In late March 2020, prisoners’ protests and escape attempts in several prisons across Iran drew attention to their fear in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic raging in the country. Prisoners’ panic is justified as, even in the best of circumstances, they are more vulnerable to transmissible diseases than the general population. The best of circumstances does not apply to Iranian prisons where hygiene and prisoners’ right to health have not been a priority in four decades.
As the deadly coronavirus COVID-19 spreads in the Islamic Republic of Iran, with at least 15 deaths and nearly 100 cases of the infection officially confirmed, prisoners are particularly at risk.
In a Dark Time, You’ve Helped us Keep Hope Alive
We honor the lost lives of those who had no place to take their grievances but the street
On World Day Against the Death Penalty, Abdorrahman Boroumand Center for Human Rights in Iran releases an original report which challenges Iran’s justifications for the use of capital punishment against child offenders, examines the question of maturity through the lens of empirical scientific research, and calls on the Islamic Republic to take immediate action to ensure that no individual is put to death for crimes committed as a child.
It has been one year since Amin Korki was killed. Iranian judicial authorities have nonetheless shown no interest in pursuing his family’s demand for justice.
A short report on Abdorrahman Boroumand Center's 2018 work on behalf of human rights in Iran.
When in doubt, courts still sentence to death.
Highlights of ABC's 2017 work toward realizing human rights and democracy in Iran.
For nearly four decades, Iranian authorities have shrouded executions in secrecy and resisted scrutiny. An informed and persistent public opinion can make a difference. Through the launch of its new project, "Iran: A Crisis of the Right to Life that Cannot be Ignored", ABF seeks to familiarize its audience with the dimensions of this crisis, allow an easier access to resources from Iran and the world, and provides a space for debate and discussion.
Clearly,a family of modest means and no powerful friends in a small town is no match for judges bent on ignoring facts and punishing a 15-year old as an adult.
“There’s still time to amend the bill. Iranian lawmakers must listen to the voices of reason and abolish the use of the death penalty for drug-related offences once and for all."
They told me to accept responsibility for the murder or they would kill me; even my family was in danger.” – Death row inmate Mohammad Reza Haddadi

Protect Iran's Christians

November 29, 2016
In the summer of 2016, Iranian authorities increased their persecution of Christians, honing in on converts from Muslim backgrounds.
The judge was deaf to the persistent denials of Alireza and the testimonies of his co-defendants who insisted that Alireza didn’t know them, and had not participated in the drug production.
Politically-motivated executions are the gravest violation of the right to freedom of expression.
In spite of executing a high number of drug offenders, Iran has one of the highest rates of addiction in the world with, according to official statements, an 8% annual increase. Drug trafficking continues, with, according to official statements again, traffickers being always one step ahead of officials. According to one official, only 5% of discovered drugs come from 90% of the arrests.
Ten NGOs wrote to the EU authorities expressing deep concern over the case of 32 Iranian Bahá’ís who were sentenced to a collective 238 years in prison in essence for practicing their faith.
Iran and its reckless use of capital punishment exemplify the failure of this punitive approach to drug enforcement.
We have learned that no matter how powerless you feel, you always have the power to change the rules of the game and to challenge your persecutors on your own terms, based on your own values.
Instead of fulfilling their international obligation and making sure that the Islamic Republic’s laws are in compliance with international human rights treaties, the Iranian authorities try to sap the universality of human rights.
ABF’s legal analysis identifies a myriad of problems when it comes to the method of selecting judges in Iran, including its arbitrariness. It is high time that the Islamic Republic comprehensively and extensively reform its system for judicial appointments in order to bring them in line with the international standards that are typical of other nations across the globe.
“Hundreds of foreign nationals face the death penalty around the world ...Iran, where at least 1,200 Afghan citizens are facing the death penalty for drug crimes, is a particularly egregious example.” UN Special Rapporteur On Extrajudicial, Summary Or Arbitrary Executions, Christof Heyns
2014 was particularly deadly with 15 child-offenders executed. ABF found that flogging sentences ranging from 10 to 228 lashes, most often between 50 and 100, were issued for child offenders aged 14 to 17, mostly in the provinces. Minors have been detained, intimidated, humiliated and flogged

