Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Rahmat Fathi


Age: 28
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Non-Believer
Civil Status: Married


Date of Killing: August, 1988
Location of Killing: Evin Prison, Tehran, Tehran Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Counter revolutionary opinion and/or speech; Apostasy

About this Case

Mr. Rahmat Fathi, son of Rahmatollah, was a victim of the mass killings of political prisoners in 1988. The majority of the executed prisoners were members of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization. Other victims included members or sympathizers of Marxist-Leninist organizations, such as the Fedaiyan Khalq (Minority) and the Peykar Organization, which opposed the Islamic Republic, as well as the Tudeh Party and the Fedaiyan Khalq (Majority), which did not oppose the Islamic Republic. Information about the mass executions has been gathered by the Boroumand Foundation from the memoir of Ayatollah Montazeri, reports of human rights organizations, interviews with victims’ families, and witnesses’ memoirs.

The information about Mr. Fathi is based on an interview with his wife, Maryam Nuri. Ms. Nuri, who spent many years in prison, mentions Mr. Fathi in her book of memoirs In Search of Freedom (2005). Mr. Fathi is also among the victims of the massacre listed in the book Those Who Said “No”, published in 1999 by the Paris-based Association for the Defense of Political Prisoners and Prisoners of Conscience in Iran.

Mr. Rahmat Fathi was born in Meshkin Shahr (in today’s Ardebil province) in 1960. He was a college-educated student. Mr. Fathi worked in a construction company. He was a member of the Fadaiyan Khalq Minority and in charge of the distribution of its publications.

According to his wife, Mr. Fathi was very kind. He was compassionate and was loved by family and friends. In prison, if any cellmate had a conflict, he volunteered to mediate and resolve the issue. His wife remembers that he always wanted to be a father – and in fact he had a son, who was born in prison. He loved to hear his son call him dad.

The Fadaiyan Khalq Organization, a Marxist-Leninist group, inspired by the Cuban Revolution and the urban guerilla movements in Latin America, was founded in 1971 by two communist groups opposed to the Pahlavi regime. Following the 1979 Revolution, the Fadaiyan Khalq Organization – which renounced armed struggle – split over support of the Islamic Republic and of the Soviet Union. The Fadaiyan Khalq Minority opposed the Islamic Republic and was mainly active in the political arena and the labor movement.

Arrest and detention

Mr. Rahmat Fathi was arrested outside his residence on November 4, 1985. He was detained at Ward 3000 for three months and was later transferred to Evin Prison. During the previous regime, Ward 3000 was known as the Joint Anti-Sabotage Committee, which was later renamed 3000 Ward and subsequently Tohid Prison. Before and after the revolution, political prisoners were tortured in this infamous prison, which today is the Ebrat Museum.

While in detention, Mr. Fathi was only afforded one short visit at Ward 3000 and a few visits with his family members at Evin prison. He was allowed to see his wife – who was also a prisoner – only once. During this visit, he also saw his son. According to Ms. Nuri, he was tortured severely and was hospitalized in prison. He was flogged regularly because he refused to pray.


In 1985, a court in Ward 3000 condemned Mr. Fathi to 10 years imprisonment. No other information is available on his trial. Specific details on the circumstances of the trials that led to the execution of Mr. Fathi 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 officials’ 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.


No information is available on Mr. Fathi’s charges. No charge has been publicly ordered against the victims of the 1988 mass executions. In their letters to the Minister of Justice in 1988, and to the UN Special Rapporteur visiting Iran in February of 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, Ayatollah 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 members of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization 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.

Defendants, who did not belong to the Mojahedin Khalq Organization named by the leader of the Islamic Republic, may have been accused of being “anti-religion” for not having renounced his or her beliefs.

Evidence of guilt

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


No information is available about his defense. Mr. Fathi was denied the right to have an attorney and access to his file. In their letter, the families of the victims of 1988 massacre noted that defendants were not given the opportunity to defend themselves in court. The same letter, rebutting the accusation that these prisoners (from inside the prison) had collaborated with armed members of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization in clashes with armed forces of the Islamic Republic, states that such claims “are false considering the circumstances in prisons; for our children faced most difficult conditions [in the prison, with] visitation rights of once every 15 days, each visitation lasting ten minutes through a telephone from behind the glass window, and were deprived of any connection with the outside world. We faced such conditions for seven years, which proves the truth of our claim.”


Mr. Rahmat Fathi was executed at Evin prison in September, 1988. According to his relatives, in order to find information about him (including the whereabouts of his marriage ring), his mother went to Evin prison several times. The prison officials told her: “If you write down that your son committed suicide in the prison, we will show you his grave location and give you his ring.”

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