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

strafed the town.174 It was reported that by Friday, August 24, the military blocked all roads leading to Saqqez and effectively quarantined the town but that battles continued.175 On Sunday, August 26, Ettelaat newspaper reported that the military had complete control of Saqqez. Kurdish fighters escaped to the mountains but the military and pasdaran set up checkpoints all over town to stop and search townspeople and they arrested close to 150 people. Despite the security controls and the fact that businesses remained closed, Ettelaat reported that people had resumed daily activities. However, the town was destroyed. On August 27, it was reported that 200 Kurds had been captured and were awaiting the arrival of Khalkhali.176

Ayatollah Khalkhali arrived that day. The next morning, August 28, he made good on the promise of the central government to execute any military officers who disobeyed orders and sentenced to death without trial nine army officers accused of collaborating with the Kurds. The executed were Second Lieutenant Ahmad Saeedi, Second Lieutenant Ghader Bahador, Second Lieutenant Taher Khatibi, Sergeant Mohammad Babamiri, (Third) Sergeant Naser Hadadi, (First) Sergeant Rasoul Amini, (Third) Sergeant Mohammad Ghafari, (Third) Sergeant Naji Khorshidi, and (Second) Sergeant of the Gendarmerie Karim Rezaei. 177

In addition to the nine officers, Khalkhali ordered the execution of eleven Kurds. The eleven were Seifollah Feizi (15 years old), Anvar Ardalan, Ali Fakhraee, Abdullah Bahrami, Seyyed-Hassan Ahadi, Mohammad Darvish-Noghrei, Karim Shiriaee, Abobakr Samadi, Ahmad Moghadam, Jamil Jamalzadeh and Azar Kashb-Daraei (12 years old). They were executed by firing squad that day.178

Seifollah Feizi was a 15-year-old boy from the nearby town of Bukan who had been arrested during the fighting in Saqqez. His sister, Gowhar Feizi, remembers that her brother, like many Kurdish youth, helped bring food and other supplies to Kurdish fighters. She was told that, while Feizi was with a group of 20-30 people delivering food to fighters, a military helicopter circled overhead and dropped a hook that snagged the boy. The helicopter then dragged him for about ten miles over rough terrain away from the battle frontlines to the military base in Saqqez. Rocks and thorns lined the path and Feizi broke his arm on a boulder during the terrifying journey. 179

There was no medical equipment at the base to treat Feizi and he was transported to the hospital in Sanandaj. During the helicopter ride to the hospital, one of the pasdaran threatened to throw him from the helicopter in mid-flight. However the pilot adamantly objected and succeeded in taking Feizi to Sanandaj hospital. Feizi was treated and later returned to Saqqez.


[174] 150 Muhajim dar Saqqez Dastgir Shudand [150 Invaders Were Arrested in Saqqez], ETTELAAT, [Aug. 26, 1979]; Juz’iyat-i Nabard-i Shahr-i Saqqez [The Details of the Battle of the City of Saqqez], ETTELAAT, [Aug. 25, 1979]; Nassir Shirkhani, Iran Pounds Rebel Stronghold in Air Attack, GUARDIAN, Aug. 24, 1979, at 4, available at http://www.iranhrdc.org/english/human-rights-documents/3507-1979-newspapers.html; Kaabi Interview, supra note 27.
[175] Juz’iyat-i Nabard-i Shahr-i Saqqez [The Details of the Battle of the City of Saqqez], ETTELAAT, [Aug. 25, 1979], available at http://www.iranhrdc.org/english/human-rights-documents/3507-1979-newspapers.html.
[176] PRUNHUBER, supra note 21, at 81; Iran Tells Kurds to Surrender or Be Crushed, GUARDIAN, Aug. 27, 1979, at 6, available at http://www.iranhrdc.org/english/human-rights-documents/3507-1979-newspapers.html.
[177] 40 Nafar dar Sanandaj, Mariwan va Saqqez Tirbaran Shudand [40 People Were Executed by a Firing Squad in Sanandaj, Mariwan and Saqqez], ETTELAAT, [Aug. 28, 1979]; What’s News: Business and Finance World-Wide, WALL ST. J., Aug. 29, 1979; Khomeini Kills Hopes for Peace in Kurdestan, GUARDIAN, Aug. 29, 1979, at 8, available at http://www.iranhrdc.org/english/human-rights-documents/3507-1979-newspapers.html.
[178] 40 Nafar dar Sanandaj, Mariwan va Saqqez Tirbaran Shudand [40 People Were Executed by a Firing Squad in Sanandaj, Mariwan and Saqqez], ETTELAAT, [Aug. 28, 1979], available athttp://www.iranhrdc.org/english/human-rights-documents/3507-1979-newspapers.html.
[179] IHRDC Interview with Gowhar Feizi (Feb. 2, 2011) (on file with IHRDC) [hereinafter Feizi Interview]. The text that follows is from Gowhar Feizi’s interview.

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