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

Mohsen Razavi

About

Age: 57
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Baha'i
Civil Status: Married

Case

Date of Killing: March 4, 1984
Location: Evin Prison, Tehran, Tehran Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Unknown charge
Age at time of offense: 56

About this Case

News of Mr. Mohsen Razavi’s execution was published in the Archives of Baha’i Persecution in Iran website (September 5, 2018), and by the Campaign to Stop Harassment and Imprisonment of Baha’i Citizens – List of Baha’i Martyrs and Prominent Persons (January 19, 2017).

Mr Razavi was born into a Baha’i family in the town of Serishabad in Kurdistan Province on July 7, 1926. He spent his childhood in the town of Qaraveh near the city of Hamedan where he finished primary school. He was married in 1956-57 and was a government employee in Tehran.

In 1964-65, Mr. Razavi took up residence in the village of Ozgol in the suburbs of Tehran where he remained until the establishment of the local Spiritual Assembly* and engaged in promoting the Baha’i faith. He returned to Tehran after two years. In 1972-73, he resided in [Tehran’s] Sarassiab [neighborhood] and subsequently in the Afsarieh [neighborhood]. He was a member of the local Spiritual Assembly in both places. He moved to the Tehran Pars [neighborhood] in 1979.

The Baha’is in the Islamic Republic of Iran: Background

The Baha’i religious community is the largest minority group in Iran, with approximately 300,000 members in 1979 (more current figures are not available).*  The authorities of the Islamic Republic have subjected Baha’is religious  to systematic harassment and persecution, depriving them of their most fundamental human rights. The Baha’i religion is not recognized under the Constitution of the Islamic Republic, and Iranian authorities refer to it as a heresy. As a result, the Baha’is have been denied the rights associated with the status of a religious minority; they cannot profess and practice their faith and are banned from public functions. Discrimination under the law and in practice has subjected them to abuse and violence. **

Arrest and detention

The circumstances of Mr. Razavi’s arrest and detention are not known.

Trial

No information is available on Mr. Razavi’s trial.

Charges

The charge brought against Mr. Razavi  is not known.

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 Mr. Razavi’s defense.

Judgment

On March 4, 1984, Mr. Mohsen Razavi was hanged at Tehran’s Evin Prison.

On March 13, 1984, the authorities informed one of Mr. Razavi’s relatives that he had been executed. His body was not turned over to his family and the family believes that he was probably buried by government agents.

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* ‘Slow Death for Iran’s Baha’is’ by Richard N. Ostling, Time Magazine,20 February 1984. Also see ‘The Persecution of the Baha’is of Iran, 1844-1984, by Douglas Martin, Baha’i Studies,volume 12/13, 1984, p. 3. There is no information about the current number of Baha’is in Iran.
** The Islamic Republic Penal Code grants no rights to Baha’is, and the courts have denied them the right to redress or to protection against assault, murder, and other forms of persecution and abuse. In so doing, the courts have treated Baha’is as unprotected citizens or “apostates,” citing eminent religious authorities whose edicts are considered a source of law equal to acts of Parliament. The Founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khomeini, made execution a punishment for the crime of apostasy and decreed that a Muslim would not be punished for killing an apostate.
Banishment from public functions has seriously damaged the Baha’is’ professional, economic, and social lives. Soon after the revolution, a Ministry of Labor directive called for the dismissal from public office and all governmental organizations and associations of those “who belong to any of the misguided sects recognized by all Muslims as heretical deviations from Islam, or to organizations whose doctrine and constitution are based on rejection of the divinely-revealed religions.” Finally, the mandatory requirement of specifying religion in application forms and official documents (lifted recently in some areas under international pressure) has seriously limited Baha’is’ freedoms and opportunities in all areas of their lives including divorce, inheritance, access to universities and travel.
In practice, since 1980, thousands of Baha’is have lost their jobs, pensions, businesses, properties and educational opportunities. By banning the Baha’i administration including Spiritual Assemblies -  the elected bodies that lead and administer the affairs of Baha’i communities at both local and national levels -  the Islamic Republic has denied Baha’is the right to meet, elect, and operate their religious institutions. Further, the Iranian government has executed at least 200 Baha’is and has imprisoned, tortured, and pressured to convert to Islam scores more.
Because of the unanimous international condemnation of the persecution of this quietist, apolitical religious community, Iranian authorities do not always admit that the Baha’is are being punished for their religious beliefs. Therefore, judicial authorities have often charged Baha’is with offenses such as “being involved in counter-revolutionary activities,” “having supported the former regime,” “being agents of Zionism,” or “being involved with prostitution, adultery, and immorality.”

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