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

Manuchehr Nejati

About

Age: 17
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Single

Case

Date of Execution: 1981
Location: Kermanshah, Kermanshah Province, Iran
Mode of Execution: Extrajudicial killing
Charges: Unspecified offense
Age at time of offense: 17

Human rights violations in this case

Extrajudicial killings


Since the inception of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979, national and international human rights organizations have blamed the Islamic Republic authorities for the extrajudicial killing of their opponents, both within and outside of Iran's borders. Although over two hundred cases have been reported, the exact number of victims remains unknown.

Extrajudicial executions carried out in Iran are rarely investigated; the few cases that have been investigated have indicated that the Iranian state security apparatus has been involved. Agents of the Islamic Republic have also targeted dissidents outside the country, assassinating opposition members in Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and in the United States,.

In many assassination cases outside Iran, local authorities have made no arrests. However, investigations, when they have taken place and been made public, have led to the single hypothesis of State ordered crimes. The organization and execution of these crimes constitute a pattern that Swiss prosecutor Roland Chatelain describes as “common parameters” following a “meticulous preparation.” Similarities between different cases in different countries have created a coherent set of presumptions designating the Islamic Republic as the instigator of these assassinations.

 

In cases involving prominent Iranians assassinated in France, Germany, and Switzerland, local prosecutors have provided evidence linking Iranian authorities to the crimes in question.

 

In France, for example, the Iranian Deputy Minister of Telecommunications has been sentenced to life imprisonment for his involvement in the 1991 murder of two dissidents. In Germany, agents of Iran's secret services and Lebanese Hezbollah have been convicted for the 1992 murder of four dissidents in Berlin. Currently, the Islamic Republic's Minister of Information and Security at the time of this murder is under an International arrest Warrant launched by German judicial authorities for his involvement.

 

The German court in Berlin found that Iran's political leadership ordered the murder through a "Committee for Special Operations," whose members reportedly include the Leader of the Islamic Republic, the President, the Minister of Information and Security, and other security officials.



The Islamic Republic’s officials have claimed responsibility for some of these assassinations while denying involvement in others. In the 1980s, Iranian authorities justified extrajudicial executions of dissidents and members of the former regime and actively worked for the release of Iranians and non-Iranian agents who were detained or convicted in the West for their involvement in those killings. During the 1990s, they systematically denied any involvement in extrajudicial killings and often credited the killings to infighting amongst the opposition.

 

Still, the rationale supporting these killings was articulated as early as in the spring of 1979 when the First Revolutionary religious judge publicly announced the regime's intention to carry out extrajudicial executions. He said:

 

“no state has the right to try as a terrorist the person who kills [exiles] in foreign lands, for this person is implementing the verdict issued by the Islamic Revolutionary tribunal.”

 

More than a decade later, in August, 1992, the Minister of Intelligence and Security publicly boasted about the success of Iran's security forces, alluding to the elimination of dissidents:

 

"We have been able to deal blows to many of the mini-groups outside the country and on the borders...."

Human rights violations

Based on the available information, the following human rights may 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; International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Article 9.1.

  • The right not to be punished for any crime on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a criminal offence, under national or international law, at the time it was committed.

UDHR, Article 11.2; ICCPR, Article 15, Article 6.2.

  • The right not to be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honor and reputation.

UDHR, Article 12, ICCPR, Article 17.1.

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

UDHR, Article 18; ICCPR, Article 18.1, ICCPR, Article 18.2; Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, Article 1 and Article 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; ICCPR, Article 19.1 and ICCPR, Article 19.2.

  • The right to freedom of peaceful assembly.

UDHR, Article 20; ICCPR, Article 21.

  • 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; ICCPR, Article 22.1.

  • The right, as a member of a religious or ethnic minority, to enjoy one’s own culture or to profess and practice one’s own religion.

 

UDHR, Article 18; ICCPR, Article 27.

  • The right to equality before the law and the right to equal protection of the law.

UDHR, Article 7; ICCPR, Article 26.

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 and Article 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 and Article 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 and Article 14.3.d; Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, Article 1, Article 2, Article 5, Article 6, and Article 8.

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

ICCPR, Article 14.3.b.

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

ICCPR, Article 14.3.g.

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

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

Trial rights

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

ICCPR, Article 14.1, Article 14.3.c.

  • 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 and Article 14.3.e.

  • The right to have the decision rendered in public.

ICCPR, Article 14.1.

Judgment rights

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

ICCPR, Article 14.5.

  • The right to seek pardon or commutation of sentence.

ICCPR, Article 6.4.

  • The right not to be tried or punished again for an offence for which one has already been

convicted or acquitted.

ICCPR, Article 14.7.

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

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

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

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

  • The right of a person not to be subjected to the capital punishment for an offence committed before the age of eighteen. The right not to be deprived of life while pregnant.

