Omid, a memorial in defense of human rights in Iran
One Person’s Story

Kamal (Shwaneh) Asfarm (Qaderi)

About

Age: 26
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Islam (Sunni)
Civil Status: Single

Case

Date of Execution: July 9, 2005
Location: Mahabad, Azarbaijan-e Gharbi Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Death in custody
Charges: Sexual Offense; Murder; Sympathizing with anti-regime guerilla groups; Sedition and/ or threat to public security; Actively opposing the Islamic Republic

Human rights violations in this case

The Legal Context

The Courts

 

Islamic Revolutionary Courts, 11 February 1979-1994

 

In the immediate aftermath of the 11 February 1979 Revolution, an ad hoc tribunal, initially referred to as the Extraordinary Revolutionary Tribunal, was set up to try the officials of the previous regime, for which no specific procedures were devised. In a decree dated 24 February 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini, the revolutionary religious leader, appointed a cleric as Shari’a Judge and instructed him “to issue Shari’a-based rulings,” thereby establishing the foundation of a system of special courts.

 

Initially, the revolutionary courts’ jurisdiction was determined by the religious judge’s interpretation of the Shari’a (Islamic law based on the teachings of the Qur’an, the traditions of the Prophet, the 12 imams, and the teachings of Shi’a scholars. On 17 June 1979, the Revolutionary Courts and the Prosecutor’s Office Rules of Procedure, which was only selectively observed, established the latter’s jurisdiction and make-up.

 

The Courts’ jurisdiction encompassed a wide array of offenses including moharebeh (“waging war with God”), efsad e fel arz (“spreading corruption on Earth”), crimes against national and international security, economic crimes, murder, profiteering, prostitution, rape, and narcotic drugs-related crimes. The law required that two of the three principal members of the Revolutionary Courts be Shari’a judges.

 

 

Islamic Revolutionary Courts, 1994-2002

 

With the adoption of the Law for the Establishment of General and Revolutionary Courts of 14 June 1994, and the Code of Criminal Procedure for General and Revolutionary Courts of 19 September 1999, a uniform code of procedure was applied to both revolutionary and general courts. The jurisdiction of the Revolutionary Courts was limited to 6 categories of offenses:

1. Crimes against national and international security,“moharebeh” (enmity with god) and “efsad e fel arz” (corruption on earth;)

2. defaming Ayatollah Khomeini and the Supreme Leader;

3. plotting against the Islamic Republic of Iran, armed action, terrorism, and sabotage;

4. espionage;

5. smuggling and drug-related crimes; 6. claims under Principle 49 (economic crimes) of the Constitution.

 6. Furthermore, pursuant to the Law on the Manner of Punishing Individuals Engaged in Unauthorized Audio and Visual Activities, Article 11, the revolutionary courts have jurisdiction over crimes that fall within the purview of said Law, including production and distribution of obscene materials and misuse and abuse thereof.

These courts continued, however, to try cases falling outside their jurisdiction, such as theft and sexual offenses. Further, the vagueness of laws regarding national security allowed the revolutionary courts to try political and media crimes whenever they wished to do so.

 

The new law eliminated the Prosecutor’s Office and gave the judges inthe Revolutionary Courts the power to perform the duties of the prosecutor, as well as their own, in any case brought before them.

 

Islamic Revolutionary Courts, 2002-Present

 

The Amended Law for the Establishment of General and Revolutionary Courts of 2002 reinstated the Prosecutor’s Office in both revolutionary and general courts. In cases involving political and media crimes, revolutionary courts’ jurisdiction overlaps with that of Province Criminal Courts.

 

With the passage of the new Rules of Criminal Procedure in 2014, and its coming into force in June 2015, the jurisdiction of the revolutionary courts remains unchanged, with slight modifications in procedural aspects of adjudication. For instance, the new law provides that for crimes subject to the death penalty, life imprisonment, amputation, third degree, or higher, the revolutionary court shall convene with three judges, whereas, prior to the passage of this law, adjudication of all crimes within the jurisdiction of revolutionary courts took place with only a single judge.

The Appellate System of Revolutionary Courts, 1979-Present

 

From their inception until 1994, the rulings of the Revolutionary Courts were not subject to appeal. In the early 1980s a court entitled the Supreme Court of Qom was established in the city of Qom and which reviewed cases of execution and confiscation of properties, thereby forming a first tier form of appeal. The exact date of the creation of the court is not clear, but, based on available information, the court became operational in the early 1980s, even though Ayatollah Khomeini's official order for its creation is dated 1985. The court’s procedure was not systematic and did not meet the international standards for a court of appeals; there was no official record of its jurisdiction. The Supreme Court of Qom was dissolved in 1989.

