Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

https://www.iranrights.org
Omid, a memorial in defense of human rights in Iran
One Person’s Story

Mahnaz Mo'tamedi

About

Nationality: Iran
Religion: Non-Believer
Civil Status: Unknown

Case

Date of Killing: April 24, 1980
Location of Killing: Ahvaz, Khuzestan Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Arbitrary execution
Charges: Counter revolutionary opinion and/or speech

About this Case

She was in Ahvaz, working at the National Petroleum Co., when the Cultural Revolution launched. Ms. Mo’tamedi, in opposition, made her way to the university campus.

News of the execution of Ms. Mahnaz Mo’tamedi was published in the Peykar publication, number 55, on September 20, 1980. Ms. Mo’tamedi is one of the 430 individuals whose names appear on the list of “Martyrs of the Peykar Organization for the Liberation of the Working Class” published on the website of Andeesheh va Peykar. This list contains the names of those members of the organization who died after the revolution of 1979. More than 400 of the individuals on this list have been executed. The public prosecutor of the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Khuzestan Province issued a communiqué about her, without mentioning her name. The Ettela’at newspaper published this communiqué on April 30, 1980.

Ms. Mo’tamedi was an employee of the National Petroleum Company in Ahvaz.

The Peykar Organization for the Liberation of the Working Class was founded by a number of dissident members of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization who had converted to Marxism-Leninism. Peykar was also joined by a number of political organizations, known as Khat-e Se (Third line). The founding tenets of Peykar included the rejection of guerrilla struggle and a strong stand against the pro-Soviet policies of the Iranian Tudeh Party. Peykar viewed the Soviet Union as a “social imperialist” state, believed that China had deviated from the Marxist-Leninist principles, and radically opposed all factions of the Islamic regime of Iran. The brutal repression of dissidents by the Iranian government and splits within Peykar in 1981 and 1982 effectively dismantled the Organization and scattered its supporters. By the mid-1980s, Peykar was no longer in existence.

Arrest and detention

Ms. Mo’tamedi was arrested during the regime’s agents’ attack on Ahvaz University at the outset of the Cultural Revolution.

The Cultural Revolution began after Ayatollah Khomeini gave a speech in March 1980 and ordered that universities be purged of all those who opposed his regime and be transformed into “learning environments” [as opposed to political forums] where “an all-Islamic curriculum” would be taught. The first wave of violence began on April 15, 1980 during a speech by Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani [a member of the Council of the Islamic Revolution and Minister of Interior] at the University of Tabriz. Following the speech, students supporting the regime took control of the University’s central building and demanded that the “university be purged” from “pro-Shah elements and other sellouts.”

On April 18, the Council of the Islamic Revolution issued a communiqué accusing political groups of converting higher education institutions into “headquarters of discordant political activities” and naming them as obstacles to the radical transformation of the universities. The communiqué gave these groups three days (Saturday April 19 to Monday April 21) to shut down their activities in the universities. The Council stressed that the decision included libraries along with activities related to arts and sports. Political groups, which recruited members and had strong support in the universities, refused to evacuate.

Before the Council’s deadline, serious clashes took place between leftist groups and Islamist Associations, which were at times supported by security forces and paramilitary groups. These clashes, which peaked at the end of the three-day deadline, resulted in the death of several people and hundreds of others were wounded at university campuses around the country.

On April 21, the Islamic Republic authorities announced the victory of the Cultural Revolution and the closure of all universities in order to Islamicize the curricula. The universities remained closed for two years. One of the outcomes of the Cultural Revolution was the purging of many university professors and students based on their political beliefs.

Trial

No information is available on the defendant’s trial.

Charges

According to the website of Andeesheh va Peykar, the charge brought against Ms. Mo’tamedi was, “propaganda against the Cultural Revolution.”

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 the defendant.

Defense

No information is available on Ms. Mo’tamedi’s defense.

Judgment

The prosecutor of Khuzestan announced in the communiqué that “there was an accident at the Center for Islamic Guidance. When the Revolutionary Guards were transferring female detainees to this Center, one of the Guards accidentally shot and killed a girl.”

According to the Peykar report, Ms. Mahnaz Mo’tamedi was shot to death by a Revolutionary Guard on April 24, 1980, at 1:30 a.m. When the Revolutionary Guards were transferring the female detainees, who had been arrested during the attack on the university from the Islamic Revolutionary Court to Zarkan Training Center, they forced the detainees to run the distance between the entrance door and the dormitory. The guards turned off the street lights. Some of the guards ambushed the detainees from behind trees in order to scare them. Several shots were heard. Ms. Mo’tamedi was shot and killed.

Correct/ Complete This Entry