Asadollah Lajevardi

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Asadollah Lajevardi
Died23 August 1998 (aged 62–63)
Cause of deathAssassination
Political partyIslamic Coalition Party[1]

Sayyed Assadollah Ladjevardi (Persian: اسدالله لاجوردی‎; 1935 – 23 August 1998) was an Iranian conservative politician, prosecutor and warden.[1] He was assassinated by the MEK on 23 August 1998.

Early life and education[edit]

Lajevardi was born in Tehran in 1935. He studied theological sciences[2] before working as a bazaar draper.[3]

Before the Islamic Revolution of Iran[edit]

He was one of the co-founders of Islamic Coalition Hey'ats, later Islamic Coalition Party.[3]


Lajevardi was a follower of Ayatollah Kashani and Fadayian Islam. He was arrested and convicted on three occasions for militant activities. In 1964, he served 18 months for taking part in the assassination of the late Iranian prime minister Mansour. Later in 1970, he served three years in Evin prison for attempting to blow up the offices of El Al (the Israeli airline) in Tehran. Finally, he was once again arrested and sentenced to 18 years in prison, for being a member of the opposition militant group People's Mujahedin of Iran.[4] He was among those who visited Ayatollah Khomeini in Paris when the latter was in exile.[5]


In 1979, with the onset of the Iranian Revolution, Lajevardi was appointed as the chief prosecutor of Tehran on Mohammad Beheshti's recommendation. Lajevardi was given the extra post of warden in June 1981 after the first post-revolutionary warden of Evin, Mohammad Kachouyi, was assassinated. According to Ervand Abrahamian, Lajevardi "liked to be addressed as Hajj Aqa, and boasted he was so proud of Evin that he had brought his family to live there." He was temporarily removed from his post in 1984,[citation needed] but continued to live at Evin with his family to avoid assassination.[6]

Ladjevardi maintained that the Islamic Republic had converted prisons into 'rehabilitation centers' and 'ideological schools', where inmates studied Islam, learned the errors of their ways, and did penance before returning to society.[7][8] As the chief warden at Evin, the main political prison in Tehran, Ladjevardi "boasted that more than 95 percent of his 'guests' eventually oblige him with his sought-after videotaped 'interview'"—i.e., a confession of their political errors and praise of the Islamic Republic and the prison staff.[9]

However to his critics, he was known as "the butcher of Evin Prison" with dreadful, religiously fanatic, and thuggish narcissist mannerisms.[10] The number of executions under his supervision is estimated to be roughly around 2500 according to one account. In her memoir, Iran Awakening, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi states that an estimated 4000-5000 members and supporters of the People's Mujahedin of Iran (MKO) were executed during a three-month period in 1988 immediately following the failed "Mersad" rebellion, which was launched upon the end of the Iran–Iraq War by MKO fighters based in Iraq.[11] According to Ali Akbar Nategh-Nouri, Lajevardi's close relations with some of the prisoned members of Furqan group made them "repent".[12] Lajevardi's son, Sayyid Ehsan, described his father as being both decisive and kind.[13]

Later career[edit]

Lajevardi was appointed minister of commerce to the cabinet of then prime minister Mohammad Ali Rajai on 1 September 1980.[14]


On 23 August 1998, on the tenth anniversary of the mass executions, Ladjevardi was assassinated by members of the People's Mujahedin of Iran. Using an Uzi submachine gun the activists opened fire on Lajevardi and his bodyguard (who was also killed) at Lajevardi's tailor-shop in Tehran Bazaar.[15]

Following his assassination, the Mojahedin Command Headquarters inside Iran issued a statement that reads

"Assadollah Lajevardi, the infamous 'Butcher of Evin,' who was accompanied by a special group of bodyguards made up of Revolutionary Guards and armed agents of the notorious secret police, the Ministry of Intelligence, was killed at midday today in an operation carried out by Mojahedin's Resistance units in Tehran."

The statement, claimed Lajevardi

directly responsible for the execution of tens of thousands of political prisoners ... raped and executed hundreds of women ... made it a common practice in prisons to torture prisoners in front of their parents, husbands or wives and children ... devised a plan to set up forced labor camps for political prisoners on a nationwide scale ...

and though retired was continuing "his crimes under various covers" including as a tailor in Tehran's Bazaar.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Hürriyet Daily News". Hürriyet Daily News.
  2. ^ Martyrdom of Sayyed Asadulallah Lajvardi Archived 11 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b Mohammad Pour, Manouchehr. "A description of the bloody Shahrivar: Memoir of Martyr Sayyid Asadollah Lajevardi". Reformation and Pedagogy (in Persian) (30): 53–56. Retrieved 23 August 2018.
  4. ^ "نگاهی دیگر: فراز و فرود اسدالله لاجوردی، 'نماد خشونت دولتی' در اوایل دهه شصت". BBC. 2011. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
  5. ^ Moin, Baqer (1999). Khomeini: Life of the Ayatollah. I.B.Tauris. p. 194. ISBN 978-1-85043-128-2. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
  6. ^ Abrahamian, Ervand, Tortured Confessions by Ervand Abrahamian, (University of California Press, 1999), p. 136
  7. ^ Abrahamian, Ervand, Tortured Confessions, (1999), p. 138
  8. ^ Ettela'at, 13 February 1984
  9. ^ A. Ladjevardi, Iran Times, 11 February 1982. Quoted in Abrahamian, Ervand, Tortured Confessions (1999) p. 5
  10. ^ Abrahamian, Ervand, Tortured Confessions (1999) pp. 5, 139
  11. ^ Ebadi, Shirin, Iran Awakening: One Woman's Journey to Reclaim Her Life and Country , by Shirin Ebadi with Azadeh Moaveni, (Random House Trade Paperback Edition, 2007), p. 90
  12. ^ "Began disclosures against Mujahedins from the prison". The Institute for Iranian Contemporary Historical Studies. Retrieved 22 August 2018.
  13. ^ "He used to ignore worldly positions". The Institute for Iranian Contemporary Historical Studies. Retrieved 23 August 2018.
  14. ^ "Iran names new cabinet; US hopeful". Pittsburgh Post Gazette. AP. 1 September 1980. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
  15. ^ Ebadi, Iran Awakening, (Random House New York, 2006), p. 91
  16. ^ "PMOI statement 23 August 1998". Archived from the original on 5 March 2006. Retrieved 2008-02-27.

External links[edit]