ICCPR, Article 6.5; Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 37.a.

About this Case

Abdorrahman Boroumand Center was informed of the news of the execution of Mr. Manucher Nejati, son of Robabeh and Ali, through different sources such as an interview with one of his acquaintances (April 8, 2018), the special electronic form that was filled and sent to the Center (March 16, 2017), as well as various documents pertaining to the Nejati family’s lawsuits against individuals who had a role in abducting their son, including a letter from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps of Kermanshah (September 2, 1981) and evidence of Mr. Nejati’s death. The information on the group and the individuals who abducted Mr. Nejati was obtained from the websites of Bidaran and Fars News Agency (September 23, 2010) and Kayhan daily (October 3, 2010).

Mr. Nejati, the youngest son of his family, was born in Kermanshah in 1963. He was a bachelor and a second-year high school student in mathematics and physics. His family members and friends describe him as kind, smart, studious, calm, bright, and virtuous. His had a good relationship with his family and others, and he was not the kind of person to want to make trouble for anyone. Mr. Nejati was fond of music and mathematics (ABC interview). According to the available information, Mr. Nejati was active in the student section of Paykar Organization (DD). His activities included writing graffiti, distributing announcements, selling the organization’s periodicals, and holding political sessions. Mr. Nejati had once been arrested before his 1981 arrest, and was released upon giving a written pledge that he would not continue his political activities. He was 17 when he was arrested (ABC interview).

International laws have strictly prohibited capital punishment for those who were under the age of 18 at the time of committing a crime. As a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Iran has the obligation not to impose capital punishment for an offence committed before the age of eighteen. 

Mr. Nejati’s Death

According to the available information, Mr. Nejati was abducted in Kermanshah on the morning of July 11, 1981 by four well-known members of the Shayth Group and was taken out of the city. They took Mr. Nejati to the Tang-e Kenesht area in the Taagh-e Bostan Mountains and beat him there. There was no news of him after the abduction, and he never returned. According to the available information, on the day of the incident Mr. Nejati left his home in the Sixth Bahman neighborhood of Kermanshah County at 6 AM along with a friend to write graffiti. He was identified by four members of the Shayth Group near Si-Metri Square, and was stopped and investigated. The Shayth Group members wanted to arrest Mr. Nejati and his friend after the investigation, but they escaped. However, they were trapped in a dead-end alley. The four Shayth Group members put them on two motorbikes and took them out of town. Along the way, the bike carrying Mr. Nejati’s friend broke down and had to stop, while the bike carrying Mr. Nejati continued on its way towards the Taagh-e Bostan area outside the city. When Mr. Nejati’s friend reached the locale later, he saw that Mr. Nejati was bloody and close to death while the Shayth Group members were beating him. Mr. Nejati’s friend himself was then also beaten. The Shayth Group members told Mr. Nejati’s friend that they intended to kill Mr. Nejati but he was free to go. However, they threatened him that if he told anyone about what had happened, they would find and kill him as well. He refused to leave and said that he would remain there until they freed Manuchehr as well. The Shayth Group members shot two bullets towards him, and he escaped fearful of being hit. On the same day, in a state of shock, he went to Mr. Nejati’s home and informed his family of what had happened to their son (from the text of the complaint of Mr. Nejati’s mother against one of the abductors, dated July 11, 1981). 

The Reactions of the Authorities

According to the statements of the official authorities, the accused had no connection with the Revolutionary Guards; neither had he been a member of the Komiteh Corps of the Revolutionary Guards. He had collaborated with the Komiteh, however. He was also related to the leadership of the Kermanshah Ansar-e Hezbollah organization (letter by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps). 

The Reactions of the Family

The family of Mr. Nejati contacted the authorities after the disappearance of their son, but none were responsive to them. Mr. Nejati’s mother filed a complaint against one of the individuals who had arrested his son at Branch 4 of the provincial Ministry of Justice office of Kermanshah. The court rejected the complaint for arrest and investigation of the individual. The individual used to be Mr. Nejati’s classmate and had had disputes with him in school. Although this individual was eventually summoned to court twice, he did not receive a verdict from the authorities. He would later become one of the top commanders of the Revolutionary Guards. He was killed along with his daughter in a car accident in 2010 (ABC interview). It was mentioned in his obituary that “the deceased was a very able person, enthusiastic about guiding the youth of his city and region along the lines of the principles of the Islamic Revolution” (Kayhan daily). 

Effects on the Family

According to the available information, Mr. Manuchehr Nejati’s disappearance dealt a tragic blow to his family. According to one of his acquaintances, “The case of Mr. Nejati is indeed terrible. We have neither his corpse nor know of his resting place for the comfort of our hearts. It’s been over thirty years now since that tragedy took place.”

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