Sadeq Givi aka Sadegh Khalkhali known as the “Hanging Judge” seen here with his children. photo courtesy from Italian Magazine Grand Hotel (circa 1980’s)
Ayatollah Sadeq Givi aka Sadegh Khalkhali(صادق خلخالی) (Persian ) (July 27, 1926 – November 26, 2003) was a hardline Twelver Shi’a cleric of the Islamic Republic of Iran who is said to have “brought to his job as Chief Justice of the revolutionary courts a relish for summary execution” that earned him a reputation as Iran’s “hanging judge”. A farmer’s son born in Givi, Azerbaijan SSR (now in Azerbaijan Republic) in appearance Khalkhali was “a small, rotund man with a pointed beard, kindly smile, and a high-pitched giggle.”He was married with a son ( so not sure who is the girl in the photo or if he also had a daughter ?).
Khalkhali is known to have been one of Khomeini’s circle of disciples as far back as 1955 and is reported to have reconstructed the former secret society of Islamic assassins known as the Fadayan-e Islam after its suppression but was not a well-known figure to the public prior to the Islamic Revolution.
Khalkhali is famous for ordering the executions of Amir Abbas Hoveida,[the Shah’s long time prime minister, and Nematollah Nassiri, a former head of SAVAK. According to one report, after sentencing Hoveida to death pleas for clemency poured in from all over the world and it was said that Khalkhali was told by telephone to stay the execution. Khalkhali replied that he would go and see what was happening. He then went to Hoveida and either shot him himself or instructed a minion to do the deed. “I’m sorry,” he told the person at the other end of the telephone, “the sentence has already been carried out.” Another version of the story has Khalkhali saying that while presiding over Hoveida’s execution he made sure communication links between Evin and the outside world were severed, “to prevent any last-minute intercession on his behalf by Mehdi Bazargan, the provisional prime minister.
His style of “justice” resulted in the nickname “Kholkholi” (crazy).
By trying Hoveida, Khalkhali effectively undermined the position of the provisional prime minister of the Islamic Revolution, the moderate Mehdi Bazargan, who disapproved of the Islamic Revolutionary Court and sought to establish the Revolution’s reputation for justice and moderation.
In an interview, Khalkhali personally confirmed ordering more than 100 executions, although many sources believe that by the time of his death he had sent 8,000 men and women to their deaths. In some cases he was the executioner, where he executed his victims using machine guns. In an interview with the French newspaper Le Figaro he is quoted as saying, “If my victims were to come back on earth, I would execute them again, without exceptions.”
Khalkhali was elected as representative for Qom in Islamic Consultative Assembly (Iranian parliament) for two terms, serving for “more than a decade.” In 1992, however, he was one of 39 incumbents from the Third Majles and 1000 or so candidates rejected that winter and spring by the Council of Guardians, which vets candidates. The reason given was a failure to show a `practical commitment to Islam and to the Islamic government,` but it was thought by some to be a purge of radical critics of the conservatives in power. Controversially, he was one of the reformists and supporters of president Khatami’s movement.
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