Stop the Deadly Race

July 2, 2015
The lack of attention from both the mainstream media and Iran experts Iran's race to executions and to what goes on in Iranian courts makes it easier for Iranian officials to claim they do not violate their obligations when it comes to human rights and demand that the world respect the way they treat the people they rule.
With the 28th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on its way, 36 NGOs are urging the UNHRC Member States to support the resolution to renew the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
President Rouhani's campaign platform of "hope and prudence" led many citizens to believe that his election would be a first step to bring the long awaited changes necessary to improve the country's troubling human rights situation.
Eighteen Physics Nobel laureates have signed an open letter addressed to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, calling for the release of Omid Kokabee, a 32-year-old physicist who has spent the last three years and eight months in a Teheran prison.
GENEVA — The arrest last week of five Baha'is in Tehran signals a rising tide of detainments and imprisonments of Baha'is in Iran in recent months.
In the Islamic Republic of Iran, however, workers are denied the right to organize a May Day march, and some languish behind prison walls.
Over three decades of discriminatory policies and repression of their social and cultural identity has led to the arrests, torture, killings and executions of hundreds, and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Iranian-Arab citizens.
To believe Iranian officials, neither the decision to keep the leaders of the Green Movement under house arrest, nor that of releasing them, involves the judiciary. High level officials take publicly pride in the politically-motivated detention of the 2009 presidential candidates as they do in the rise in execution numbers. Recent statements in support of obvious violations of Iran's international human rights obligations are not the usual public relations stunts meant for domestic consumption. They, in fact, are part of a campaign aimed at undermining the United Nations' representative, Ahmad Shaheed, and serious UN efforts to document human rights abuses in Iran. Silence in the face of this unusually aggressive campaign may have a negative and long-lasting impact on the country's human rights situation and its cooperation with the United Nations.
our Excellency, We, the undersigned human rights and civil society groups, are writing to urge your government to support the resolution to renew the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran at the ongoing 25th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (“the Council”).
GENEVA (22 January 2014) – The United Nations Special Rapporteurs on the situation of human rights in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, and on summary executions, Christof Heyns, today called on the Government of Iran to urgently halt the abrupt surge in hangings in the country since the start of 2014. “We are dismayed at the continued application of the death penalty with alarming frequency by the authorities, despite repeated calls for Iran to establish a moratorium on executions,” the independent experts said, stressing “the inherently cruel, inhuman and degrading nature of the death penalty.”
Very little is known about this 37-year-old man, Alireza M., who was hanged last week in the town of Bojnord in Khorasan Province and miraculously survived, except that he has two daughters and was sentenced to death three years ago for carrying (not selling) 1 kg of Cristal.
Roya Boroumand Executive director Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation huffingtonpost Too few are alarmed by President Rouhani's choice of ministers with strong intelligence backgrounds, including Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi, the proposed Minister of Justice. Well-documented reports, including an investigation by a respected international human rights expert, Geoffrey Robertson, accuse Pour-Mohammadi of crimes against humanity. A glance at his biography validates the concerns of the human rights community, an apprehension that doesn't seem to affect the policy world.A former revolutionary prosecutor in Khuzestan, Khorasan, and Hormozgan in the period 1980-1987, the deadliest post-revolutionary years, he was promoted to be high ranking official in the Ministry of Information in the late 1980s. He represented the Ministry in a three-man delegation, known as the Death Committee, that secretly sentenced to hanging political prisoners who refused to recant their beliefs in the summer of 1988. Numbers may be more telling in Pour-Mohammadi's case...

