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Ali-Akbar Aboutorabi Fard
Seyyed-e Azadegan

Sir of released war captives

Supreme Leader in Azadegan (released war captives) Affairs Headquarters
Member of Parliament of Iran
Constituency Tehran (1992–1996)
Tehran (1996–2000)
Personal details
Born 1939
Died June 2, 2000
On way to Mashhad
Nationality Iranian
Political party Association for Defence of Revolution Values (1996–1999)[1]

Hojatoleslam Seyyed Ali Akbar Aboutorabi Fard (Persian: سید علی اکبر ابوترابی‎; 1939 – June 2, 2000) was an Iranian revolutionary. During the Iran–Iraq War, he organized the militia, was captured, and spent 10 years in Iraqi prisons. On his release he became the Supreme Leader's representative to Azadegan (released war captives) Affairs Headquarters and Tehran representative in the 4th and 5th terms of the Islamic Consultative Assembly.

Early life and education

Hojatoleslam Seyyed Ali Akbar Aboutorabi Fard was born in 1939 in Qom. In childhood he saw all Reza khan’s violence against religion and seminaries and clerics of Islam. He also saw women of family stay at home in Kashfe hijab time and found his ancestors in fight path against Pahlavi’s irreligion plans.[2]

He was the champion in swimming event Amjadiyeh in Tehran and was the top player in football and volleyball in high school.[3] In 1957 after finishing high school his uncle insisted that he would go to Germany and continue his education there. He thought continued studying in seminaries would leave him poor and needy. But after a little hesitation in Qom, in 1958 he went to Mashhad to learning regional science hence he could to escape his uncle's insistence. However he made a covenant with himself never get financial assistance, even from his father. In Mashhad he was living in paltry room in Navvab School and was engaged in teaching and learning.[4]

With beginning of Imam Khomeini’s movement, he found Qom as the center of struggle so he returned there in 1963. He resided in the Hojjatie School to be engaged in Khomeini's companions activities. in 1965 subsequent to Imam Khomeini's exile to Najaf Hojatoleslam Aboutorabi rushed to his presence to attend his Kharij Fiqh and Usul courses.[2]


In 1967, Aboutorabi came back to Iran and married at the age of 28. Then he turn back to Najaf with his wife.

Before the Islamic Revolution

Devotees of Islam

He attended the ceremony for the Devotees of Islam and was a spectator at their gatherings when he was a teenager.[2]

Uprising of 15 Khordad

Abutorabi also was beaten when police rushed to the Feyziyeh School in the June 5, 1963 (15 Khordad) demonstrations in Iran.[5]

Migration to Najaf

Following the suppression of 1963 uprising and Imam Khomeini's exile to Najaf, he moved to Najaf and attended classes of Imam Khomeini and other clerics.[6] he went to Basra secretly through Khorramshahr's port and then he went to Najaf.[7]


In 1970, Aboutorabi and his wife and children returned to Iran on the pretext of meeting the family, with Imam Khomeini's statement about Ayatollah Saeedi, who was killed in SAVAK's prison, embedded in his suitcase. Pahlavi regime's security forces, who were awaiting Imam Khomeini's reaction about Ayatollah Saeedi death, strongly controlled the Khosravi border crossing. Therefore, they arrested Aboutorabi when he was crossing the border, and took him to SAVAK station in Kermanshah when they found the statements. He was moved to Tehran one day later.

The cunning of Aboutorabi in dealing with SAVAK interrogators and normal response to questions, led to be not very long his prison term, though SAVAK officials were not convinced. Six months later, after much torture and harassment, Aboutorabi was released from prison.[2]

After release

He tried to go to Najaf after his release, but he did not succeed. So he continued his political struggle in Iran and organized armed struggle along with Seyyed Ali Andarzgo. They were repeatedly prosecuted by SAVAK, but they acted secretly so much that only part of these activities has been recorded.[2] Aboutorabi's control operation was codenamed “Saghar” meaning goblet. With the spread of Islamic Revolution, SAVAK had no opportunity to arrest him.

During Islamic Revolution, he was commander of group of people who seized Sa'dabad Palace and protected the facility in the palace until delivered to competent authorities.[8]

He in collaboration with his brother, Hojatoleslam Sayyed Mohammad Aboutorabi, played important role in seizing of Qazvin Army garrison and prevented from leaving weapons and war equipment. He had a close relationship with Mohammad-Ali Rajai, Mohammad Beheshti, and Ali Khamenei, and participated the welcoming committee on the arrival of Imam Khomeini in Iran.[5]

After Iranian Revolution

He formed and directed the Islamic Revolution Committee in Qazvin, his ancestral city, for organizing and to avoid anarchy. After a while following a popular vote he became a member of the City council and afterward undertook the presidency.[5]

The Imposed War

Soon after the Islamic Revolution, the Imposed War began. With start of the War, he accompanied Mostafa Chamran in Irregular Warfare Headquarters to organize the militia. He was going on difficult exploration mission himself. Liberation of “Dobb-e Hardan”, the adventurous and dangerous area, is one of his actions as a commander of a group of 100 fighter.[5]


Eventually, on December 17, 1980, when he was going back from a reconnaissance mission he was identified and captured by enemy while his distance from friendly forces was 7 km and had gone forward to 200 meters of the enemy.

Aboutorabi says about the early days of his captivity:"several time in jail they took me to the gallows and counted 1 and 2 for extracting confessions but each time they took me back. During the day, they took and brought me several time. Eventually at night they took me to Al-Amare school. An Iraqi general told those who were there: he has not right to sleep; we come back at midnight for extracting confessions, if he did not have enough information, we would nail his head. They came back at midnight and nailed my head, but it was not such a hit to die."[4]

When Abutorabi was tortured in Iraq, it was rumored in Iran that he has been martyred. Commemorations, lectures by prominent persons such as Mohammad-Ali Rajai, day-off and mourning in the city of Qazvin, participation of Hashem Rasuli and Yousef Saanei and Mohammad-Ali Nezamzade at his commemoration on behalf of Imam Khomeini to convey the message of condolence made clear the dimensions of character of Aboutorai. So Iraqi government recognized him as a prominent cleric.

Iraqi officials wanted to kill him, but an Iraqi general rejected since he was Sayyid and descendants of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Iraqi officials repeatedly moved him from camp to another, including Camp Anbar, Camps Mosul 1, 2, 3 and 4, Camp Romadie, Camp Tikrit. Iranian captives loved Aboutorabi very much because of his way in leadership of captives.[3] He was nicknamed “Seyyed-e Azadegan”, means sir of released war captives, because of his way to deal with captivity and encouraging the captives.[9] Even Iraqi soldiers were impressed by his personality. For example, an Iraqi Major told Aboutorabi: "if Khomeini is like you, I will follow him."[10]

After captivity

Finally, after ten years of captivity, he returned to his homeland to a popular welcome. He was appointed as the representative of the Supreme Leader in Azadegan (released war captives) Affairs Headquarters. In the fourth and fifth sessions of the Islamic Consultative Assembly, he was the second and third representative from Tehran.[3]


With his father Haj Seyyed Abbas Aboutorabi, he was killed in a car crash on June 2, 2000, when they were on their way to Mashhad for Imam Reza pilgrimage. Their bodies were buried in the Sahn Azadi (freedom courtyard) of the Imam Reza shrine on the anniversary of Imam Reza's martyrdom.[6]


  • Ali Meshkini
  • Hossein Vahid Khorasani
  • Ruhollah Khomeini
  • Alipanah Ishtihardi
  • Mojtaba Qazvini Khorasani


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