Maryam Pakbaz

A distinguished student and an intellectual

Maryam Pakbaz was born in 1963. She was an excellent student majoring in math. She was able to get her high school diploma with A+ average in math at the age of 14.

Maryam’s father was a communications technician and a veteran sympathizer of Iran’s late leader of the nationalist freedom movement, Dr. Mohammad Mosaddeq. So, he had an impact on the political thinking of his family.

Simultaneous with the social and political developments in 1978-79, she became acquainted with the opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) and other political forces. After the anti-monarchic 1979 Revolution in Iran, she started working full-time with the PMOI and gradually gave up her education and quit university.

She was well-known in her neighborhood as an exemplary young woman, active and lively. She and her friends always distributed the PMOI’s literature and publications, participated in the demonstrations against the ruling “Islamic Republic” Party and exposed the ruling regime. They defended political freedoms and civil rights for which they were frequently beaten up and bloodied by revolutionary guards and the club wielding agents of the so-called Islamic Republic Party.

In mid-1980, she was arrested and imprisoned at the notorious Evin Prison. Due to the persistent inquiries of her family and other influential figures in their neighborhood who recognized Maryam as a symbol of morality and knowledge, prison officials and the Prosecutor’s Office said they would release her if she promised to give up her political activities. Maryam, however, did not accept this condition and was subsequently condemned to 15 years in jail in a summary trial.

While in prison, Maryam was very firm and mature and her cellmates called her “Sara.” She was a resistant prisoner who spent a long time in the notorious Cellblock No. 8 of Ghezel-Hessar Prison in Karaj. Due to the difficult prison conditions and constant torture, Maryam who was only 20 at the time, suffered from various illnesses and diseases. Even before the massacre of political prisoners in summer 1988, she had been deprived of her family visits.

Finally, she was hanged with her friends in summer 1988 for rejecting the mullahs’ demand to reject her beliefs and the PMOI.

The last souvenir remaining from her is a piece of embroidery of an Azeri musician, Ashiqlar (musicians who are in love), which she had sewn with the threads of socks and towels.