I will testify

Political activist's letter to UN Special Rapporteur


I will testify
by Mohammad Maleki

Dr. Mohammad Maleki, the first president of Tehran University after the revolution, has written an open letter to Dr. Ahmad Shaheed, the Special Rapporteur appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council. Pointing out the tragic plight of human rights in Iran, Dr. Maleki has underscored the crimes committed by totalitarian rulers and has announced that he is ready and available to testify about the torture and execution of prisoners in Iran. Dr. Maleki has also declared that he stands by his words and is prepared to face the consequences of his testimony.

Dr. Mohammad Maleki has spent a long time behind bars in various Iranian prisons and was once sentenced to death. During his last incarceration, Dr. Maleki spent 191 days locked up in prison while being harmed and harassed throughout that time until he was temporarily released from Evin Prison because of his deteriorating health. Although Dr. Maleki received a seven year suspended prison term in March 2000, he remains in a legal state of limbo thus far.

The content of Dr. Maleki’s letter in its entirety as released by Daneshjoo News is as follows:

In the Name of Justice

Your Excellency, Dr. Ahmad Shaheed

With warm greetings, I wish you success in the grand, humanitarian endeavor you have undertaken.

I am Dr. Mohammad Maleki, a retired professor and the first president of Tehran University appointed after the revolution. I am writing this letter in order to share with you a small portion of human rights violations in my country as witnessed by me. I provide this information to you with the hopes of taking a step towards rescuing my people from the tyranny, corruption and cruelty of the rules oppressing this nation.

My brother, Mr. Shaheed, I am one the tens of thousands of individuals whose human rights have been violated multiple times by authoritarian and oppressive rulers reigning the Islamic Republic of Iran for thirty two years. In Iran’s prisons, I have witnessed numerous crimes but can draw your attention to only a small number of them in this letter.

In 1979, after the revolution succeeded and following my appointment to the presidency of Tehran University, in order to achieve one of the revolutionary goals, I strived to establish a democratically elected council consisting of professors, students and employees who would run all university affairs. This undertaking wasn’t received favorably by a government monopolizing all aspects of life within the country. At last, a coup d’état dubbed as “the Cultural Revolution” was orchestrated to attack universities, kill a number of students, injure scores of them and finally arrest the rest. Then, universities were closed down, and student dissidents detained, tortured severely and eventually executed.

The Management Council of Tehran University and the High University Council responsible for the day to day operations of the university opposed “the Cultural Revolution” and raised their voices against it. Nonetheless, instead of addressing these concerns, the government detained a number of dissidents including me and under the pretence of opposing the Supreme Leader’s (Ayatollah Khomeini) decree, imprisoned us.

I was unlawfully tried in a court without legal representation and was sentenced to death at first. This verdict was then modified to ten years in prison. During this time, I have endured the most brutal treatments such as being beaten on the soles of my feet and elsewhere with an electric cable and being hung from the ceiling. My head was repeatedly banged against the wall, and I was punched, kicked and forced to tolerate a number of other forms of torture. As a result, I lost vision in my left eye and suffered from a broken bone in my right wrist. The markings of some of those tortures still remain, and my body bears the scars to this day.

After five years, I was supposedly released from prison, but for months, I had to report to the judiciary every few days to be interrogated and tormented in other forms.

Together with tens of other activists, I was arrested again in March 2000 under the pretext of plotting to overthrow the government and was locked up in an isolation cell measured 1x2 meters in one of the most gruesome and dreadful prisons (Eshratabad) operated by IRGC. Legal experts and psychiatrists refer to the incarceration of prisoners under extreme sensory deprivation and isolation as “white torture.” After tolerating approximately seven months of “white torture,” I was released in order to stand trial. Subsequently, I was illegally tried again behind closed doors and received seven years of suspended prison sentence.

