Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Seyed Hossein Sadat Ja'fari


Age: 20
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Islam (Shi'a)
Civil Status: Single


Date of Killing: September 16, 1981
Location of Killing: Evin Prison, Tehran, Tehran Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Shooting
Charges: Attempt to assassinate or assassination of state dignitaries; Living in safe houses; Membership of anti-regime guerilla group; Participating in clashes with revolutionary guards and or Bassij brothers

About this Case

The information about Mr. Seyed Hossein Sadat Ja’fari, son of Mohammad, was sent to Omid by a relative, through an electronic form. His execution was announced in a statement by the public relations department of the prosecution office of Tehran province (published in the Kayhan newspaper on September 19, 1981). Mr. Sadat Ja’fari is also one of the 12028 individuals listed in an addendum to the Mojahed magazine (No 261), published by Mojahedin Khalq Organization in 1985. The list includes individuals, affiliated with various opposition groups, who were executed or killed during clashes with the Islamic Republic security forces from June 1981 to the publication date of the magazine.

Mr. Sadat Ja’fari was born in Lahijan (in the northern province of Gilan) in 1961. He was a sympathizer of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization* and based on the information available, he was politically active during the revolution of 1979.

The statement of the prosecution office that announced his execution, begins with this verse of the Quran, “God has promised the hypocrites, both men and women, as well as the deniers of the truth, the fire of hell…” (IX: 68). The statement says, “Heroic and militant nation… with your cooperation and with the endeavors of the 20 million strong military of our brothers in the armed forces, the ugly face of hypocrites has been unveiled, and with the discovery of the den of corruption of mercenaries of the super-powers, duplicity will be uprooted from our society, and the society of Islamic justice will be founded… The Islamic Revolutionary Prosecution Office has been established on the basis of Islamic rules and principles and is trying to create a healthy atmosphere and the realization of divine justice…” The statement goes on to announce the execution of “19 people who are at war with God and his prophet, and who are corruptors on earth.”

Arrest and detention

The circumstances of this defendant’s arrest and detention are not known. The Sadat Ja’fari family found out that he was arrested in July 1981 when security agents went to their house to search it. He was held incommunicado in Evin prison.


No information is available on the defendant’s trial. The newspaper report refers to the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Tehran.


The prosecution office announced that Mr. Sadat Ja’fari was charged with “membership in the anti-people organization of Hypocrites [a name Iranian official use to refer to the Mojahedin Khalq Organization], living in safe-houses, being a member of sabotage and terror groups, having thrown Molotov cocktails at police stations as well as other public and private buildings, arson of automobiles, stores, and assassination of Revolutionary Guards.”

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.


No information is available on Mr. Sadat Ja’fari’s defense. He was denied a defense attorney.


Mr. Sadat Ja’fari was shot by firing squad on September 16, 1981 at Evin prison in Tehran. He was 20 years old. His family found out about the execution through a radio announcement. When they went to the prison to receive his body, will, and belongings, they were only given the location of his burial at the Behesht-e Zahra cemetery.

* The Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) was founded in 1965. This organization adapted the principals of Islam as its ideological guideline. However, its members’ interpretation of Islam was revolutionary and they believed in armed struggle against the Shah’s regime. They valued Marxism as a progressive method for economic and social analysis but considered Islam as their source of inspiration, culture, and ideology. In the 1970s, the MKO was weakened when many of its members were imprisoned and executed. In 1975, following a deep ideological crisis, the organization refuted Islam as its ideology and, after a few of its members were killed and other Muslim members purged, the organization proclaimed Marxism as its ideology. This move led to split of the Marxist-Leninist Section of the MKO in 1977. In January of 1979, the imprisoned Muslim leaders of the MKO were released along with other political prisoners. They began to re-organize the MKO and recruit new members based on Islamic ideology. After the 1979 Revolution and the establishment of the Islamic Republic, the MKO accepted the leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini and supported the Revolution. Active participation in the political scene and infiltration of governmental institutions were foremost on the organization’s agenda. During the first two years after the Revolution, the MKO succeeded in recruiting numerous sympathizers, especially in high schools and universities; but its efforts to gain political power, either by appointment or election, were strongly opposed by the Islamic Republic leaders.

The exclusion of MKO members from government offices and the closure of their centers and publishing houses, in conjunction with to the Islamic Republic authorities’ different interpretation of Islam, widened the gap between the two. Authorities of the new regime referred to the Mojahedin as “Hypocrites” and the Hezbollahi supporters of the regime attacked the Mojahedin sympathizers regularly during demonstrations and while distributing publications, leading to the death of several MKO supporters. On June 20, 1981, the MKO called for a demonstration protesting their treatment by governmental officials and the government officials’ efforts to impeach their ally, President Abolhassan Banisadr. Despite the fact that the regime called this demonstration illegal, thousands came to the streets, some of whom confronted the Revolutionary Guardsmen and Hezbollahis. The number of casualties that resulted from this demonstration is unknown but a large number of demonstrators were arrested and executed in the following days and weeks. The day after the demonstration, the Islamic Republic regime started a repressive campaign – unprecedented in modern Iranian history. Thousands of MKO members and sympathizers were arrested or executed. On June 21, 1981, the MKO announced an armed struggle against the Islamic Republic and assassinated a number of high-ranking officials and supporters of the Islamic regime.

In the summer of 1981, the leader of the MKO and the impeached President (Banisadr) fled Iran to reside in France, where they founded the National Council of Resistance. After the MKO leaders and many of its members were expelled from France, they went to Iraq and founded the National Liberation Army of Iran in 1987, which entered Iranian territory a few times during the Iran-Iraq war. They were defeated in July 1988 during their last operation, the Forugh Javidan Operation. A few days after this operation, thousands of imprisoned Mojahedin supporters were killed during the mass executions of political prisoners in 1988. Ever since the summer of 1981, the MKO has continued its activities outside of Iran. No information is available regarding members and activities of the MKO inside the country.

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