Deadly Summer in Iran

July 29, 2013
Executioners rarely rest in the Islamic Republic of Iran, even during the hot summer months. The month of July has been particularly deadly this year. At least 97 executions have been reported between June 20 and July 20, 2013. Surprisingly, the high number of executions has not triggered particular reaction outside of Iran. Nor has it affected the cautious optimism prevalent since the June 15 election, won by Mr. Hassan Rouhani, a member of the Iranian ruling elite and former nuclear negotiator. The spike in executions, following the election of a president whose campaign theme was moderation, could be a test, and the absence of reaction could be fatal for hundreds of prisoners on death row. It is in this context that the mothers of four Arab Iranian cultural activists, recently sentenced to death, are desperately calling on the international community to speak up on behalf of their threatened children[1]. Will the international community hear the mothers’ call?
Iran's presidential elections are being held in circumstances where a large number of citizens do not have the right to be elected due to illegal discrimination, as well as discrimination sanctioned by laws. Ever absent in Iran's elections is civil society and the fundamental human rights discourse. Rights defenders, and civil and human rights institutions, have been under tremendous governmental pressure in recent years, particularly in the past eight years, their activities having been increasingly restricted. The Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation (ABF) feels duty-bound to do its share in assisting civil society activists in Iran and let this section of society's voice be heard throughout the world, a voice that is the harbinger of democracy and human rights in Iran.
On April 18, 1983, at approximately 1:05 p.m., a truck loaded with explosives crashed into the American Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon. The embassy’s central section collapsed on itself, killing 63 and causing injuries to at least 120 people. Thirty years later, there is little doubt about the fact of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s responsibility in the attack. And yet, efforts to talk to victims or questions about details from experts are marred by fear, lack of interest, and political considerations.Most of the victims of the embassy bombing were not Americans, and it is not an exaggeration to say that there has been little interest in knowing or writing about them. Learning that 27-year-old Ghazi Kabbout, a Shi‘ite from the south of Lebanon and the graduate of a culinary institute, and enjoyed swimming and playing soccer was not easy. The same is true for the 54-year-old embassy employee, Antoine Abi Najem, a father of five, who was born in Damascus, Syria, and married a Lebanese. Abi-Najem was kind-hearted family man who loved to surprise his wife by buying her sweets, even when the budget was tight. Secrecy and silence about crimes such as the embassy bombing may be, for those who hold on to information or prefer to forget, a means to ensure security. The facts, however, show that silence did not ensure security. In the decade following the bombing of the embassy, the Islamic Republic’s leaders used bombings and targeted civilians, time and again, to advance their foreign policy goals. And they have boasted about their successes in Lebanon.
Roya Boroumand ABF Executive director In late January 2013, Argentina and the Islamic Republic of Iran signed an agreement to create a truth commission, composed of five international jurists, to re-investigate the deadly 1994 bombing of the AMIA Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The Iranian authorities had refused to cooperate during the Argentine proceedings that uncovered indisputable evidence of Iran's involvement in the attack. The announced agreement has come as a surprise. The vague and unbinding language of the agreement and the lack of provisions protecting the rights of victims to justice cast doubt on the purpose of this curious commission. For the record, on July 18, 1994, a van packed with 275 kilograms of explosives rammed into the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association ("AMIA"), a mutual aid society. The explosion killed 85 and injured 151, many of them passersby.

Roya Boroumand

ABF Executive director

Published in Huffington Post


This was President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's last chance to honor the World Human Rights Day, as his two-term presidency is coming to a close. Yet, no one celebrated. In fact, since his election in 2005, the human rights situation in Iran has steadily deteriorated. His second term started with peaceful protesters being shot in the streets or killed in detention centers. There is no cause for celebration...A cursory look at the Islamic Republic's list of human rights violations in the past seven and a half years brings up the executions as the top concern. From June 2005 to date, the Boroumand Foundation has collected more than 4,800 reports of executions, mostly from official and semi-official sources. Based on these reports, there were close to 2,600 executions during Mr. Ahmadinejad's first term, and more than 2,250 from July 2009 through November 2012. This represents a dramatic increase from 458 executions reported from June 2001 to June 2005. The killings, mostly in the form of hanging, are not limited to prisons and public squares.

On the 64th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation would like to draw the international human rights community's attention to the profound causes of the plight of Iranian lawyers who stand up for due process of law. The pattern of lawyers' persecution is a recurrent one in the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI). At the root of the tension between lawyers and IRI's judicial authorities lie the rights of the accused, which the IRI judicial system is structurally geared to ignore. At first glance, this tension seems to be resulting from the incompatibility of the Shari'a law upheld by the IRI judicial authorities with international human rights law which promotes defendants' rights, among others and is advocated by lawyers. Yet a closer look reveals a more complex causality that may not be solely attributable to the tension between universal human rights and Shari'a law. The controversy is rather focused on the fact that the ruling minority has instrumentalized Islam and Shari'a law to justify its totalitarian rule. It is not surprising, therefore, that the charges brought against the convicted lawyers are not related to any religious offense, but are the typical, vaguely worded, charges used in all modern authoritarian regimes to muzzle dissent: "Acting against national security" and "propaganda against the regime".