 

The Law of 14 June 1994 subjected the Courts’ decisions to appeal. An appellate court was established at each provincial capital, called the Province Court of Appeals, composed of a three-judge panel, to review decisions made by the Revolutionary Courts. The Supreme Court was designated as the appellate authority for particular decisions, including those involving capital punishment.

 

Narcotic drugs-related crimes constitute a significant exception to the appeals process. Governed by the Anti-Narcotic Drugs Law of 1988, as Amended on 8 November 1997 and 31 July 3 2010, these crimes are within the jurisdiction of, and are adjudicated on a regular basis by, Revolutionary Courts whose decisions are final. After being handed down by the judge, death sentences are sent to the Prosecutor General or the Head of the Supreme Court as a matter of administrative approval.

 

With the passage of the new Rules of Criminal Procedure in 2014 (and its coming into force in June 2015), however, drug related crimes became subject to appeal as well.

General Courts, 1979-1982

 

In cases not falling under the jurisdiction of the Revolutionary Courts, the system devised under the previous regime continued to function in parallel with new systems devised by laws passed by the Judicial Council, one of which, entitled The Legal Bill for the Establishment of General Courts of 11 September 1979, radically changed the entire structure and categorization of the courts. It divided the courts in three branches: Criminal, Civil, and Peace (a sort of arbitration court dealing with minor financial and other disputes). Specialized courts such as family courts were eliminated.

 

General Courts, 1982-1994

 

The Law of the Amendments to the Rules of Criminal Procedure of 1982 established a new criminal courts system, Criminal Courts I and II. Criminal Court I, established only in provincial capitals, had jurisdiction over more serious offenses, including those punishable by death, and Criminal Court II heard less serious crimes.

 

General Courts, 1994-2002

 

The Law for the Establishment of General and Revolutionary Courts of 14 June 1994 established umbrella courts called General Courts, which replaced and dissolved pre-existing civil and criminal courts. The law dissolved the Prosecutor’s offices and tasked a single person with the roles of judge, prosecutor, and investigator.

 

General Courts, 2002-2015

 

In 2002, the 1994 Law was amended, reviving the role of the Prosecutor’s Office in General Courts. The prosecution offices were re-established in a gradual process over several years. The amended law also re-established specialized branches within general courts dealing separately with criminal and civil matters. In addition, this law allocated a number of branches of the Province Court of Appeals to have original jurisdiction over a number of cases including the most serious offenses, as well as political and media crimes. In these cases, the branches are called the Province Criminal Court.

 

General Courts, 2015 to Today

 

With the passage of the new Rules of Criminal Procedure in 2014 and its coming into force in June 2015, general courts underwent certain changes as well. Criminal courts were divided into Criminal Court One, Criminal Court Two, Military Court, Juvenile Court, and Revolutionary Court. Criminal Court One has jurisdiction over serious crimes such as those subject to the death penalty, life imprisonment, amputation, third degree, and higher, as well as political and media crimes. Criminal Court Two has jurisdiction over other crimes. Another change consists of the establishment of juvenile courts, which adjudicates crimes committed by individuals less than 18 years of age. In cases where the individuals less than 18 commit serious crimes such as those subject to the death penalty, however, Criminal Court One will have jurisdiction, observing rules of juvenile criminal procedure.

 

The Appellate System of General Courts, 1979-Present

 

The Legal Bill for the Establishment of General Courts of 11 September 1979, abolished appeal of most criminal courts’ decisions. The law of 1982 restricted the appeal possibility even further. According to the Islamic Republic authorities’ interpretation of Islamic Law, a qualified jurist’s decisions were not subject to appeal except under special circumstances, such as when the judge realized his own mistake, or another judge advised him so, or when he did not have jurisdiction over the case. Even in such situations, the case would not go to a higher court but would be subject to review by the same judge or another judge at his level. The judges were even urged to call their verdicts “opinions,” so that the possible change in the verdict would not be “haram” (“sinful,” the highest level of prohibition in Islam, disobedience of which would result in a sin).

