Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

https://www.iranrights.org
Omid, a memorial in defense of human rights in Iran
One Person’s Story

Hossein Majidi

About

Age: 15
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Islam (Shi'a)
Civil Status: Single

Case

Date of Killing: October, 1981
Location of Killing: Evin Prison, Tehran, Tehran Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Death in custody
Charges: Unknown charge
Age at time of offense: 15

About this Case

He was almost a kid, though already gifted in assembling electronics. In politics, his extended family were allies of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization. (Even his grandparents got arrested.)

The information related to the case of Mr. Hossein Majidi, high school student and a sympathizer of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO),* was drawn from the Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation’s interview with one of his close relatives. This interview took place in London (United Kingdom), on February 7th, 2011.

Mr. Hossein Majidi grew up in a politically active family. After the 1979 victory of Iran’s Islamic Revolution, Hossein Majidi became a sympathizer of the MKO and actively supported its agenda. Mr. Majidi’s activities consisted of participating in small demonstrations organized by a few MKO sympathizers at the district level, at which he distributed the MKO’s leaflets and other publications. With the growing restriction on freedom of expression and freedom of assembly in Iran between 1979 and 1981, these demonstrations were regularly countered by pro-government vigilantes (Hezbollah militants) and would often end up in a violent brawl. According to Mr. Majidi’s relative, before June 20th, 1981, Hossein had been identified by the revolutionary authorities of his district and had been arrested for participating in demonstrations and distributing the MKO’s literature. He had been released a few hours later at the behest of his parents who had promised the revolutionary authorities that he would refrain from demonstrating in the future.

In the wake of the June 21, 1981, mass demonstration, political repression intensified in Iran. Hossein Majidi’s relatives, including his aunts Mehrangiz and Soheila Mohammad-Rahimi and his uncles Ebrahim, Hushang, Aziz, and Manouchehr Mohammad-Rahimi along with his grandparents Mr. and Ms. Mohammad-Rahimi were arrested. Aziz was executed a few weeks later, on August 17th, 1981. After many years in detention, Soheila, Mehrangiz and Hushang were also executed. Ebrahim, Manouchehr and their parents survived political persecution. The stories of Hushang, Aziz, Soheila and Mehrangiz Mohammad-Rahimi are documented in Omid, A Memorial in Defense of Human Rights.

Hossein Majidi’s relatives remember him as a very kind and quiet child. He was interested in electrical engineering and electronics. As a hobby he used to make electrical tools and he made a walkie-talkie all by himself. Hossein’s dream was to graduate from high school and enroll in Tehran University to study electrical engineering.

Arrest and detention

Hossein Majidi was arrested in mid-September 1981 at his home on Bella’s street, in the Farahabad’s Khazaneh district in Tehran. He was 15 at the time of his arrest. Agents of the Islamic Revolutionary Committee of the Khazaneh district were mandated by the Islamic Revolutionary Committee of Naziabad district to arrest him. Mr. Majidi’s parents, however, were not shown any written arrest warrant. They inspected the house, took Hossein’s books, and interrogated his parents about his activities and his school. They told Hossein’s parents that they were taking him to ask him a few questions and would bring him back in a few hours.

Based on the information gathered by Hossein’s detained relatives at Evin Prison, after his arrest he was transferred to Evin Prison. Several MKO members, who were under interrogation at the time in the interrogation section of Evin Prison had seen Hossein Majidi and told his uncles that he was under interrogation there. According to these witnesses, Hossein had been severely tortured and was in a very worrying state. He spent a month under interrogation at Evin Prison.

Trial

According to Mr. Majidi’s relative, he died while under interrogation as a result of the severe torture he endured. There is no indication from the Islamic Republic’s Judiciary or from Evin Prison’s authorities that Mr. Majidi was ever tried.

Charges

There is no information regarding the charges leveled against Mr. Majidi. However his sympathy for and activities in favor of the MKO are believed to have been the cause of his arrest.

Evidence of guilt

The report of this death in detention does not contain information regarding the evidence provided against the defendant.

