Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Yousef Yousefi


Age: 24
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Non-Believer
Civil Status: Married


Date of Killing: August 29, 1981
Location of Killing: Esfahan, Esfahan Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Unspecified execution method
Charges: Participating in clashes with revolutionary guards and or Bassij brothers; Armed rebellion against the Islamic Republic

About this Case

The information about Mr. Yousef Yousefi is based on an electronic form sent to Omid by a person familiar with his case. News of his prosecution and execution was published in the Ettela’at newspaper on August 30, 1981. Additional information was taken from a book titled “Defying the Iranian Revolution” written in English by Manuchehr Ganji in 2003.

Mr. Yousef Yousefi is among the 282 individuals listed in a United Nations Report on The Situation of Human Right in the Islamic Republic of Iran (Note by the Secretary General), published on 13 November 1985. The report lists these individuals as "Persons who were allegedly summarily and arbitrarily executed in the Islamic Republic of Iran: 1984-1985."

According to the information sent to the Boroumand Foundation, Mr. Yousef Yousefi, son of Mohammad’ali, was born in Shahreza on November 1, 1957. After completing high school in 1976, he moved to Texas, USA, to continue his education. He was active in the Iranian Students’ Association and continued his activities against the Shah’s regime after returning to Iran during the revolution. His activities included organizing demonstrations and publishing anti-establishment literature before and after the revolution. He also supported the Progressive Professors’ Association actively. In the fall of 1979, he was arrested, along with several other students, during a demonstration. However, he was released a week later. He continued his activities until he was arrested for the second time during another demonstration. He had had heart disease since childhood. During his detention period, he was able to visit his doctor, a member of the Progressive Professors’ Association, who arranged his transfer to the hospital and his escape afterwards. Mr. Yousefi, a sympathizer of the Vahdat-e Komonisti Organization, continued his political activities.        

The Vahdat-e Komonisti (Communist Unity) Organization was founded in November 1978 by Communist political activists, particularly students who had been educated outside the country and returned to Iran, as well as similar-minded activists inside the country.  The history of its founding dates back to the Ettehadieh Komonist-ha (Communist Union), which was formed outsideIranin the late 1960’s.  The members of Vahdat-e Komonisti identified themselves as supporters of  “political-military struggle for the preparation and accomplishment of a socialist revolution,” and as leftists opposed to Stalinism and Maoism.  Among the activities of this organization were critiques of the political and ideological standpoints of political organizations in Iran via publication of Raha’i, the main publication of the Vahdat-e Komonisti. During the massive crackdown on opposition groups in June 1981, the organization faced significant crises and split into various factions.  Members of the organization outside Iran continued their activism until 1986 through the publication of Andisheh Raha’i and Bultan-e Akhbar-e Iran (the Bulletin of Iranian News).  

Arrest and detention

According to the information sent to Omid, Mr. Yousefi was arrested by the Revolutionary Guards at the Bus Terminal in Esfahan when he arrived from Tehran on June 21, 1981, a day after widespread demonstrations in many cities.* Apparently, his arrest was based on suspicion only; however, he had some anti-government written materials with him. Authorities did not inform his family. The family was able to discover his detention location after a month of intense searching. A month later, his brother and his mother were allowed to visit Mr. Yousefi for five minutes. During this visitation, he appeared with shaved head and it was apparent that he lost a lot of weight. With his gesture, Mr. Yousefi conveyed that he was beaten. He was detained less than three months.  


According to the Ettela’at newspaper, quoting the Public Relations’ Office of the General Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Esfahan tried Mr. Yousefi. No information is available on his trial. 


According to the Ettela’at newspaper, the charges against Mr. Yousefi were announced as, “Armed rebellion against the Islamic Republic regime, creating fear and intimidation among the public in Esfahan, and participation in anti-public clashes and demonstrations in Esfahan.”  

The validity of the criminal charges brought against this defendant cannot be ascertained in the absence of the basic guarantees of a fair trial. 

Evidence of guilt

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


No information is available about Mr. Yousefi’s defense.   


According to the Ettela’at newspaper, Mr. Yousef Yousefi was executed along with three others in Esfahan on August 29, 1981. His family believe that he was probably tortured to death. They heard the news from the state radio. When the family went to the morgue to receive Mr. Yousefi’s body, marks of torture were apparent on his body. These marks included a broken jaw, over ten burns by cigarette on his skin, a cut on the back of his neck one inch in length and half an inch in width, five bullet holes on the left side of his chest, and swollen testes. The family took the body to Shahreza, Mr. Yousefi’s birthplace, for burial. In spite of the primary resistance by the Revolutionary Guards, the family was able to bury their son at the city cemetery using their influence. During a ceremony before burial, over 70 people were present and witnessed the torture marks on Mr. Yousefi’s body. News of his death by torture was published by various publications including Mr. Ganji’s book.   


* The demonstration on June 20, 1981, took place in protest against the parliament's impeachment of President Banisadr and the Islamic Republic's systematic policy of excluding the Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) from the country's political scene, the refusal of Ayatollah Khomeini to meet with MKO leaders and his insistence that they disarm. The MKO had until then supported the leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini and agreed to function within the framework of the new political system. On June 20, the Organization officially changed its policy and tried to overthrow the regime by organizing mass demonstrations, in which some of the demonstrators were armed, all over the country. These demonstrations, which were severely suppressed and resulted in the killing of dozens of participants, were followed by a wave of mass arrests and executions by the Revolutionary Guards and paramilitary forces that targeted not only the MKO, but all other opposition groups. The massive repression, unprecedented in the history of the Islamic Republic, legitimized as official government policy the months-old state harassment and suppression of dissidents, and resulted in the banning of all forms of independent political dissent.  

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