Maliheh Aghvami, a resistant prisoner who firmly defended her cause
August 4, 1988 – I am Maliheh Aghvami. I went to court at 3:00 p.m. and was sentenced to death. At 7:00 p.m., I am going for execution.
This is the story of a faithful person who would die with a smile when the time came.
This short story, written by a 26-year-old woman, means a thousand words and reveals the secrets of the dark massacre of 1988. She was taken to the death squad a few hours after she wrote these lines.
On the one hand, these sentences are a true testament to the heroic resistance of Iranian women who were massacred in 1988. On the other hand, the story reveals more about the crimes committed by Khomeini’s regime. The heroism, courage, and indomitability of the women fighting against the Khomeini regime will always remain a part of history.
Maliheh Aghvami was born in 1963 in Shahrud. She was 15 years old when she joined the Shahrud branch of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). She was one of the most active members.
She was arrested once in 1981 and exiled to Qezal Hessar Prison in Karaj with other resistance members and kept there until 1982. The same year, shortly after her release, she was arrested again and tortured by prison guards.
Maliheh Aghvami told her sister in a phone call, “They tell me that I am a war booty, and they do whatever they want to me.”
Maliheh Aghvami stood before the death commission on August 4, 1988. She was executed while defending the cause of freedom for the Iranian people.
From her note, it is clear that she was taken to be executed at 7:00 p.m. “On August 4, 1988, I, Maliheh Aghvami, went to court at 3:00 p.m. and received the death sentence. Now it is 7:00 p.m., and I am going to be executed…”
The Khomeini regime did not hand over her body to her family. However, in the most insulting manner possible, the regime offered her family a box of sweets as dowry.
Prison guards had given the family the belongings of a different prisoner from Evin.
Maybe no one witnessed how these prisoners stood their ground in those cold, dark cells, and no one saw them as they headed to the execution room. Still, history itself is proof of their bravery against Khomeini.
A cellmate remembers Maliheh Aghvami
Former political prisoner Mina Entezari wrote in her memoirs:
“It was around the summer of 1987, and I had been in Ward 325 of Evin Prison for some time. The prison had a small yard and limited facilities.
“Our beloved Forouzan Abdi, a member of the Iranian women’s national volleyball team, created a special sort of excitement in the ward. She would give us a warm-up and then an hour of volleyball practice. We would have an evening volleyball match too. Maliheh Aghvami and I were together in Ward 4, and she would always come to play with us.
“She was also very good at playing ping-pong. We usually played during the brief periods permitted as part of a reform program in 1985 in Qezal Hesar Prison.
“We always benefited from Maliheh’s poetry and jokes in prison. Maliheh Aghvami was from Shahrud and had been arrested for the first time in 1981 and exiled to Qezal Hesar prison in Karaj, along with several other resistant prisoners from Shahrud.
“I think the first time I saw Maliheh was in the summer of 1982 in General Ward 4. Still, I did not see her again because I was transferred to Ward 8 in Qezal Hesar as punishment. I heard that she was released in 1983, but surprisingly, when the punishment cells were temporarily shut down, and I returned to the ward in the summer of 1984, I saw Maliheh again.
“A little while later, when a more sincere and closer relationship was established between us, she told me she had been arrested a second time. Despite having good living conditions and being able to start a family, she decided to join the PMOI. She tried to leave the country through the border at Sistan and Baluchestan, but unfortunately, she was identified and arrested. They brought her back to Evin and Qezal Hesar prisons. From then on, Maliheh Aghvami, now serving a 15-year sentence, became my best friend, and we became inseparable. We were companions in the most challenging times in Qezal Hesar and Evin. We were together until the last day in prison.
“Maliheh was gentle; she had a poetic nature and a strong memory. She memorized many poems by Shamlou, Molavi, and Shafi’i Kadkani, and most of the time, her conversations started with poetry. She would always compete with Mehri (Farangis Mohammad Rahimi), who also had a unique talent for reciting poems.
“Most of the time, when we walked inside the ward or went to get some air, Maliheh would read poems to me in her sweet accent.
“Now that she is no longer with me, her heartwarming words keep ringing in my ears.”
In the middle of August 1988, Maliheh Aghvami was executed, along with thousands of other beautiful souls. Their hearts were filled with the love of life and the pursuit of freedom. They were executed upon a fatwa from Khomeini simply for defending their beliefs and honoring the name of “Mojahed.” What is left for Maliheh’s family was a short note that was secretly sent out from prison in the final hours before her execution and a tombstone in Behesht-e Zahra Cemetery. Maliheh Aghvami is the name of this resilient freedom fighter who refused to renounce her beliefs.
 Since many of the detainees in the 1980s were young girls under 18, the clerical regime sanctioned raping them on the night of the execution so they would not go to heaven as a virgin. The night before executing them, one of the revolutionary guards had a temporary marriage with the victim. The box of sweets was offered to the families of the victims of the executions as the executed woman’s dowry.