Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Hassan Shokrollahian Cheshmeh


Age: 27
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Islam (Shi'a)
Civil Status: Single


Date of Killing: August 28, 1988
Location of Killing: Evin Prison, Tehran, Tehran Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Counter revolutionary opinion and/or speech; War on God, God's Prophet and the deputy of the Twelfth Imam

About this Case

Mr. Hassan Shokrollahian Cheshmeh, son of Hossein, is among 3,208 members and sympathizers of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization whose execution was reported by the organization in a book entitled Crime Against Humanity. This book documents the 1988-89 mass execution of political prisoners. Additional information was drawn from an interview with an individual close to him, the Bidaran website, and an electronic form sent to Omid by the interviewee.

Mr. Shokrollahian was born in Tehran in 1961. He was a high school graduate majoring in natural sciences. He was a Non-commissioned Officer of the Army, and a sympathizer of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization. He reportedly became closer to the Organization while in prison. After Mr. Shokrollahian’s execution, his relatives submitted protest letters to international human rights organizations urging them to find out why he was killed and where he was buried.

Arrest and detention

Mr. Shokrollahian was arrested in February 1986 in Tehran by the Revolutionary Guards, who claimed that he was arrested for helping two members of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization hide in his house overnight. The Revolutionary Guards, who had watched his house for a week, arrested him after arresting the two Mojahedin members. Before his trial, he was detained at the Joint Committee [of ?], and later at Evin prison for two and a half years.

Mr. Shokollahian’s first visitation with his family took place 6 months after his arrest. Based on the available information, he had become very thin and looked very pale; signs of torture could be seen on his left temple and eye. A cellmate, who was a doctor, states that the blood vessels and muscles of his left eye had been damaged and the proper medical facilities to operate on them did not exist in Iran.


Mr. Shokrollahian had been denied access to his file and did not have an attorney. In a first trial he was condemned to 5 years imprisonment. He was denied the right to appeal.

Specific details on the circumstances of the trials that led to the execution of Mr. Shokrollahian and thousands of other individuals in 1988 are not known. According to existing information, there was no official trial with the presence of an attorney and prosecutor. Those who were executed in 1988 were sent to a three-man committee consisting of a religious judge, a representative from the Intelligence Ministry, and a Public Prosecutor of Tehran. This committee asked the leftist prisoners some questions about their beliefs and whether or not they believed in God.

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 serving when they were retried and sentenced to death.


According to the available information, Mr. Shokrollahian was charged as a “hypocrite” (a name used by the regime to refer to the members of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization). No charge has been publicly leveled against the victims of the 1988 mass executions. 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, Ruhollah 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 Mojahedin 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.

Evidence of guilt

No information is available regarding the evidence presented against the defendant.


In their open letter, the families of the prisoners note that defendants were not given the opportunity to defend themselves in court. Against the assertion that prisoners were associated with guerillas operating near the borders, the families submit the isolation of their relatives from the outside during their detention: “Our children lived in most difficult conditions. Visits were limited to 10 minutes behind a glass divider through a telephone every two weeks. We witnessed during the past seven years that they were denied access to anything that would have allowed them to establish contacts outside their prisons’ walls.” Under such conditions the families reject the claim of the authorities that these prisoners were able to engage with any political group outside Iran.


The details of the death sentence are not known. Mr. Hassan Shokrollahian Cheshmeh was executed in August, 1988. The authorities did not inform his family of the judgment and did not return his body to them. They called his house after the execution and asked a family member to come and collect his belongings, two suitcases. The family was told to refrain from inquiring about the execution, publicizing it, or holding a memorial service. The contents of the suitcases, however, did not belong to Mr. Shokrollahian and his family could not determine the identity of their rightful owner.

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