Action Memorandum 07

February 15, 1996


Disappearance and alleged execution of Molavi Ahmad Sayyad


The Foundation for Democracy is preoccupied by reports of thedisappearance of a Sunni Moslem cleric, Molavi Ahmad Sayyad, and hisalleged execution by the Iranian security forces.

The body of Molavi Ahmad Sayyad was discovered in a suburb ofBandar Abbas on February 2, 1996, five days after Sayyad wasreportedly arrested as he was arriving at Bandar Abbas airport fromthe United Arab Emirates. Eyewitnesses who discovered the body on theoutskirts of the city said the body was disintegrating and showedsigns of torture. He was aged 50 at the time of death.

A spokesman for the family declared on Jan. 28, the day Molavidisappeared, that he had been arrested by two members of theRevolutionary Guards Corps who called him by name as he was arrivingat the Bandar Abbas airport before taking him away to an undiscloseddestination. Iran's Information (Intelligence) Ministry denied anyresponsibility for his death. The authorities conducted an autopsy onhis body but refused to communicate the results to his family. Theyburied the body before it could be examined by the family or byindependent doctors.

Originally from the eastern Iranian province of Sistanva-Balouchistan, Sayyad had studied at religious schools in SaudiArabia for 16 years. In 1990, upon an earlier return trip to Iran, hewas arrested and imprisoned in Bandar Abbas for five years. Hecomplained of having been tortured repeatedly during that time.

Sayyad is the fourth Sunni Moslem cleric to have disappeared andreportedly been murdered in the region since 1994. According toreports the Foundation has received, sixty Sunni Moslem clerics whofounded the Islamic Society Association in Zahedan after the 1994killing were subsequently arrested and transferred to Evin prison inTehran.

As the Foundation has noted in a previous communiqué[AM 005: Execution of alleged drug traffickers and"bandits"], the Iranian authorities appear to be using ethnicdifferences, "banditry" and "smuggling" as the pretexts for a brutalcrackdown on potential opposition forces in the eastern provinces.

Similarly, the Foundation is concerned that the authorities areseeking to excite ethnic violence between Sunnis and Shiite Muslimsin the region.

The Foundation has written to the leader of the Islamic Republic,Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamene'i, President Ali AkbarHashemi-Rafsanjani, the Ministries of Justice, Interior, and ForeignAffairs, and has sent an inquiry to Iran's Permanent Mission to theUnited Nations in New York, to request clarification about thedisappearance of Molavi Ahmad Sayyad.

The Foundation for Democracy in Iran is a private,non-profit corporation registered in the State of Maryland.Contact: Kenneth R. Timmerman, Executive Director ( materials, including the FDI Newswire, are availablefree-of-charge via the Internet at