Huffington Post

October 22, 2012

Roya Boroumand

Executive director, Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation

In an October 18 statement, the evidently irritated head of Iran's judiciary attacked the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, Dr. Shaheed's sources and stressed that "there are absolutely no political executions in Iran." Clearly, the thorough report has gotten under the skin of those who run Iran's judicial system, underlining the importance of international support to human rights documentation and advocacy.

...For those of us who spend our days documenting executions in Iran, to hear a denial such as this from the top official in a court system where denial of due process is sanctioned by law and unfair trials are the norm, may bring a wry smile. For the thousands of Iranian families -- and mine is one of them -- whose hopes and often lives have been laid waste by the politically motivated killings of their loved ones, the denial is a sad reminder of a persistent culture of impunity.

“We ask that our dear colleagues and other imprisoned educators, some of whom have completed more than half of their prison term, be freed. Their freedom will undoubtedly be the best present for the start of the new academic year”. Statement of the Iran Teachers’ Union on the occasion of the start of the 2012-13 academic year and World Teacher’s Day. (October 5) Many countries around the world celebrate teachers on October 5. In Iran, however, where teachers are deterred from expressing their opinion or holding beliefs deemed incompatible with the official orthodoxy, the celebration is tainted with grief. For students and families of dissident teachers who were executed, were purged from their teaching position, or are in prison, Teachers’ Day is a day of remembrance.

Human Rights Watch: Scrap Policies That Ban Students From Studies on Basis of Gender.

The Iranian government should immediately reverse policies that place unnecessary restrictions on academic freedom for university students, in particular women. Some of these “Islamicization” measures are to be introduced for the new academic year, which begins on September 22, 2012. Others have been put in place in recent years and adopted by universities across the country.

The measures include bans on female and male enrollment in specific academic fields in many universities, but with the greatest number of restrictions on women. They also include quotas that limit the percentage of women students in certain fields of study, and segregation in classrooms and facilities.

(New York)– United Nations agencies and international donors should immediately freeze financial and other assistance to Iran’s drug control programs, Human Rights Watch and Harm Reduction International (HRI) said today. The funding contributes to abusive prosecutions of drug suspects, the groups said.

Iran Should:

Declare an immediate moratorium on all executions with a view to the abolition of the death penalty in line with UN General Assembly Resolution 62/149 and 63/168 on “moratorium on the use of the death penalty” and commute all death sentences, including for drug offenses; Abolish provisions within Iran’s penal code that allow for the death penalty for drug offenses; Prosecute drug-related cases in open and fair public trials in ordinary criminal courts, that meet international standards, including ensuring that defendants have proper access to a lawyer and the right to an appeal; and Publicize statistics on the death penalty and facts around the administration of justice in death penalty cases.

(2 July 2012) Concurrent with the execution of four Iranians in Saudi Arabia, and despite warnings by human rights activists and institutions, four Ahwazi Arab prisoners-- Taha Heidarian, Abdolrahman Heidarian, Abbas Heidarian, and Ali Sharifi-- were secretly executed by the Iranian authorities. The prisoners- three of them brothers- were arrested following civil unrest and protests in April 2011 in Ahwaz (Capital of the southwestern Iranian province of Khuzestan). According to reliable reports, the Heidarian brothers and Ali Sharifi were charged and convicted of of Moharebeh (waging war against God) after they had given confessions under torture. They were denied fair trials or any other legal proceedings, and their most basic rights as political prisoner were violated. Furthermore, their bodies were not returned to their families and civil protests in objection to their executions were suppressed.

