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Witness Statement: Bahman Rahbari

Bahman Rahbari was arrested in 1980 in connection with an attempt by military officers to overthrow the newly installed Islamic Republic. He spent five years in prison where he endured torture and abuse. He describes his experiences and the conditions of Iran’s detention centers for political prisoners during the early years of the Islamic Republic.


Full Name: Bahman Rahbari

Fathers Name: Nasrullah

Date of Birth: December 13, 1945

Place of Birth: Shiraz, Farse, Iran

Occupation: Fighter Pilot and Officer of Iranian Air Force

Interviewing Organization: Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC)

Date of Interview: April 19, 2009

Interviewer: IHRDC Staff

Witnesses: None


This statement was prepared pursuant to a telephonic interview with Mr. Bahman Rahbari. The statement consists of 33 paragraphs and 7 pages. The interview was conducted on April 19, 2009. The statement was approved by Bahman Rahbari on February, 22, 2010.


Witness Statement



1. My name is Bahman Rahbari. On Monday, July 12, 1980, I was arrested at work by three plain clothes Iran Revolutionary Guard Council (IRGC) agents. At the time, I was a fighter pilot and an officer in the Air Force stationed at Bagha military base in Tehran.

2. The agents stopped and informed me that I was under arrest. However, they neither showed me an arrest warrant, nor informed me of the reason for my arrest. I tried to reach my wife but they did not allow me to call her. The agents told me that they had some questions for me. They made me lie in a car and took me to Khomeini Center, formerly known as Sawak Center which is an intelligence base. I was blindfolded there. In the evening, I was transferred to Komietee Moshtrak in Sepah Square. I could tell that I was in Komietee Moshtrak because I heard the clock in Sepah Square that struck every hour and the planes that were passing overhead between Doshan Tappa airport and Mehrabad airport.

3. Komitee Moshtarak is a four-floor building that has a circle-shaped space at the center. Rows of cells extend from the center of the circle in all directions. There are restrooms at the end of each lane.

4. Komitee Moshtarak belonged to police forces and was located behind the main office of the police headquarters near Sepah Square in the vicinity of the Ministry of Foreign Affair. The police usually detained robbers, goons and minor offenders in this prison. When I was taken to Komittee Moshtrak, as it was in the early days after a planned coup was betrayed, the prison was crowded with newly-detained prisoners. I was blindfolded and told not to speak a word until asked. If I needed to use the rest room, I had to raise my hand. I ate my food blindfolded with my hands from plastics plates.

5. A few days later, during Ramadan, they began interrogating and torturing me. The abuse of prisoners continued relentlessly. Most of the people who tortured the detainees were member of the communists and Mujaheedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK) who had infiltrated the regime. I did not shout when I was tortured and did not ask for mercy. The interrogators told me mockingly to ask for God’s help. I realized that they did not believe in Islam and God. I was blindfolded during interrogation and the interrogators usually sat behind me. When the interrogators wanted me to write something, they allowed me to remove the blindfold. The torture usually started after breakfast during Ramadan and continued throughout the night. Early in the morning, the torture stopped but around 9:00A.M it would resume again. After Ramadan, the torture continued all the time.

6. My interrogators wanted me to confess that I was part of those who intended to overthrow the government and to divulge the names of my coconspirators.

7. In early 1980, some military officers had planned to overthrow the Islamic Republic. The uprising was planned to start at 8 o’clock in the morning of July 9, 1980. Nevertheless, in March of 1980, the uprising was betrayed by the Communists who were cooperating with the clerical establishment. The regime arrested a number of military officers and executed some of them. This uprising later became known as the Nojeh Coup1.

1 The Nojeh Coup was an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the Islamic Republic Government on July 11, 1980. Many Iranian Air Force Officers were implicated in the planning and carrying out of the uprising.

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Tagged as:

Imprisonment, 1988 Prison Massacre, Due Process, Right to an Attorney, Illegal Search and Seizure