23 August 1998 (aged 62–63)|
|Cause of death||Assassination|
|Political party||Islamic Coalition Party|
Early life and education
Lajevardi was born in Tehran on 1935. He studied theological sciences before working as a bazaar draper.
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 convicted of 18 years in prison, for being a member of the militant group People's Mujahedin of Iran. He was among those who visited Ayatollah Khomeini in Paris when the latter was in exile.
In 1979, with the onset of the Iranian Revolution, Lajevardi was appointed the chief prosecutor of Tehran. Lajevardi was given the added 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, but continued to live at Evin with his family to avoid assassination.
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. 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.
However to his critics he was known as "the butcher of Evin Prison". He was said to have been personally responsible for the torture and execution of thousands of Iranian political prisoners who opposed the ruling theocratic government of Iran. Prisoner interview/confessions were reportedly induced by systematic torture, and 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.
Prison conditions under Lajevardi were also said to be harsher than those during the Shah's reign. One inmate, writing anonymously reckoned four months under Lajevardi took the toll of four years under SAVAK.
On 23 August 1998, the ten-year anniversary of the mass executions Ladjevardi was assassinated by supporters of the People's Mujahedin of Iran. Using an uzi submachine gun the activists struck Lajevardi and his bodyguard (who was also killed) at Lajevardi's tailor-shop in Tehran Bazaar.
Following his assassination, the Mojahedin Command Headquarters inside Iran issued a statement which said
"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
was directly responsible for the execution of tens of thousands of political prisoners ... raped or 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.
- Martyrdom of Sayyed Asadulallah Lajvardi Archived 11 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
- "نگاهی دیگر: فراز و فرود اسدالله لاجوردی، 'نماد خشونت دولتی' در اوایل دهه شصت". BBC. 2011. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
- Moin, Baqer (1999). Khomeini: Life of the Ayatollah. I.B.Tauris. p. 194. ISBN 978-1-85043-128-2. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
- Abrahamian, Ervand, Tortured Confessions by Ervand Abrahamian, (University of California Press, 1999), p. 136
- Abrahamian, Ervand, Tortured Confessions, (1999), p. 138
- Ettela'at, 13 February 1984
- A. Ladjevardi, Iran Times, 11 February 1982. Quoted in Abrahamian, Ervand, Tortured Confessions (1999) p. 5
- Abrahamian, Ervand, Tortured Confessions (1999) pp. 5, 139
- 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
- [source: Anonymous "Prison and Imprisonment", Mojahed, pp. 174–256 (20 October 1983 – 8 August 1985)] quoted in Abrahamian, Ervand, Tortured Confessions, (University of California Press, 1999), p. 167
- "Iran names new cabinet; US hopeful". Pittsburgh Post Gazette. AP. 1 September 1980. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
- Ebadi, Iran Awakening, (Random House New York, 2006), p. 91
- "PMOI statement 23 August 1998". Archived from the original on 5 March 2006. Retrieved 2008-02-27.