Skip to main content

Bahador Kiamarzi: The last place I saw my father was in Iran’s Evin Prison

Written By | Aug 23, 2020
Iran, Evin Prison, Massacre, 1998

Bahador Kiamarzi campaigns for justice for thousands of political prisoners executed in Iran during the horrific summer of 1988. His father is one of those innocent people who was accused of being at “war against God.”  He was sentenced to death by a religious decree issued by Ruhollah Khomeini. The crime of the massacred? Not denying their political convictions in the face of the tyranny of the Islamists who seized power in Iran in 1979. To work to create a revolution to bring freedom and justice to Iran.

In 1982, Bahador’s parents were arrested for being supporters of the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK/PMOI), an opposition movement that attracted large crowds, especially young people, because it advocated a secular and democratic interpretation of Islam.

Iranian Resistance Summit: Speaking out against Iranian state terrorism

Bahador Kiamarzi testifies:

“While in prison, I was never allowed to see my father until my grandmother took me to see him in prison. That day, I wore my best clothes. I remember a door at the end of the meeting corridor where I saw a man standing who my grandmother said was my father. Eager to hug him, I ran to him. But just as I was about to reach him, a guard suddenly closed the door and I bumped into the iron door and fell on the ground. This was the first and last time I saw my father, who was executed on August 2, 1988.”
“My mother was pregnant when she was arrested, therefore, I was born in Evin prison, where I spent the first four years of my life,” said Bahador, now 38, who recently spoke at an online conference on the anniversary of the 1988 massacre. (Hell on Earth: Inside Iran’s brutal Evin prison

After the ceasefire in the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988), the mullahs’ regime decided to eliminate political prisoners. They took this action in order to defuse the consequences of accepting the ceasefire which represented the regime’s failure to achieve its goal in a bloody war. A war that left two million people dead or wounded on the Iranian side alone.

Khomeini, the supreme leader and the founder of the Islamist regime had promised to conquer Jerusalem via Karbala even if the war was to continue for another twenty years.
It was a matter of intimidating Iranian society

Iranian society is, as today, on the verge of explosion. Khomeini issued his horrendous fatwa ordering that all prisoners sympathetic to the MEK/PMOI and other opposition groups and still maintained their convictions should be executed.

The Khomeini fatwa say:

“All those who are imprisoned throughout the country and who persist on their hypocrisy are condemned to death because they are at war with God. It would be naive to be merciful to those who have declared war on God. The intransigence of Islam towards the enemies of God is one of the inviolable principles of the Islamic regime. I hope that your revolutionary anger and hatred against the enemies of Islam will bring God’s satisfaction.”

This was Khomeini’s decree in part on the basis of which more than 30,000 political prisoners were massacred during July and August 1988.

History has witnessed many crimes and massacres

However, the tragedy of Iran’s political prisoners in 1988 has unique characteristics. First of all, it was carried out on the order of the highest official in the system. All the prisoners had been previously tried by the regime’s courts and were serving prison terms or had already completed their sentences and awaiting their release.

The Iranian regime – tottering on the edge of the precipice

Thousands of prisoners had to decide their fate: to choose between freedom or death by answering a question posed by the “Death Commissions” composed of three state representatives acting as courts:

“What is your charge?”  Prisoners knew that if they answered “affiliation with the PMOI” they would be executed. Surprisingly, nearly 93% did courageously proclaimed their affiliation.

Geoffrey Robertson, a former judge at the United Nations Special Court for Sierra Leone, described the 1988 massacre as “the worst crime against humanity since the concentration camps of World War II”.

According to Hossein-Ali Montazeri, Khomeini’s designated successor at the time denounced the massacre and said the massacre of political prisoners would leave the name of Khomeini and perpetrators of his decree as the worst criminals in history.

The perseverance of those who were massacred is unique

The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran, Asma Jahangir, had stated that the families of the victims have the right to know where their children are buried, buried in hundreds in mass graves scattered across the country.

“In addition to being a hero to me, my father became an example to follow. He taught me that to choose the path to freedom, you must be willing to sacrifice the best things. These sacrifices are not in vain and will eventually lead to the establishment of democracy in Iran and history has proven this.” Bahador concludes.
Iran, Evin Prison, Massacre, 1998

Image free from use from Photo Bureau of Media Express and are copyright free for CDN. Image provided by the writer

Lead Image: Image free from use from Photo Bureau of Media Express and are copyright free for CDN. Image provided by the writer


Hamid Enayat

Hamid Enayat is an independent Iranian political analyst and writer based in Europe.