17 human rights and student organizations express deep concern about the alarming state of academic freedom in the Islamic Republic of Iran, in particular violations of the rights to freedom of expression, association, and assembly on campuses; and institutionalized procedures that allow authorities arbitrarily to expel and suspend students, and fire graduate instructors on the basis of their political views or activities. Over six hundred students, as well as some university lecturers, have been arrested since 2009, many of whom have subsequently been imprisoned, and hundreds deprived of education, as a result of their political activities. The organizations said that they had gathered information that the Iranian authorities have threatened, suspended, arrested, prosecuted, and sentenced student activists for peaceful criticism of government policies on a regular basis. Officials also have routinely shut down hundreds of student gatherings, publications, and independent organizations. More than 30 students are currently serving long prison sentences in Iran solely for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association, and assembly by expressing their opinions, participating in demonstrations, or membership of an independent student organization critical of government policies. Combined, these students have been sentenced to more than 130 years in prison, in some cases up to 15 years.
Two years have gone by since that terrible morning of May 9, 2010 when the human rights community woke up to the news of the execution of Farzad Kamangar, the 34 year-old Sunni teacher and human rights activist from Iranian Kurdistan. Kamangar, and four other political prisoners.Farzad Kamangar “ had a unique softness in his emotions and his writings. He was one of those loveable myths. Someone who liked to help those who were deprived from education; those who could build the future of this region [Kurdistan] of the Country”.(Former cellmate Arash Alaei) Kamangar was not the only political prisoner taken to the gallows and secretly and unlawfully hanged on May 9th, 2010. With him, four other political prisoners, Shirin Alam-Holi, Ali Heydarian, Farhad Vakili, and Mehdi Eslamian were also executed in secret and buried in an unknown location. They were all accused of "enmity against God" for carrying out "terrorist acts"; they had all protested against the violation of due process of law in their cases and the harsh treatment and torture they had been subjected to.

New York) – Iranian authorities should immediately free dozens of university students currently behind bars solely for peacefully expressing political opinions, and end harassment of student activists on university campuses throughout the country, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch issued the call as part of a joint campaign initiated by Iranian and international student and rights groups to highlight the government’s systematic crackdown against university students for their political activism.

A Call by Dr. Shirin Ebadi Nobel Peace Laureate and 29 civil society Organizations

At a time when the number of executions, which are frequently summary and at times performed in secret, is soaring in Iran and discrimination and violence against religious, ethnic minorities, women, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people amongst other groups is ongoing, monitoring and reporting conducted by an impartial and independent investigator such as the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran is urgent and vital.

Iran Targeting Expatriates

February 2, 2012

Roya Boroumand

Executive director, Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation.


Posted: 02/ 2/2012 11:18 am

One year ago in one of the last days of January 2011, the Islamic Republic of Iran announced the execution of Zahra Bahrami, an Iranian-Dutch citizen visiting Iran. Bahrami is one of many Iranian expatriates punished following an unfair judicial process.

Over the years, several Iranians with dual citizenship who worked with the Iranian civil society, facilitated exchanges of ideas, or relayed news coming from Iran, have been arrested. Some have been released thanks to sustained international pressure. Others however, are still serving prison sentences, or are on death row, such as Saeed Malekpour, an Iranian-Canadian computer programmer. The government message is clear: communicating independently with Iranians or echoing their voices is not allowed. And it works.

Dr. Ahmad Shahid

The honorable representative of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations

This letter is the expression of the pain and torment that we, Zanyar and Loqman Moradi, two innocent brothers, have suffered since we were detained in Iran’s Reja’i Shahr prison nearly a year ago. At the writing of this letter we stand condemned to be executed on the basis of false and trumped up charges. We implore international and human rights organizations to come to our help and save our lives.

In this letter, we will describe only some of the barbaric tortures and abusive treatments visited upon us by the security agents of the Islamic republic of Iran. The tortures included- but were not limited to – brutal beatings often aimed at sensitive parts of the body: face, knees, neck and back. We were also subjected to unbearable sexual tortures, including insertion of soda bottle in the anus. Furthermore, the interrogators constantly used obscene language and routinely threatened to torment and persecute our relatives. We were often kept blindfolded, and incommunicado, in horrendous solitary detention.