 

In October 1988, the Majles (Iranian parliament) passed a law regarding review of court judgments. This law provided for an appeal if the conviction was claimed to be based on invalid documentation or false testimony. The defendant could also base an appeal on a point of law or a procedural violation.

 

The appellate system was expanded in other laws in the late 1980s and in 1993. The Law for the Establishment of Criminal Courts I and II of 11 July 1989 created the Branches of the Supreme Court. Crimes of less importance, tried in Criminal Court II, were subject to review by Criminal Court I.

 

For the most important crimes involving death punishment, which were under the jurisdiction of Criminal Court I, the law allowed limited appeal to the Branches of the Supreme Court. Defendants had the right to petition the Supreme Court for appeal in certain cases involving false testimony or procedural violations, and if granted, the case would be remanded to either another criminal court or the original one.

 

Finally, the Law for the Establishment of General and Revolutionary Courts of 1994, as amended in 2002, established an appellate court at each provincial capital, called Province Court of Appeals, composed of a three-judge panel, to review decisions made by both general and revolutionary courts. The Supreme Court was designated as the appellate authority for particular decisions, including those carrying the death penalty, as well as decisions made by the Province Criminal Court.

 

The amended law of 2002, continued the appellate procedure to the Branches of the Supreme Court established by the afore-mentioned law of 11 July 1989

 

The Supreme Court continues to be the competent authority to rule on new trials, which have been provided for in limited circumstances.

With the passage of the new Rules of Criminal Procedure in 2014 and its coming into force in June 2015, the Court of Appeals shall be the competent authority to hear appeals from Criminal Court Two decisions, and the Supreme Court shall hear appeals from Criminal Court One decisions.

Special Courts for the Clergy

 

These courts are rooted in a 1979 decree, issued by Ayatollah Khomeini, which established a committee of religious and noble figures in every region to purge the clergy of anti-revolutionary elements under the supervision of the Revolutionary Courts. Between late 1981 and 1984, a special court in the city of Qom handled, though not systematically, the trial of clerics.

 

On 29 July 1987, Ayatollah Khomeini officially appointed a prosecutor and a member of the clergy as Shari’a judge for Special Courts for the Clergy. On 6 August 1990, a directive was issued regulating the conduct of these courts, the jurisdictional ambiguity of which is such that it effectively extends to “anyone where one of the parties is a cleric” and to “all matters in which the Court is designated as competent by the Supreme Leader.”

 

The court, which was not mentioned in the Islamic Republic's constitution, was mandated to try “pseudo clerics, those related to/connected with the clergy, for public and/or anti-revolutionary crimes, and violations of the prestige of the clergy,” and where the principal suspect is a member of the clergy, “any co-conspirator or assistant, whether a cleric or not.”

 

These courts are generally not open to the public and can issue sentences for all acts and omissions punishable under codified Iranian laws or Shari’a or for any other acts or omissions which can bring dishonor to the clergy or to the Islamic Revolution. Further, in certain particular cases – which have not been defined – where no punishment has been devised by either the Penal Code or even the Shari’a, the Court “can rule as it deems fit.” 

 

The Appellate System of the Special Court for the Clergy, 1979-Present

 

There is no information on any appeal process for the Special Court for the Clergy prior to the 1990 directive. Article 49 of said directive set up, however, an appeals court called Special Appellate Court for the Clergy, the head of which is appointed by the Supreme Leader, to which the decisions of the lower court can be appealed.

 

Military Courts

 

The military court system, independent from the judiciary under the previous regime, became a part of it on 1 December 1981. The Judiciary Organization of the Armed Forces, established in 1986, replaced and merged other military courts and tribunals in existence at the time, namely the pre-revolution Judiciary Organization of the Army, the Revolutionary Tribunal of the Army (established on 8 December 1979), and the Revolutionary and General Court for the Revolutionary Guards (established on 15 July 1979.) The Judiciary Organization of the Armed Forces has its own Criminal Code and follows the country’s general rules of criminal procedure.

 

The Law of the Criminal Procedure of the Armed Forces of 15 May 1985 created Military Courts I and II. Military Court I has jurisdiction over more serious offenses, including those punishable by death, and Military Court II hears less serious crimes.

 

The Appellate System of Military Courts, 1979-Present

 

The law of 8 December 1979, establishing the Revolutionary Military Court, did not provide for any appeals. The Law of 15 May 1985 created a system of appeals through the creation of a two-tier system of courts. The decisions of Military Court II were subject to review by Military Court I. This law also provided that multiple Branches of the Supreme Court be designated as the appellate court to review decisions of Military Court I.

