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

Mirshams Ebrahimi

About

Nationality: Iran
Religion: Non-Believer
Civil Status: Unknown

Case

Date of Killing: September, 1988
Location: Gohardasht Prison, Karaj, Tehran Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging

About this Case

Mr. Mirshams Ebrahimi is one victim of the 1988-89 mass execution of political prisoners in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Many of the executed prisoners were members or sympathizers of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI, also known as MKO). However, members or supporters of Marxist Leninist organizations, such as the People’s Fadaiyan of Iran (Minority) or Peykar, which opposed the Islamic Republic, as well as the Tudeh Party and Fadaiyan Khalq (Majority), which did not oppose the regime, were among the victims. Complementary information has been gathered from the memoirs of Ayatollah Montazeri, reports of human rights organizations, interviews with family members, and memoirs of witnesses, all provided to the Boroumand Foundation.

News of the execution of Mr. Mirshams Ebrahimi was also published by Andishe-va-Peykar in 1995 in the book “An Unequal Battle: a report of seven years in prison, from 1982 to 1989” by Nima Parvaresh. According to this report, Mr. Mirshams Ebrahimi was a sympathizer of the Peykar Organization.

The Peykar Organization for the Liberation of the Working Class was founded by a number of dissident members of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization who had converted to Marxism-Leninism. Peykar was also joined by a number of political organizations, known as Khat-e Se (Third line). The founding tenets of Peykar included the rejection of guerrilla struggle and a strong stand against the pro-Soviet policies of the Iranian Tudeh Party. Peykar viewed the Soviet Union as a "Social imperialist" state, believed that China had deviated from the Marxist-Leninist principles, and radically opposed all factions of the Islamic regime of Iran. The brutal repression of dissidents by the Iranian government and splits within Peykar in 1981 and 1982 effectively dismantled the Organization and scattered its supporters. By the mid-1980s, Peykar was no longer in existence.

Arrest and detention

There is no specific information on the defendant’s arrest and detention.

Trial

Specific details on the circumstances of the trials that led to the execution of Mr. Mirshams Ebrahimi and thousands of other individuals in 1988 are not known. According to available information, the Iranian authorities did not try the victims of the 1988 mass execution in a court with the presence of defense lawyers. The prisoners executed in 1988 had been questioned by a three-member special committee composed of a religious judge, a representative of the Intelligence Ministry, and the Tehran Prosecutor. The committee questioned the leftist prisoners about their beliefs and their faith in God and religion.

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 when they were retried and sentenced to death.

Charges

No charge has been leveled publicly against the defendant. 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 the PMOI's members 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 their beliefs.

Evidence of guilt

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

Defence

No information is available on Mr. Mirshams Ebrahimi’s defence. In their open letter, the families of the prisoners note 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 the prison, with] visitation rights of once every 15 days, each visitation lasting ten minutes through a telephone from behind a 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.”

Judgment

According to Mr. Nima Parvaresh’s report, Mr. Mirshams Ebrahimi was executed in the Gohardasht prison in August of 1988.

Details regarding the execution sentence are not available. According to available information, leftist prisoners executed in 1988 were found to be “apostates.” Months after the executions, prison authorities informed the families about the executions and handed the victims’ belongings to their families. The bodies, however, were not returned to them, but instead buried in mass graves. Authorities warned the families of prisoners against holding memorial ceremonies.

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