Defense

No information is available on Mr. Majidi’s defense. It is worth noting however that in spite of the "armed struggle" announcement by the MKO on June 20, 1981, many sympathizers of the organization had no military training, were not armed, and did not participate in armed conflict.

Judgment

There is no evidence that Mr. Hossein Majidi was ever tried or that any verdict was ever issued regarding his case. According to his relative, for a long time his parents kept going to Evin Prison to inquire about their son, only to hear the prison authorities deny that anyone by the name of Hossein Majidi was ever detained in Evin Prison. For several years any and all information regarding the fate of their son was withheld from Mr. and Mrs. Majidi. One day, however, Hossein’s father had a work-related meeting with an influential individual within the Islamic Republic’s ruling class. He told him about his son and asked for help. This person agreed to help him and investigated the case. He came back to Hossein’s father and told him that his son was buried in the Behesht-e Zahra cemetery and gave him the location of the burial. Only after seeing the date of the burial on their child’s tombstone, did his parents find out that he had died one month after his arrest.

* The Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) was founded in 1965. This organization adapted the principals of Islam as its ideological guideline. However, their interpretation of Islam was revolutionary and they believed in armed struggle against the Shah's regime. They valued Marxism as a progressive method for economic and social analysis but considered Islam as their source of inspiration, culture, and ideology. In the 1970s, the MKO was weakened when many of its members were imprisoned and executed. In 1975, following a deep ideological crisis, the organization refuted Islam as its ideology and, after many of its members were killed and the purge of other Muslim members, the organization proclaimed Marxism as its ideology. This move created a tense and critical atmosphere among the Muslim activists and sympathizers of the MKO, and finally led to establishment of the Marxist-Leninist Section of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization in 1977. In January of 1979 the imprisoned Muslim leaders of the MKO were released along with other political prisoners. They began to re-organize the MKO and recruit new members based on Islamic ideology. After the 1979 Revolution and the establishment of the Islamic Republic, the MKO accepted the leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini and supported the Revolution. Active participation in the political scene and infiltration of governmental institutions were foremost on the organization’s agenda. During the first two years after the Revolution, the MKO succeeded in recruiting numerous sympathizers, especially in high schools and universities; but their efforts to gain political power, either by becoming appointed officials or elected by the people, were strongly opposed by the Islamic Republic authorities.

The exclusion of MKO members from government offices and the closure of their centers and publishing houses, in conjunction with the Islamic Republic authorities’ different interpretation of Islam, deepened the gap between the two. Authorities of the new regime referred to the Mojahedin as “Hypocrites” and the Hezbollahi supporters of the regime attacked the Mojahedin sympathizers regularly during demonstrations and while distributing publications, leading to the death of several MKO supporters. On June 20, 1981, the MKO called for a demonstration protesting their treatment by governmental officials and the effort to impeach their ally, President Banisadr. Despite the fact that the regime called this demonstration illegal, thousands came to the streets, some of whom confronted the Revolutionary Guardsmen and Hezbollahis. The number of casualties from the demonstration is unknown but a large number of demonstrators were arrested and executed in the following days and weeks. Following that day, the Islamic Republic regime started a repressive campaign – unprecedented in modern Iranian history – and thousands of MKO members and sympathizers were arrested or executed. On June 21, 1981, the MKO announced an armed struggle against the Islamic Republic and assassinated a number of high ranking officials and supporters of the Islamic regime over the next weeks and months.

In the summer of 1981, the leader of the MKO and the impeached President (Abolhassan Banisadr) fled Iran to reside in France, where he founded the National Council of Resistance. After the MKO leaders and many of its members were expelled from France, they went to Iraq and founded the National Liberation Army of Iran in 1987, which entered Iranian territory a few times during the Iran-Iraq war. They were defeated in July 1988 during their last operation, the Forugh Javidan Operation. A few days after this operation, thousands of imprisoned Mojahedin supporters were killed during the mass executions of political prisoners in 1988. Ever since the summer of 1981, the MKO has continued its activities outside of Iran. No information is available regarding members and activities of the MKO inside the country. 

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