 

The judges

 

1979-1997: Prosecutors and judges are not necessarily law graduates and jurists. Shortly after the Islamic Revolution, a five-member Committee was established to purge the judicial system of undesirable elements, pursuant to the Legal Bill for the Modification of the Judiciary and the Law for Hiring Judges of 8 March 1979. The power of the committee was absolute and its decisions, resulting in a widespread purge of the judiciary, final.

 

The Law for the Conditions of Selection of Judges of 4 May 1981 established the conditions of eligibility for judges. The latter were to be hired among men who were legitimate children and had practical commitment to Islam and allegiance to the Islamic Republic. The law, which led to the hiring of clerics and Islamic legal scholars, also allowed hiring practically anyone as a judge who could “obtain the Judicial High Council’s permission.” Moreover, Note 2 of the Amendments of 4 October 1982 to this law allowed widespread employment of seminary students “who ha[d] general knowledge equivalent to a high school diploma” as judges at prosecutor’s offices in general as well as Revolutionary Courts.  

 

By 1989, the judiciary counted about 2,000 new judges trained in theological seminaries (graduates and students) and political appointees, many having replaced judges trained in law schools.

 

1997-Present: As of this writing (2013) the Law for Hiring Judges and its amendments of 4 October 1982, 7 February 1987, and 9 May 1988 are in full force and form the basis for hiring judges. The Executive Rules of Procedure of 22 December 1997 subjected such hiring to passing an entrance examination and successful completion of an apprenticeship program, the duration of which ranges between one and two years. The law does not limit hiring to men only but does not specify in what capacity women will be functioning, other than an advisory one.

Currently, judges are selected in accordance with the Guidelines on the Recruitment, Selection, and Internship for Judicial Candidates and the Hiring of Judges.

 

Dismissal of Judges: From 1979 to 1989, the judiciary was run by the Supreme Judicial Council which was composed of the head of the Supreme Court, the Prosecutor General (both of whom were appointed by the Supreme Leader), and three judges elected by the entire body of judges in the country. The Council had the power to hire and dismiss judges in accordance with the law.

 

The constitutional reforms of 1989 substituted the Supreme Judicial Council with one person, the Head of the Judiciary. The Supreme Leader, whose mandate is not subject to popular vote, appoints the Head of the Judiciary for a 5-year term. The latter has significant power to influence the dismissal of judges. Dismissal cases are referred to three types of disciplinary courts, presided over by judges appointed by the Head of the Judiciary, who has veto power over any decisions made by the relevant courts.

 

Two of these courts, established in 1991 and 2011, are charged with examining the judges’ conduct from a religious and ideological standpoint. The process does not necessarily involve the defendant and the final decision, left to the Head of the Judiciary, is not subject to appeal.

 

Human rights violations

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 unions for the protection of one’s interests.

    UDHR, Article 20; ICCPR, Article 22.1.

The right to due process

  • The right to be presumed innocent until found guilty by a competent and impartial tribunal in accordance with law.

    ICCPR, Article 14.1 and Article 14.2.

  • The right not to be subjected to torture and to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

    ICCPR, Article 7; Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment and Punishment, Article 1 and Article 2.

Right to Life
  • 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.

About this Case

The information regarding the extrajudicial killing of Mr. Kamal Asfarm (also known as Shwaneh Qaderi also reported as Seyyed Qader) was drawn from an interview of a person close to Mr. Asfarm with Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation (ABF, August 11, 2006),the report by the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary and Arbitrary Executions (March 26, 2006, E/CN.4/2006/53), the statement by Human Rights Watch (August 10, 2005 and February 16, 2006), the report of Kurdistan Human Rights Organization (July 13, 2005), the Iranian Student’s News Agency (ISNA) reports (July 31, 2005), Sharif News (August 22, 2011), the BBC Persian (July 28, 2005), Deutsche Welle (July 22, 2005) and Police News Agency reports (July 28, 2005). This news was also reported by many foreign media outlets such as the New York Times (August 14, 2005) and Aljazeera (August 8, 2005).

