Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Behnam Mohebpur


Nationality: Iran
Religion: Islam
Civil Status: Single


Date of Killing: September 19, 1981
Location of Killing: Shiraz, Fars Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Shooting
Charges: Unspecified counter-revolutionary offense

About this Case

Based on the available information, the following human rights have been violated in this case:

  • The right to liberty and security of the person. The right not to be subjected to arbitrary arrest and detention.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), %Article 3%viol_udhr_3%; International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), %Article 9.1%viol_iccpr_9.1%.

  • The right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, including the right to change and manifest one’s religion or belief.

UDHR, %Article 18%viol_udhr_18%; ICCPR, %Article 18.1%viol_iccpr_18.1%, ICCPR, %Article 18.2%viol_iccpr_18.2%; Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, %Article 1%viol_deidrb_1% and %Article 6%viol_deidrb_6%.

In its general comment 22 (48) of 20 July 1993, the United Nation’s Human Rights Committee observed that the freedom to "have or to adopt" a religion or belief necessarily entailed the freedom to choose a religion or belief, including the right to replace one’s current religion or belief with another or to adopt atheistic views, as well as the right to retain one’s religion or belief. Article 18, paragraph 2, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights bars coercion that would impair the right to have or adopt a religion or belief, including the use of threat of physical force or penal sanctions to compel believers or non-believers to adhere to religious beliefs and congregations, to recant their religion or belief or to convert.

  • The right to freedom of opinion and expression, including the right to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas.

UDHR, %Article 19%viol_udhr_19%; ICCPR, %Article 19.1%viol_iccpr_19.1% and ICCPR, %Article 19.2%viol_iccpr_19.2%.

  • The right to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and join trade unions for the protection of one’s interests.

UDHR, %Article 20%viol_udhr_20%; ICCPR, %Article 22.1%viol_iccpr_22.1%.        

The right to due process

  • The right to be presumed innocent until found guilty by a competent and impartial tribunal in accordance with law.

ICCPR, %Article 14.1%viol_iccpr_14.1% and %Article 14.2%viol_iccpr_14.2%.

Pre-trial detention rights

  • The right to know promptly and in detail the nature and cause of the charges against one.

UDHR, Article 9(2); ICCPR, %Article 9.2%viol_iccpr_9.2% and %Article 14.3.a%viol_iccpr_14.3.a%

  • The right to counsel of one’s own choosing or the right to legal aid. The right to communicate with one’s attorney in confidence

ICCPR, %Article 14.3.b%viol_iccpr_14.3.b% and %Article 14.3.d%viol_iccpr_14.3.d%; Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, %Article 1%viol_bprl_1%, %Article 2%viol_bprl_2%, %Article 5%viol_bprl_5%, %Article 6%viol_bprl_6%, and %Article 8%viol_bprl_8%.

  • The right to adequate time and facilities for the preparation of the defense case.

ICCPR, %Article 14.3.b%viol_iccpr_14.3.b%.

  • The right not to be compelled to testify against oneself or to confess to guilt.

ICCPR, %Article 14.3.g%viol_iccpr_14.3.g%.

  • The right not to be subjected to torture and to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

ICCPR, %Article 7%viol_iccpr_7%; Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment and Punishment, %Article 1%viol_ctcidp_1% and %Article 2%viol_ctcidp_2%.

Trial rights

  • The right to a fair and public trial without undue delay.

ICCPR, %Article 14.1%viol_iccpr_14.1%, %Article 14.3.c%viol_iccpr_14.3.c%.

  • The right to defense through an attorney or legal aid. The right to examine, or have examined, the witnesses against one, and the right to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on one’s behalf under the same conditions as prosecution witnesses.

ICCPR, %Article 14.3.d%viol_iccpr_14.3.d% and %Article 14.3.e%viol_iccpr_14.3.e%.

  • The right to have the decision rendered in public.

ICCPR, %Article 14.1%viol_iccpr_14.1%.

Judgment rights

  • The right to appeal to a court of higher jurisdiction.

ICCPR, %Article 14.5%viol_iccpr_14.5%.

  • The right to seek pardon or commutation of sentence.

ICCPR, %Article 6.4%viol_iccpr_6.4%.

Capital punishment
  • The inherent right to life, of which no one shall be arbitrarily deprived.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), %Article 3%viol_udhr_3%; International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), %Article 6.1%viol_iccpr_6.1%; Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty, %Article 1.1%viol_sopiccpr_1.1%, %Article 1.2%viol_sopiccpr_1.2%.

  • The right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment.

ICCPR, %Article 7%viol_iccpr_7%; Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment and Punishment, %Article 1%viol_ctcidp_1% and %Article 2%viol_ctcidp_2%.



Mr. Behnam Mohebpur (Mojahedin Khalq Iran) is one of the 12028 individuals listed in an addendum to the Mojahed magazine (No 261), published by Mojahedin Khalq Organization in 1985. The list includes individuals, affiliated with various opposition groups, who were executed or killed during clashes with the Islamic Republic security forces from June 1981 to the publication date of the magazine.

The Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) was founded in 1965. This organization adapted the principles of Islam as its ideological guideline. However, its members’ 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 a few of its members were killed and other Muslim members purged, the organization proclaimed Marxism as its ideology. This move led to split of the Marxist-Leninist Section of the MKO 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 its efforts to gain political power, either by appointment or election, were strongly opposed by the Islamic Republic leaders. *

Arrest and detention

The circumstances of Mr. Mohebpur’s arrest and detention are not known.


No information is available on Mr. Mohebpur’s trial.


The charge brought against Mr. Mohebpur is not known.

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. Mohebpur’s defense.


There is no information on the verdict leading to this execution.


*The exclusion of MKO members from government offices and the closure of their centers and publishing houses, in conjunction with to the Islamic Republic authorities’ different interpretation of Islam, widened 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 government officials’ efforts to impeach their ally, President Abolhassan 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 that resulted from this demonstration is unknown but a large number of demonstrators were arrested and executed in the following days and weeks. The day after the demonstration, the Islamic Republic regime started a repressive campaign – unprecedented in modern Iranian history. 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. *

In the summer of 1981, the leader of the MKO and the impeached President (Banisadr) fled Iran to reside in France, where they 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.

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.

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