Civil status Single
Date of execution May 9, 2010
Location Evin Prison, Tehran, Iran
Mode of execution hanging
About This Case
News of the prosecution and execution of Mr. Mehdi Eslamian, son of Mohammad, along with four others, was published on the websites of ISNA (Iranian Students News Agency) and Noorportal on May 9, Doniya Eqtesad (May 11, 2010) HRANA (Human Rights Activists News Agency) on May 8, RHANA on April 27 and February 3, and Human Rights Activists for Democracy in Iran on February 3, 2010, quoting the Public Relations Office of the Public and Revolutionary Prosecutor’s Office in Tehran.
Mr. Eslamian’s arrest was attributed to the activities of his brother and a royalist organization Anjoman Padeshahi. According to the media, fourteen people were killed during an explosion at Seyedolshohada Hosseinieh in Shiraz on April 13, 2008. The defendant’s brother, Mohsen Eslamian, was one of the three main defendants in this incident and was executed in April of 2009. In a communiqué published following the execution of Mr. Eslamian, the Anjoman Padeshahi denied any link between Mehdi and the bombing. It also stressed that those who had carried out the bombing were able to escape and were never arrested.
Arrest and detention
Mr. Eslamian was arrested by agents of the Intelligence Ministry and transferred to the detention center of the Intelligence Ministry of Shiraz at Army Square on May 4, 2008. The defendant reported having been tortured physcially and psychologically for 14 days and then transferred to Section 209 of the Evin prison and kept in solitary confinement for six months. He was transferred to the Gohardasht prison in Karaj and detained in Wards 4, 6, and finally in Ward 1, also known as the “end of the line Ward.”
In a letter to the Secretary General of the United Nations on April 22, 2010, Mr. Mehdi Eslamian wrote: “It is two years since I’m imprisoned innocently. A year of this time, I’ve been tortured severely in solitary confinement in Section 209 of the Evin prison. I suffered all these hardships for my brother. ... I have been transferred to the Raja’ishahr prison for eight months because I defended the rights of prisoners. ... Now, I’m confronted with the gallows. Three of my cellmates including my younger brother, Mohsen Eslamian, 19, have been executed in Shiraz on May 11, 2009. The rest of my cellmates are suffering at the Evin prison without any evidence against them.” In this letter, Mr. Mehdi Eslamian described the harsh, inhumane, and unhealthy conditions in prison and described the ill treatment by prison gaurds with specific examples.
No information is available on the defendant’s trial. The investigation in this case was referred to the Public and Revolutionary Court Prosecutor’s Office in Tehran and the trial took place in Branch 15 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court on November 25, 2009.
The charges against Mr. Mehdi Eslamian were announced as “acting against national security by participation in bombing, attempting to overthrow the regime, membership in the Monarchy Association, and supporting anti-revolutionary groups.”
In an interview with the Weekly Panjereh on 9 May 2010, the Tehran Prosecutor elaborated on the charges brought against Mr. Eslamian whom he accused of having helped his brother in his effort to escape: “Once the main agents escape, he played an important role in giving financial and other assistance to his brother.” The Prosecutor stressed that the the defendant was informed about the bombing but provided no information regarding the latter’s role in any stage of the operation. (Donya Eqtesad, May 11, 2010)
Evidence of guilt
The report of this execution did not provide any specific information on the evidence presented against the defendant.
No information is available on the defendant's defence. In his letter to the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Mehdi Eslamian stated: “The judge condemned me to death without any reason, evidence, or confession.” Excerpts of a report on the defendant’s interrogation, carried out on May 26, 2008 was published after Mr. Eslamian’s execution with reference the Public and Revolutionary Prosecutor’s Office. In this interrogation, Mr. Eslamian admits to having helped his brother in his flight but deny having had any information about the bombing. According to the interrogation report, Mr. Eslamian had states that “Four days before the bombing, Mohsen brought some lab material and explosive material to the house. He put two big boxes in the car and left with a shovel and and axe. The night of the bombing when he came to my house, I noticed that he was pale and anxious and became suspicious. After a couple of hours he admitted to me that he and his friends were responsible for the hosseinieh bombing… We decided that I will go to Kish [Island] to see if I could find a boat for Mohsen.” The interrogation report also notes that the defendant had been asked by his brother to help hide some of the incriminating material, but he had not done so. (Noorportal)
The Court condemned Mr. Mehdi Eslamian to death and the ruling was confirmed by the Appeals Court of Tehran. He was hanged in the Evin prison on May 9, 2010. He was 30 years old.