“[This] massacre bids comparison with Srebrenica… Katyn Forest… [and] with the Japanese death marches… This particular slaughter… was carefully planned and executed by state leaders working through the judicial and penal system… It was a dreadful crime against humanity.” Mr. Geoffrey Robertson, QC, 25 October 2011, University of Oxford.

Invisible Iranians

September 30, 2011

Huffington Post

by Roya Boroumand

Yesterday, I froze in front of my laptop screen, staring at the news of the suicide of a young woman, Nahal Sahabi, in Tehran. Nahal is one of the many young Iranians who find the present unbearable and the future too uncertain to be worth living for. We know of her suicide because she was the girlfriend of the 22-year-old, Behnam Ganji, who committed suicide on Sept. 1, 2011.

“Our lives, well being, and tranquility depends on these executions”.

Ayatollah Mohseni Garakani, Head of the Supreme Court, (5 February 2011)

In the past few weeks, the imposition of the death penalty has skyrocketed in Iran. The escalation in the number of executions has lead to a wave of outrage among human rights groups. The Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation (ABF) welcomes the launch of the International Campaign Against the Death Penalty in Iran, the call by the UN independent human rights experts for a moratorium on the death penalty, and the recent statement by six human rights organizations calling for an end to the imposition of the death penalty in Iran.

Roya Boroumand


Today, most of us working with human rights organizations or the media outside Iran are off from work, shopping for Christmas, or spending time with our families. In Iran, government offices are closed on Thursday afternoons and Fridays. Yet, for the Iranian government, Christmas and the weekend’s closure presented the ideal opportunity to announce the imminent execution a young Kurdish engineering student and environmentalist to his family.

Roya Boroumand

Executive director, Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation.

Huffington Post

On the occasion of the International Human Rights Day, Iran's judicial authorities have surpassed their own cruelty and cynicism in an effort to distract public opinion from their dismal human rights record in particular when it comes to due process of law and the right to defense. Flouting rules and procedures (and common sense), they have dragged in front of the cameras a woman, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, they have held between life and death for years and whose son they hold hostage. The breaking news here is that she admits to her own guilt in an alleged crime for which she was tried and sentenced years ago and for which she was given the maximum punishment allowed in the law.

“In one case, the entire process -- the investigation, the issuance of the verdict, and implementation of the verdict took only 20 hours. This case demonstrates that cases about which the public is sensitive can be dealt with promptly and the judgment can be implemented without delay.”

Hojatoleslam Mohammad Ali Fazel, May 2007

Individuals accused of drug-related offenses are particularly at risk considering Iran’s heavy handed antinarcotics policies and the approach taken by judicial officials such as Hojatoleslam Fazel, the head of the Islamic Public Court and Revolutionary Tribunal in Shiraz.

The annals of the Islamic Republic are rife with official statements stressing the decisiveness of the police and courts and encouraging summary judicial proceedings plus the beating of suspects. The unleashing of such unconstrained state violence in the name of combating criminality has done little to eradicate addiction or trafficking, however.

Iran's Interrupted Lives

October 1, 2010
The New York Review of Books Blog

Haleh Esfandiari

In late September, as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was in New York asserting his government’s respect for human rights, several young students in Iran were receiving lengthy prison sentences for their efforts to speak out in defense of those rights. Indeed—as a small photography exhibition about student repression in Iran at Georgetown Law School this month powerfully reminded us—hundreds of Iranian students, journalists, and bloggers have been jailed, many of them in deplorable conditions, since the disputed elections of June 2009. And though the matter has received little attention in the press, many more continue to be arrested and sentenced.

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, recent presidential candidate Mir Hossein Moussavi, and a number of sitting and retired judges and officials, including former head of the Supreme Court, Abdolkarim Mousavi Ardebili, are all liable to arrest under international law for complicity in the murder of thousands of political prisoners at the end of the Iran/Iraq War. This is the conclusion of a 145-page report by Geoffrey Robertson QC, who urges the Security Council to set up a special court, along the lines of the International Tribunals for Yugoslavia and Rwanda, to try these men “for one of the worst single human rights atrocities since the Second World War”.