Mr. Asfarm was a 24-year-old Kurdish man, a construction worker and a political activist who was killed by the police. He was on the police’s Wanted Person’s list for a while. After two days, some pictures of his tortured body were published on the internet. These pictures, aside from the scars obviously created by the forensic team’s autopsy examination, showed severe bruises and inflammations on his face, genital area and back. Following the publication of these pictures, people from the town of Mahabad protested in the streets. These protests spread to other cities in the Kurdistan Province, such as Baneh, Saqqez and Sardasht, and led to the arrest of many demonstrators and civil society activists (Human Rights Watch, August 10, 2005). At least 19 people were killed during these events. The names and numbers of these victims were listed in the report of the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Killings, Summary and Arbitrary Executions on March 26, 2006 (Special Rapporteur, March 26, 2006).

Death

At 7:30 p.m. on July 9, 2005 he was shot by teh police in the side and leg. The police took him away from the crime scene alive. Witnesses reported that police dragged Mr. Asfarm’s body on the ground for 50 meters before putting him in a car. The exact date of his death is not clear. According to the family the body was returned to them after autopsy on July 12 (ABF interview, August 11, 2005). Authorities claimed that they returned the body on the July 10 (Police News Agency, July 28, 2005).

According to Mr. Saleh Nikbakht, the Asfarm’s lawyer, the judiciary experts came to the conclusion that two bullets shot from a klashnikov rifle killed Mr. Asfarm. While the first bullet hit him in the leg and disabled him, the second bullet was shot from a very close distance and hit him in the chest (Etemad Melli, September 25, 2006).

State Officials’ Reactions

According to the Police News Agency, Colonel Behmanesh, Deputy of Guidance and Social Affairs to the Western Azarbaijan Police Chief, reported that in the afternoon of July 9, 2005, police received a report about Mr. Asfarm’s whereabouts in Poshtap, a neighborhood in Mahabad. The police officers saw Mr. Asfarm drinking alcohol with his friends. According to Colonel Behmanesh, Mr. Asfarm attacked the officers with a knife and one of the officers shot him in defense. Afterwards, the officers took him to a hospital in an ambulance immediately but he bled to death. Then, the body was taken to the forensic office and was returned to the family after an autopsy on July 10, 2005 (Police News Agency, July 28, 2005).

The Police News Agency, after Mr. Asfarm’s death on July 28, 2005, reported that Mr. Asfarm was wanted for “murder, extortion, sedition, rape and blackmail”. Additionally, Mr. Akbar Feiz, the President of the Judiciary of Western Azarbaijan Province convicted him of seeking asylum in grouplets and hindering the election (BBC Persian, August 17, 2005). In addition, the Governor of Western Azarbaijan Province said to ISNA that Mr. Asfarm evaded military service and because of this, he was prosecuted by the Judicial Organization of the Armed Forces (Sharif News, August 22, 2011). This veracity of latter conviction was confirmed by a person close to Mr. Asfarm. This person said that Mr. Asfarm refused to serve his military service because he believed that the conscripts were cruel to the people (ABF interview, August 11, 2006).

Colonel Behmanesh also reiterated that the bruises, which were visible in the pictures circulating on the internet, were caused by the autopsy examination and appearance of the body had changed due to decomposition that occurs in the human body days after death. The Colonel also stated that the people who published those pictures were enemies. On August 15, Firuz Mohammadi, the Chief of Azarbaijan Forensic Office denied the probability that Mr. Asfarm was tortured and claimed that the bruises on the body were self inflicted (BBC Persian, July 28, 2005). Sharif News, a news agency with ties to the government, stated that the bruises on the body were the signs of livor mortis (Sharif News, August 22, 2006). Amir Geravand, the Police Chief of Western Azarbaijan Province claimed that an armed group took the body from the Asfarm family at night, took pictures of the body, edited the pictures, and published them on some websites (ISNA, July 31, 2005).

Despite these initial statements, a truth commission was commissioned to go to Mahabad from Tehran to investigate Mr. Asfarm’s death. According to the Governor of Western Azarbaijan Province, a six-person commission was organized and composed of representatives from the Ministry of the Interior, the Police, and the Judicial Organization of the Armed Forces. The committee talked to Mr. Asfarm’s father in Mahabad and a couple of local leaders. According to the report of the Human Rights Organization of Kurdistan and the Asfarm’s lawyer, one of the police officers who was arrested because of Mr. Asfarm’s murder was released on bail of $50,000 dollars by the Revolutionary Tribunal of Orumieh (Etemad Melli, March 3, 2005).