Human rights violations in this case
The legal context
Read about the courts, the judges, and the procedure.
Special courts, known as the Islamic Revolutionary Tribunals, were set up after the February 1979 revolution. Their jurisdiction encompasses a wide array of offences ranging from association with or support of the former regime, promotion of foreign influence, and enmity with the revolution to possession, use or sales of narcotic drugs, murder, and profiteering. In the 1980s, a penal court, presided over by one judge, was created to handle some of the offenses punishable by death, such as theft or adultery. These tribunals’ decisions must be confirmed by a chamber of the Supreme Judicial Council.
Prosecutors and judges are not necessarily jurists. By 1981, the judiciary was purged of judges trained in law schools. They were replaced by seminary graduates and students, as well as by political appointees (an estimated 2000 by 1989). Since by law judges are only required to have a high school diploma and must be faithful to the Islamic Republic’s tenets, new recruits often have little formal training in the law and are chosen because of their political affiliation.
The procedures of these ecclesiastical tribunals fail to meet the minimum guarantees for fair trial as established by international human rights instruments and by sha’ria (the Islamic system of law). In addition to executions ordered by revolutionary tribunals, extra-judicial executions are carried out, targeting dissidents and opposition leaders. In some cases, both inside and outside of Iran, these executions have been traced back to Iranian officials. It is, however, not known if in these particular cases trials are held in absentia.
Sources (Among others): Amnesty International, Law and Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, February 1980; Lawyers' Committee for Human Rights, The Justice System of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 1992; E/CN.4/1989/26 p.14; UNCHR, Resolution 1984/54 , Abolition of Torture - Iran - 1; 28 November 1984; Report on the human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran by the Special Representative of the Commission, Mr. Reynaldo Galindo Pohl, 28 January 1987. Amnesty International, A SHOCKED WORLD WATCHES IN DISBELIEF, VIOLATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS, 1987-1990. Memoirs of Ayatollah Khalkhali, religious judge and former head of revolutionary tribunals (2001), and Ayatollah Montazeri, dismissed successor to Ayatollah Khomeini (2001). UNCH, E/CN.4/1994/50, Final report on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran prepared by the Special Representative of the Commission on Human Rights, Mr. Reynaldo Galindo Pohl, pursuant to Commission resolution 1993/62 of 10 March 1993 and Economic and Social Council decision 1993/273. E/CN.4/1994/50, 2 February 1994.
Based on the available information, the following human rights have been violated in this case:
The right to liberty and security of the person. The right not to be subjected to arbitrary arrest and detention.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Article 3; International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Article 9.1.
The right to freedom of opinion and expression, including the right to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas.
UDHR, Article 19; ICCPR, Article 19.1 and ICCPR, Article 19.2.
The right to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and join trade union for the protection of one’s interests.
UDHR, Article 20; ICCPR, Article 22.1.
The right to due process
Pre-trial detention rights
The right to know promptly and in detail the nature and cause of the charges against one.
UDHR, Article 9(2); ICCPR, Article 9.2 and Article 14.3.a
The right to counsel of one’s own choosing or legal aid and the right to meet with one’s attorney in confidence
ICCPR, Article 14.3.d;
Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, Article 1 , Article 2, Article 5, Article 6, and Article 8.
The right to adequate time and facilities for the preparation of the defense case.
ICCPR, Article 14.3.b; Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, Article 8%viol_bprl_8%..
The right not to be compelled to testify against oneself or to confess to guilt.
ICCPR, Article 14.3.g.
The right not to be subjected to torture and to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
UDHR, Article 5; ICCPR, Article 7; Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment and Punishment, Article 1, and Article 2.
The right to a fair and public trial without undue delay.
ICCPR, Article 9.3, Article 14.1, Article 14.3.c.
The right to examine, or have examined the witnesses against one and to obtain the attendance and examination of defense witnesses under the same conditions as witnesses for the prosecution.
ICCPR, Article 14.3.e.
The right to have the decision rendered in public.
ICCPR, Article 14.1.
The inherent right to life, of which no one shall be arbitrarily deprived.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Article 3; International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Article 6.1; Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty, Article 1.1, Article 1.2.
The right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment.
ICCPR, Article 7; Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment and Punishment, Article 1Article 2%viol_ctcidp_2%.