that police had destroyed and damaged property and accepted responsibility for it.

The precise number of citizens injured, killed, or disappeared in the post-election violence is not known. According to various reports, there were hundreds of victims in demonstrations throughout the country. More than seventy names have been reported. It is said that officials have threatened victims’ family members, demanding their silence and that they refrain from giving interviews. Reports also allege that returning a victim’s body to a family has been made conditional upon their agreement to change the cause of death listed on the coroner’s certificate to that of a heart attack or some other natural cause — thus foregoing the right to file a complaint — as well as the family's agreement not to hold memorial services for the loved one.

According to government statements, more than 4,000 people were arrested throughout Iran in the weeks following June 12th. Many have been held at the Kahrizak Detention Center, where prisoners’ rights and minimum hygiene standards were typically ignored. Numerous reports of violence, including the torture and rape of detainees, have been published. State reports and testimonies confirm that a number of detainees at Kahrizak died in custody due to beatings, difficult and unbearable prison conditions, and torture.

Correct/ Complete This Entry