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Haunted Memories: The Islamic Republic’s Executions of Kurds in 1979

allegedly tortured came forward and prevented further punishment.195 Khalkhali left Kurdistan on or about September 13 to give Khomeini a report about his activities in the region.196 He recommended that the government rebuild houses for those whose homes had been destroyed during the fighting, pave the main roads, and fire all the “Democrat” affiliates from the government offices.197 Reports of executions in Kurdistan and elsewhere continued. 198

Khalkhali returned to Mahabad by plane later in September. Before leaving, he issued a statement banning all demonstrations in support of the KDPI and warning that “once again, counterrevolutionaries were stirring up trouble to ‘color Kurdistan with the blood of our country’s children.’” 199 Ettelaat newspaper reported his complaints that Iranian newspapers were publishing news in a manner that made him look like a villain and glorified the executed, and that the international press was focused on the executions of a few criminals. He was quoted as grumbling that:

Such oppression and murders and tortures take place in Rhodesia, Angola, Mozambique, South Africa and other parts of the world by the cronies of the United States but the published press in USA and Western Europe remain silent about those killings and ruthless massacres. However, when a few blood-sucking criminals are executed in Kurdistan and other parts of Iran, stories begin to spin and newspapers start to fill, and the televisions boldly display a montage photo. This is while everyone knows that no one was tried while on a stretcher in the revolutionary courts of Kurdistan. All of those tried were healthy and walked on their own feet to the trial chamber and walked out, on their own feet, to the gallows. All such propaganda is meant for disturbing the minds of the masses and the simpletons.

He then continued to defend his execution record and addressed the cases of fourteen of the people he had ordered executed. Among them was Issa Pirvali who was executed in Sanandaj for allegedly killing Shater Mohammad. Khalkhali explained that “when carrying out his criminal deed, this man was holding a cleaving butcher knife, spinning it around and flagrantly saying ‘the meat from Khomeini’s followers just dipped in price!’ and other statements that I am ashamed of repeating.” He also continued his defense of Dr. Sardari’s execution in Paveh. This time, he told Ettelaat that Dr. Sardari had been arrested armed in the trenches and was one of the leaders of the outlawed KDPI. 200

On September 29, it was reported that he had summarily ordered four more men executed in Mahabad. Three were condemned for “contacts with counterrevolutionaries” and the fourth of “moral offenses.”201 On October 18, perhaps in light of the up-coming vote on the draft Constitution, Khomeini announced a


[195] Thurgood, Tehran Mourns the Ayatollah of Moderation, GUARDIAN, Sept. 11, 1979, at 6, available at http://www.iranhrdc.org/english/human-rights-documents/3507-1979-newspapers.html.
[196] Guzarish-i Khalkhali darbarihyih Qarb-i Kishvar bih Imam [Report of Khalkhali about the Western Parts of the Country to Imam], ETTELAAT, [Sept. 13, 1979], available athttp://www.iranhrdc.org/english/human-rights-documents/3507-1979-newspapers.html.
[197] Khalkhali: Dawlat Harchih Zudtar Bayad dar Kurdistan Dast bih Sazandigi Bizanad [Khalkhali: the Government Must Sooner Rather than Later Start Construction Projects in Kurdistan], ETTELAAT, [Sept. 15, 1979], available athttp://www.iranhrdc.org/english/human-rights-documents/3507-1979-newspapers.html.
[198] See Thurgood, Iran Takes Further Step to Theocracy; 9 Kurds Executed, GUARDIAN, Sept. 14, 1979, at 8 (reporting nine executions in central Hamadan province and the towns of Gonbad-e Kavus, Sanandaj and Baneh), available athttp://www.iranhrdc.org/english/human-rights-documents/3507-1979-newspapers.html.
[199] Iran Oil Chief Replaced After “Treason” Charges, GUARDIAN, Sept. 29, 1979, at 6, available athttp://www.iranhrdc.org/english/human-rights-documents/3507-1979-newspapers.html.
[200] Khalkhali: Chira Dar Kurdistan Hukm-i Idam Sadir Kardam [Khalkhali: Why I Issued Execution Sentences in Kurdistan], ETTELAAT, [Sept. 23, 1979], available athttp://www.iranhrdc.org/english/human-rights-documents/3507-1979-newspapers.html.
[201] 9 Nafar Tirbaran Shodand [9 people Were Executed], ETTELAAT, ]Sept. 7, 1979], available at http://www.iranhrdc.org/english/human-rights-documents/3507-1979-newspapers.html.

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