The report concludes that the leaders were guilty of implementing a fatwa issued by Ayatollah Khomeini in July 1988, which sentenced thousands of political prisoners to death without a trial. At Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison and twenty other prisons throughout Iran, dissidents who had previously been sentenced to various prison terms and had refused to recant their religious beliefs were blindfolded and paraded before judges who directed thousands to the gallows. “They were hung from cranes, four at a time, or in groups of six from ropes hanging from the stage of the prison assembly hall. Their bodies were doused with disinfectant, packed in refrigerated trucks, and buried by night in mass graves, the locations of which are still withheld from their families.”

On September 29, 2009, Ladan and Roya Boroumand, historians and founders of the Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation, and Shadi Sadr, a lawyer, journalist, and human rights activist, received awards from the Lech Walesa Institute Foundation. The Lech Walesa Prize honored their work to promote human rights, freedom of expression, and democracy in Iran.

Mr. Lech Walesa, who founded the Foundation, is the former president of Poland, leader of the Polish trade union, Solidarity (Solidarnosc), and winner of the 1983 Nobel Peace Prize. The Lech Walesa Prize, established in 2008, honors “people who stand for understanding and international cooperation in solidarity, freedom, and for promotion of the fundamental values of Solidarity Movement.

Paola Sara Czyzewski, a 21-year-old law student, and 23-year-old Diego de Pirro, who studied economics, will never know the reasons for the heinous crime that shattered their hopes and took their lives at approximately 9:05 on the morning of July 18th, 1994. Paola and Diego were both killed when a van containing 275 kilograms of explosives turned a seven-story building into rubble on Pastor Street in Buenos Aires that day. The target of the bombing was AMIA (Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina), a mutual aid society. , a center of The explosion, which took the lives of 85 citizens and injured 150 more, mostly of Jewish heritage, was neither an accident nor a mistake. In 2006, Argentina’s investigation determined that the order for the bombing had come from a special committee composed of the highest ranking Iranian leaders.

2009: “In the most savage attack, which occurred on the evening of Sunday, June 13, the forces of Ansar, plainclothes militia, and the guards began a widespread and well-coordinated attack on the Tehran University campus...”.

-Statement by one of the Iran's Student Unions, June 16, 2009.

Following the June 12, 2009, presidential elections in the Islamic Republic of Iran, a new episode of massive human rights violations unfolded before the world.

Students were among the first to protest these election results. They were also the first to be targeted by government forces.

This is not the first time students have been punished for expressing their views or for protesting in public. Ten years ago today (July 9th, 2009)...

“To we who administer the presidential elections, it makes absolutely no difference who wins. As far as we’re concerned, anyone whom the esteemed Guardian Council allows to run is an insider.”

- Kamran Daneshju, Political Deputy to the Minister of Interior, 20 April 2009

Once again, the Islamic Republic of Iran has held a nationwide election (this time for president) and once again the campaigning and the voting have been become occasions for media accounts that focus on the colorful rallies, the candidates’ personality, and the speeches—while failing to reckon seriously with just how restricted, controlled, and opaque the entire process really is....

Thirty Years Ago in Iran

February 11, 2009

“Don’t listen to those who speak of democracy. They all are against Islam. They want to take the nation away from its mission. Break the poisonous pens of all those who speak of nationalism, democracy, and such things.”

- Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini

Qom, 13 March, 1979

Three decades ago, while he was founding the new political regime of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini clearly stated that criticism and dissent would not be tolerated. From the very moment of its inception, when it was still enjoying the support of a vast majority of the people and faced no other challenge than that of reorganizing the country, the Islamic regime engaged in systematic abuse of human rights as a matter of ideological necessity.

Justice Denied

November 28, 2008

“We stand resolute in our demand to know the whole truth about these crimes against humanity and to have a competent court investigate them. … These crimes are still an open wound in the collective conscience of the Iranian society. And each one of us feels responsible to press for justice.”

Forouhar, Mokhtari, and Pouyandeh families (2008)

Those who have signed this call for justice are the children and relatives of four peaceful dissidents and intellectuals slain in Iran in the fall of 1998. Parvaneh and Dariush Forouhar were outspoken critics of the Islamic Republic. Mokhtari and Pouyandeh were actively engaged in reviving the independent Iranian writers association. All four had received threats and warnings regarding their activities.