On August 22, 2009, intelligence agents raided my house in the early hours of the day. After searching the premises and seizing many books, they took me out of my sickbed and directly transferred me to Evin Prison, Ward 209, where I spent three months in solitary confinement. At the time of my arrest, I suffered from prostate cancer, irregular heartbeats and abnormal blood pressure. I was also receiving chemotherapy and struggled with regular fainting spells and blackouts.

During interrogations, I was insulted and humiliated in so many different ways, and only because of my writings, I was charged with the crime of Moharebeh [Waging War Against God] and insulting the supreme leaders of Iran, Mr. Khomeini and Mr. Khamenei. Eventually, after 191 days of incarceration and due to rapidly deteriorating health, I was granted a sick leave from prison in order to continue my chemotherapy and undergo a surgery to implant a pacemaker in my heart.

Recently, I have been summoned to court to stand trial behind closed doors once more against the laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran. For now, I spend very difficult and agonizing days, waiting to find out the court’s ruling. Although I am a 78 year old, sick elderly man, I am ready to face any verdict issued against me because my goal has always been and will remain to be fighting against tyranny, oppression and injustice imposed by those holding power in Iran.

I lean on God and the masses and fear no punishment. I wish to meet with you in order to recount the reality of what has happened in Iran during the last three decades and what injustice has been inflicted upon this nation.

Your Excellency, Dr. Shaheed, I will testify that during 1980s, how young prisoners and students including men and women, after being brutally tortured, were taken in groups of tens or hundreds every night to face the gallows. And down that road they went to face their destiny while chanting songs. I am prepared to cite the facts as witnessed by me in the prisons of the Islamic regime and stand by my words to pay the price for such testimony.

At the end, as an Iranian, I wish you every success in all your undertakings. Rest assured that God is with you. With warmest regards and hoping to meet you,

Dr. Mohammad Maleki
Political Prisoner and Tehran University Retired Professor

September 2011

Translated by Laleh Gillani



Excellent point. I forgot.

by Siavash300 on

" will he testify ....of light (under the progressive pahlavi administration) to the days of darkness (he helped bring about with foreign help from the usa and uk in the coup of 1979)?  Will he testify to spreading false propaganda to purposely deceive Iranians as to the nature of the pahlavi monarchy?" Amirp....

Thanks for reminder


The people I can respect, do not fall into his category

by amirparvizforsecularmonarchy on

They may have worked for the revolution and been decieved themselves, but the second khomeini broke his promises, took power and kept the hostages, they threw in the towel, gave up their positions and chose to not benefit from the criminal system that they brought to power.  They revealed their true colors by going into exile using politcal asylum. In principle I couldn't argue with them even though they had a hand in opposing the previous administration, they showed who they really were once things changed.


Let me clarify no person no matter their crime deserves the

by amirparvizforsecularmonarchy on

treatment he is getting.  But just because of the treatment he is getting, this alone does not qualfy him as a hero per se, how he responds to the lessons of his life however if they are a positive contribution would.  So far he seems to have been a cause of so much more harm than good in siding against defending our freedom before 1979.

As for the comment no blood on his hands, he does certainly bear responsibilty for what he helped create.  If Iran was free today he certainly would be facing a lawsuit from the people of iran.  Just like the people who actively helped bring hitler to power in germany, yet comitted none of the crimes of the reich later on.



Will he testify to misleading the people of Iran, from the days

by amirparvizforsecularmonarchy on

of light (under the progressive pahlavi administration) to the days of darkness (he helped bring about with foreign help from the usa and uk in the coup of 1979)?  Will he testify to spreading false propaganda to purposely deceive Iranians as to the nature of the pahlavi monarchy? 

Will he ask for forgiveness for the thousands upon thousands of deaths and injustices iranians suffered by the tyranny his activities helped create?  Will he ask for forgiveness from the millions of iranians living in exile as a result of his deeds?  Will he ask for forgiveness for acting like a gutless coward by iranian standards in betraying iranian freedom to allow foreign oil companies to steal our wealth for pennies on the dolllar?  If he will, then he is a human being worthy of respect for being able to express remorse. 



