Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Siamak Tuba'i


Age: 26
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Islam
Civil Status: Single


Date of Killing: 1990
Location of Killing: Iran
Mode of Killing: Unspecified execution method
Charges: Unknown charge

About this Case

The information about Mr. Siamak Tuba’i was drawn from an interview with a person familiar with his case, as well as from the book Neither Life nor Death, Vol. 4: Till The Dawn of Grapes by Iraj Mesdaghi (Memoirs of Prison 1981-1991) published in Stockholm in 2004. In this book, Mr. Mesdaghi, a cellmate and close friend of Mr. Tuba’i in 1988/89, during the last year of his life, narrates his conversations with the latter and provides valuable information about him.

Mr. Siamak Tuba’i was born in Tehran. At the time of his arrest, he was in the 12th grade at Kharazmi High School. According to Mr. Mesdaghi, in high school, “he did martial arts [and] had a relatively well-built body.” He coached some of his classmates in an exercise group at school. He was a sympathizer of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO), attended their meetings, and distributed flyers and newspapers for them until his father found out and prevented him from continuing his political activities.

Arrest and detention

Mr. Tuba’i was arrested in Tehran on September 5, 1981 as he was walking home. The Islamic Association of his high school had identified him for his previous political activities and reported him to the authorities. Initially he was kept at Evin prison incommunicado, where he was interrogated and tortured. According to a former cellmate, his feet were swollen as a result of bastinado. In October 1981, the Iranian media reported his execution based on a communiqué of the Central Islamic Revolutionary Prosecutor’s Office that listed the names of executed prisoners. When his family pursued the matter, it was determined that his name was mistakenly announced.

The authorities eventually sentenced Mr. Tuba’i to imprisonment and transferred him to Qezelhesar prison for a short while; however they sent him back to Evin around January 1982 to be retried and resentenced. He was then returned to Qezelhesar where he had his first visitation in February 1982. Until later in 1982, he had monthly visits at the same prison. Generally, such visitations lasted 10 minutes in the presence of prison guards. Communication with prisoners was through a telephone from behind a glass divider.

In late 1982, the authorities transferred Mr. Tuba’i to Gohardasht Prison where, according to his cellmate, he was in solitary confinement for two years. Between 1983 and 1988, he had visitors every three weeks, on and off. From July to October 1988, during the mass execution of political prisoners throughout the country, all Gohardasht political prisoners were denied visitation. In February 1989, Mr. Tuba’i and other survivors of this massacre were transferred to Evin Prison where he spent his last year and had visits every two weeks.

In 1989, Mr. Tuba’i was given temporary leave of absence from prison three times, ranging from a few hours to a few days. During his third leave, he attempted to escape but he was arrested. No information is available about the circumstances of his detention after this second arrest: Those familiar with his case suspect that he may have been interrogated and tortured again.


Following his arrest in 1981, he was tried and sentenced to three years imprisonment. However, after one of his friends from Kharazmi High School was arrested, Mr. Tuba’i was returned to Evin prison, where he was retried. Based on Mr. Tuba’i’s own account, this friend (who was executed in January 1982) had heard the news of the execution of Mr. Tuba’i from the media in October 1981 and had decided to name him as his supervisor under torture. The religious judge confronted Mr. Tuba’i and his friend in a court session. After this friend realized that Mr. Tuba’i was alive, he retracted his confession and stressed that he had lied and that his statement about him was baseless. Nevertheless, the judge retried Mr. Tuba’i and sentenced him to 12 years imprisonment. The exact date of the second trial is not known but most probably it took place in January 1982.

Whether or not there was a third trial following the October 1989 leave is not known.


The authorities did not officially inform the family of the charges against Mr. Tuba’i. However, in 1984, when Mr. Tuba’i’s family went to the office established by Ayatollah Montazeri to address prisoners’ relatives’ queries, they were told that Mr. Tuba’i’s sentence was increased from 3 to 12 years because he was an MKO sympathizer at Kharazmi High School and had organized an exercise sports group at school. The authorities also noted that “he had lied during his first trial and had not been cooperative.” “He is too stubborn and must change”, they added.

The Iranian authorities have denied detaining Mr. Tuba’i after his attempted escape and have not provided information regarding the charges against him.

Evidence of guilt

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


No information is available about Mr. Tuba’i’s defense. Based on the available information, at the time of his arrest he was not a dedicated political activist and had no connection with the Mojahedin Khalq Organization then or during his incarceration. According to his cellmate, after the 1988 mass execution of political prisoners, Mr. Tuba’i and a few other inmates decided to escape since they were not willing to be among a few hundred political prisoners released as repentant political activists shortly after several thousand political dissidents were secretly executed for remaining steadfast in their political beliefs. Therefore, during his second temporary leave from prison, he got in touch with someone who was introduced to him as a contact of the Mojahedin organization.

Mr. Mesdaghi believes that the leave of absence and the escape plan were the authorities’ way to test the resolve of prisoners such as Mr. Tuba’i and his friends who were about to be released. He writes: “According to Siamak, the contact, based in Zahedan, insisted that he returned to prison and brought with him as many cellmates as possible.” Mr. Tuba’i was planning to use his next leave of absence to flee the country, presumably to join the Mojahedin organization abroad. After his second leave, he was anxious to be granted another one. Mr. Mesdaghi had heard from a cellmate that during his third leave on October 28, 1989, the guard accompanying Mr. Tuba’i had encouraged him to leave the house alone to run an errand for his mother. Mr. Tuba’i never returned. Only after a few hours did the guard report Mr. Tuba’i’s absence to the authorities. He also arrested Mr. Tuba’i’s mother, presumably to prevent her from informing other prisoners on leave. She was detained for two weeks for “collaborating in her son’s escape”. Relatives and friends never saw or heard from Mr. Tuba’i after he left his house on October 28.


Whether or not a death sentence was issued is not known. Based on the available information, Mr. Siamak Tuba’i’s was arrested and executed after his attempted escape from Evin Prison, most probably in late 1989. Authorities called him a fugitive and never announced his execution. His family learned the news of his execution for the first time in Mr. Mesdaghi’s prison memoir.

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