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Murder at Mykonos: Anatomy of a Political Assassination

4.2. Prelude to Murder

On September 13, 1992 the Mykonos conspirators met in Darabi’s home in Detmolder Straβe 64B, Berlin.34 Present for the meeting were Banihashemi, Darabi, Mohammad, Amin, Rhayel, and Haidar. Once the meeting was over Darabi took the team to the operational base he had established for them at Senftenberger Ring 7 in Berlin. This was the empty home of an Iranian student, Mohammad Eshtiaghi.35 Darabi had gained access to Eshtiaghi's home from Bahram Berenjian who was looking after the property in its owner’s absence. His logistical role in the operation accomplished, Darabi then traveled with his family to Hamburg to distance himself from what was to come.36 Elsewhere on September 13, Ali Sabra bought a metallic blue BMW, registration number B-AR 5503, for 3120 Deutsche Marks. The money had been provided by Darabi to procure transportation for the team. 37

On the morning of September 16, Rhayel and Haidar received an Uzi machine gun, a pistol and two silencers from an unknown source - most likely someone linked to the IRI Ministry of Intelligence as German investigators were subsequently able to link both the pistol and silencers to the IRI.38 Later the same day an unidentified source made a telephone call to Senftenberger Ring 7 and confirmed the time and place of the PDKI meeting. The team spent the evening familiarizing themselves with the area around the Mykonos restaurant.39 On the morning of September 17, Rhayel and Haidar went out to purchase a green and black Sportinosports bag to carry the weapons in.40 At 9:00 p.m. on September 17, the team left Senftenberger Ring

At 9:00 p.m. on September 17, the team left Senftenberger Ring 7 for the Mykonos restaurant after receiving confirmation from Mohammad, who was keeping the restaurant under surveillance, that the PDKI party had arrived. Haidar and Rhayel drove the getaway car – the BMW purchased by Ali Sabra – to Prinzregentstraße.41 Amin and Banihashemi traveled by taxi to Berliner Straβe, near the restaurant. They met up with Mohammad near a public payphone. Banihashemi then separated from the group. Mohammad and Amin found him a short while later talking to the driver of a dark Mercedes Benz 190. This individual – who has never been identified – drove off after a short conversation.42 Amin and Mohammad followed Banihashemi at a discreet distance to Prager Platz. There Rhayel replaced Mohammad. Banihashemi retrieved the sports bag containing the weapons from the getaway car parked in Prinzregentstraße. Banihashemi and Rhayel then armed themselves and walked back to Mykonos accompanied by Amin. Haidar and Mohammad waited behind in the BMW.43

4.3. The Attack

Dr. Sharafkandi, Ardalan, Abdoli, and Dehkordi had arrived at the Mykonos Restaurant around 7:30 p.m. The restaurant’s owner, Aziz Ghaffari, had been asked to contact prominent local Iranian dissidents and invite them to meet with the visitors44 but Ghaffari apparently botched the assignment extending an

[34]Anklageschrift, Der Generalbundesanwaltschaft Beim Bundesgerichtshof [Indictment, The Attorney General of the Federal Court] (May 17, 1993), at 27 [hereinafter Indictment] (on file with IHRDC).
[35]Grünewald Memo, supranote 32, at 3; Indictment, supra note 34, at 27. That summer, Mohammad Eshtiaghi was traveling in Iran. He gave Brendjian a key to his house before he left. Id.
[36] Indictment, supra note 34, at 28; Mykonos Judgment, supra note 27, at 36.
[37] Schluβbericht, Bundeskriminalamt [Final Report, Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany] (Aug. 22, 1993), at 5 and 16 [hereinafter Final Report] (on file with IHRDC); Mykonos Judgment, supra note 27, at 36.
[38] Indictment, supra note 34, at 28 and 34.
[39] Mykonos Judgment, supra note 27, at 41.
[40]Id.
[41] Id. at 48; Indictment, supra note 34, at 29.
[42] Indictment, supra note 34, at 19; Sachstandbericht, Bundeskriminalamt [Summary of Facts, Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany] (Nov. 13, 1992), at 8 [hereinafter Summary of Facts] (on file with IHRDC).
[43] Indictment, supra note 34, at 29-30.
[44] The individuals invited were: Dr. Nosratollah Barati, Dr. Bahman Niroumand, Dr. Kambiz Rousta, Parviz Dastmalchi, Hamzeh Farahati, Mehdi Ebrahimzadeh Esfehani, Hassan Jafari and Masoud Mirrashed. Indictment, supra note 34, at 20.

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Political Killings, Assassinations, Political Freedom