On the occasion of the International Day Against Fascism and Antisemitism, the Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation is pleased to announce its electronic publication of the Persian translation of Hannah Arendt's essay, Individual Responsibility Under Dictatorship.

On the Occasion of the 20th anniversary of the massacre of political prisoners in Iran (1988), the Boroumand Foundation (ABF) is pleased to announce the electronic publication of the English and Persian translations of Morocco's Justice and Reconciliation Commission' report, established by King Mohamed VI on January 7, 2004. In the speech given on that occasion, the Sovereign conferred on the Commission a historical significance and entrusted in it great responsibility in defining it as a commission for truth and justice. By translating and publishing the summary of the Commission, ABF is pursuing the goal of familiarizing Iranians who will have to deal with past and unremedied human rights abuses with the experiences of other nations who have opted for facing the truth and finding peaceful ways of seeking justice for the victims.
In recent years, Iran has witnessed the birth of a peaceful democratic human rights movement spearheaded by women, students, and ethnic and religious minorities. Civil rights activists, free from politics, refer only to universal human rights principles; this is a new and unprecedented phenomenon in this country and a necessary development for future peace and stability in the region. The emerging pattern of death sentences against peaceful advocates indicates the government's resolve to annihilate Iran’s newly born civil rights movement.
On the occasion of the International Day Against Homophobia, ABF has translated into Farsi The Yogyakarta Principles: On the Application of International Human Rights Law in relation to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, drafted and adopted by a group of 29 distinguished experts in the field of human rights law. By making this valuable tool accessible in Farsi to a broad range of actors in Iran, ABF hopes to contribute to a much needed debate on Iranian homosexuals, bisexuals, and transsexuals and their inherent rights to dignity and equality.
With Babak Dadbakhsh in a potentially life-threatening condition, ABF calls on independent local and international human rights activists and organizations to disseminate the appeal by Babak Dadbakhsh and to help expedite demands for a fair and independent inquiry into his and other similar cases.
Laws and regulations based on intolerance and discrimination have characterized Iran’s jurisprudence for more than 28 years. Thousands of citizens have been persecuted, and in many cases jailed or killed, for their religious and political beliefs. Christians, Jews, Baha'is, and Sunnis, among other religious minorities, as well as atheists have been executed solely for their beliefs.
Iran is witnessing a wave of publicly announced executions, unprecedented in more than a decade, and a serious crackdown on the government’s critics and proponents of legal reforms within civil society. With this new surge of state violence, the Islamic Republic's decades-long practice of using coerced confessions to establish detainees’ guilt is a great cause for concern and should be subject to serious international scrutiny. Since January 2007, at least 247 individuals have been executed and scores more have been sentenced to death. In the absence of an independent national mechanism to defend the detainees' rights, Iranians can only rely upon the international community’s outcry regarding the judicial process leading to these executions.
In light of the recent upsurge in violence in Iran, the new wave of persecution of minorities, the record high number of executions (at least 50 executions only in May 2007) including that of juvenile offenders, and the arbitrary arrests of academics, students, and peaceful human rights activists, ABF would like to draw attention to the Islamic Republic’s fundamentally flawed legal system, which, over nearly three decades, has deprived Iranians of their basic rights including the right to due process of law and which considers some categories of citizens such as the Baha’is unfit to be protected by law.
Roya Boroumand Executive director Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation huffingtonpost Too few are alarmed by President Rouhani's choice of ministers with strong intelligence backgrounds, including Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi, the proposed Minister of Justice. Well-documented reports, including an investigation by a respected international human rights expert, Geoffrey Robertson, accuse Pour-Mohammadi of crimes against humanity. A glance at his biography validates the concerns of the human rights community, an apprehension that doesn't seem to affect the policy world.A former revolutionary prosecutor in Khuzestan, Khorasan, and Hormozgan in the period 1980-1987, the deadliest post-revolutionary years, he was promoted to be high ranking official in the Ministry of Information in the late 1980s. He represented the Ministry in a three-man delegation, known as the Death Committee, that secretly sentenced to hanging political prisoners who refused to recant their beliefs in the summer of 1988. Numbers may be more telling in Pour-Mohammadi's case...