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

Homayun Borumand Sorkhabi

About

Age: 18
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Islam
Civil Status: Single

Case

Date of Killing: September 24, 1981
Location of Killing: Tabriz Prison, Tabriz, Azarbaijan-e Sharqi Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Sympathizing with anti-regime guerilla groups
Age at time of alleged offense: 17

About this Case

Homayun was a high schooler and a simple supporter of the Mojahedin who left home on a June 20 at 4 pm and never went back!

News of the execution of Mr. Homayun Borumand Sorkhabi, son of Gholam Ali, was provided to Abdorrahman Boroumad Center via three electronic forms. (Sep 13, 2019, March 01, 2019 and Sep 22, 2015). The news of this execution and 34 other individuals, was also published in Kayhan newspaper on Monday, September 28, 1981, quoting the communiqué of the Office of Public Relations of the Islamic Revolutionary Prosecutor General’s Office. The names and crimes of the accused have been stated in this communiqué. Mr. Borumand 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. Borumand, a high schooler who was also a supporter of Mojahedin Khalq Organization*, was born in Tabriz. (E-forms)

International laws have strictly prohibited capital punishment against those who were under the age of 18 at the time of committing the crime. As a party to the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Iran has the obligation to avoid capital punishment for an offense committed before the age of eighteen. 

Arrest and detention

Mr. Borumand Sorkhabi left his house in Tabriz on June 20, 1981 at 4:00 pm and never went back. Later, his family found out that he was arrested on the same day. He was only 16 years old at the time of arrest. Mr. Borumand Sorkhabi Was in Prison for three months. His last visitation with his family was on a Wednesday, September 16, 1981.  (E-forms)

Trial

The Islamic Revolutionary Court of Tabriz tried Mr. Borumand Sorkhabi and the other 34 individuals. (Kayhan Newspaper) There is no specific date available for a trial that only took for a minute; however, Mr. Borumand was sentenced to 5 years of imprisonment during that short session. (E-forms)

Charges

The Office of Public Relations of the Islamic Revolutionary Prosecutor General’s Office has stated the charges brought against Mr. Homayun Borumand and 6 others as being “organizing and establishing contact with other Hypocrites (derogatory term used by the Islamic Republic to describe the MKO) while in prison and creating disorder [therein.]”

During the trial, Mr. Borumand Sorkhabi was charged with "Support the Mojahedin Khalq Organization and distribution of their magazine"

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 in Kayhan Newspaper does not contain information regarding the evidence provided against Mr. Borumand; however, according to the e-froms, he was in possession of MKO's magazines at the time of arrest.

Defense

No information is available on Mr. Borumand’s defense.

A Summary of the Legal Defects in the Adjudication of Mr. Homayun Borumand  Sorkhabi’s Case

In the early years of the Revolution, the judicial system went into complete disarray and clerics who supported the newly installed regime came into the system in the form of Shari’a judges. It was these clerics who issued the sentences in the majority of political and security-related cases. The impartiality and independence of these Shari’a judges is highly in doubt. The majority of the defendants were not allowed to be represented by an attorney, and trials took place very quickly and without any investigations. What we see in the present case is that the defendant had not had any armed activity whatsoever, and actually, at the time of his arrest, the Mojahedeen Khalq Organization had not yet declared that it was [changing its policies of support for the newly installed Islamic Regime] and beginning an armed struggle against it. Mr. Boroumand was arrested at the age of 17 and it is absolutely impossible for him to have been one of the Organization’s officials and in a decision-making position. At most, he could have been a simple supporter of the Organization. Therefore, considering that the sentences issued for members of Mojahedeen were mostly based on the charge of Moharebeh (“waging war on God”) and Efsad fel-Arz (“spreading corruption on Earth”), Mr. Boroumand could not be sentenced to death even if it could have been proven that he was a supporter of the Organization, because the act of Moharebeh cited by the courts at the time, was based on Shari’a rules [the crime not having been defined in the Penal Code yet] and consisted of taking up arms with the intention of causing fear and apprehension [in the populace] and engaging in killings. In other words, Mohareb was a person who took up arms with the intention of fighting God and/or the Islamic government, whereas it is clear that Mr. Borumand had not had any armed activity whatsoever.

Judgment

The Tabriz Islamic Revolutionary Tribunal sentenced Mr. Homayun Borumand Sorkhabi to death. Mr. Borumand Sorkhabi along with 34 other individuals were executed with firing squad in Tabriz Prison on a day between Wednesday September 23, and Friday, September 25, 1981. 

Mr. Borumand Sorkhabi's family read the news of his execution in the newpaper. His gravestone has both his birthday and deathday as September 25. 

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*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.

In spite of the “armed struggle” announcement by the MKO on June 20, 1981, many sympathizers of the organization had no military training, were not armed, and did not participate in armed conflict.

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