Great man. We need more people like him

by Siavash300 on

Iran history will judge these kind of people as a good person. Wish we had more of Dr. Malekin in our country.


as I have always believed

by shushtari on

we SHOULD ALL come together and rid our country of the vile mullahs and their band of thieves.....

I respect dr maleki for having the courage to come out and stand up against these monsters....to imagine the horrible life that our compatriots have suffered under these 'rulers' is heartbreaking.

I pray that their day of freedom, and that of our meehan, is near




All Iranians should come together and support ...

by aynak on

All Iranians should come together and support Dr.Maleki and freedom for all political prisoners unconditionally and  unequivocally.

This is no less than the plight of that Tunasin that started the movement that brought Ben-Ali down.



Nothing against him, but

by Cost-of-Progress on

this person and many like him are responsible for why Iran is where she is today: "Iran's religious-nationalists" - If there ever was an oxymoron, this is it!

It is hard to believe (as in almost impossible)  that those who are religious put country, i.e., Iran first. Now, after 32 shameful years, everybody beats the drum of secularism......






The Debt They Carry

by LalehGillani on

Dr. Maleki's generation carries a debt to all other current or future generations of Iran: Islamic Republic of Iran and religious tyranny are this generation's handy work although they might not have participated in its crimes or have themselves become the victims of Islamic oppression...

Esfand Aashena

Sounds like a great man. A generation is passing away.

by Esfand Aashena on

There are many in their 70s and 80s who are passing away in front of our eyes and those of us in our 30s, 40s and 50s are supposed to be taking their place and carrying the torch. 

Everything is sacred


No Blood on His Hands

by LalehGillani on

Dr. Maleki is a material witness to many crimes and more importantly, he didn't participated in the crimes of the Islamic Republic of Iran for over 3 decades before joining the ranks of "dissidents" such as Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi.


Mr Maleki one of the most respected opposition figures.

by Roozbeh_Gilani on

His replacement from Tehran University Presidency by likes of soroush whose so called "Cultural Revolution" (The term ironically "borrowed" straight from Mao's 1960's political move), was meant to take back any short term gains from revolution and start the process of "islamisation" of Iran (read anti revolutionary reaction) which took Iran to the sad state it is today.

I salute this frail old fighter for causes of secularism and democracy for his sheer courage and guts.

Thanks to my fellow Gilani for sharing this.

"Personal business must yield to collective interest."

Tiger Lily

Raoul of all universes hitherto undiscovered

by Tiger Lily on

That's rather a chunky, chewy stew of too many c(r)ooks! 

Not going to swallow that one.... The human rights violations stand.


P.S. Just googled what I had forgotten. It's a play very well worth reading to understand quite a few of the dynamics, if his Grand Ayatollah is indeed in need of more wisdom:


Die Revolution ist wie Saturn, sie frißt ihre eignen Kinder. -- Georg Büchner,Dantons Tod 


But that comes from something else, and I now can't remember that one.Ewww. 


Tiger Lily

by Raoul1955 on

No, but as you have quoted he is enjoying the fruits of his own labor.  I assume he is one of those 'intellect-chew-alls' that are searching for an 'ideal' society where events are perfectly 'shaped' to their 'desires' and needs.
Just my islamic thought process.  :-)
Grand Ayatollah Raoul

Tiger Lily

Raoul1955 of all the universe and almighties

by Tiger Lily on

'Can't remember the exact quote, but it's something like "revolutions eat their own children". But, should this person's background really matter if a clear violation of human rights is the fundamental matter? 


A Veteran Fighter

by LalehGillani on

Dr. Maleki began his political activities in 1951 when he was in high school. He was at first a member of Jebhe Melli Iran and opposed Shah’s regime. He is considered to be a veteran fighter with ties to Iran’s religious-nationalists.



by Raoul1955 on

Do you know if this guy ever opposed the US-backed secular regime of the Pahlavi dynasty prior to the 1979 muslim take over?