The Reactions of Family and Nongovernmental Recourses

According to Mr. Asfarm’s family and the officials, the police were pursuing Mr. Asfarm long before the incident. According to the information provided by the police and independent sources, Mr. Asfarm played a key role in organizing gatherings in Mahabad and in boycotting the presidential election in 2005. Mr. Asfarm’s family’s lawyer denied the official claims regarding alleged crimes committed by the victim and said that “he was not convicted of or sentenced for any accounts of murder or crimes against chastity. [As with] other cases, the reality was not exactly how it was reflected in the media” (Etemad Melli, September 25, 2006).

According to a person close to Mr. Asfarm, the Ministry of Intelligence agents had been after him since long before the incident. A colonel telephoned the family numerous times and pressured them to hand Mr. Asfarm over to the authorities. He threatened them that if they did not hand him over, they would not be able to see him ever again. Once, this colonel slapped Mr. Asfarm’s father on the face and told the family that they had to anesthetize Mr. Asfarm and hand him over to the police. The agents never explained why they were after him. His family only saw one arrest warrant for him, which was related to his failing to present himself for the mandatory military service (ABF interview, August 11, 2006).

According to Masoud Kurdpour, an independent Kurdish journalist and human rights activists, on July 9, Mr. Asfarm was in a car passing by a building that was being built for the Mahabad Paramedical School. He was recognized by a police unit and his car was shot at by the police (Deutsche Welle, July 22, 2005).

Also, the person interviewed by ABF, said, quoting two eye witnesses, that two conscripts dragged Mr. Asfarm’s body over the rough ground for 50 meters and threw him in a jeep (ABF interview, August 11, 2006). This account was confirmed by other reports by independent activists and media. In an interview with Deutsche Welle, Mr. Masoud Kurdpour confirmed that Mr. Asfarm’s body had been dragged. Amnesty International reported this news as well.

Moreover, according to the same source, Mr. Asfarm was not taken to the hospital after the incident and that the family search in the only hospital in that city had no result. . The police told the family that Mr. Asfarm was in the hospital but shortly after, a local conscript told the Asfarms that he saw Shwaneh being taken to the police station and that he was wounded. Mr. Asfarm’s body was returned to his family on July 12, whereas the police report declared the date the body was returned as July 10. Before allowing the family to take the body, the police forced them to pay $50 dollars [as compensation for] the bullet that killed Mr. Asfarm (ABF interview, August 11, 2006).

The Asfarms brought a lawsuit against two police officers to the Court Marshal of Orumieh, but not until August 11, 2006 did they receive any response to their complaint, with an exception of a court summon (ABF interview, August 11, 2006).

On September 25, 2006, Mr. Nikbakht said in an interview with ISNA that only as of the date of the interview had the culprits been identified and had it been determined how the shootings took place. The second shot to the chest was an example of illegal use of arms and was identified explicitly as a murder. Yet, according to article 32 of the Criminal Procedure, releasing the defendant on bail in the case of murder is illegal. The lawyer objected to this bail but his protest was dismissed. The lawyer told ISNA that the case took a long time because a conflict of jurisdiction, which was resolved in favor of the General Court of Orumieh by the Supreme Court (ISNA, July 31, 2005).

It is noteworthy that despite the fact that the culprits are identified, that the conflict of jurisdiction was resolved, five years after the murder of Mr. Asfarm in June 2011, there has been no news about the prosecution or punishment of the culprits. According to an unconfirmed report, the main defendant in Mr. Asfarm’s murder case was acquitted from all of the charges and released three years after the murder on October 30, 2008 (Asre No, November 13, 2008).

International Reactions

On March 26, 2006, in his final report to the UN General Assembly, Mr. Philip Alston, the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Killings, Summary and Arbitrary Executions, referred to some allegation letters about the Kurdistan killings including the extrajudicial killing of Mr. Asfarm. The Special Rapporteur reminded Iran of its obligations regarding the use of lethal force and that its use should only be implemented as a last resort when there are no alternatives available. Finally, thorough investigations should be conducted. Mr. Alston asked the government of Iran some questions: Are these allegations correct? The Iranian government should provide some details and documents about these deaths such as forensic reports, etc. It should also provide some information about the investigations about these killings. Could the Iranian police force have used non-lethal means to disperse the crowd? And if yes, why did they still decide to use the lethal forces? The Special Rapporteur reiterated that: “The Special Rapporteur regrets that the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran failed to cooperate with the mandate he has been given by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.” (March 26, 2006, E/CN.4/2006/53).

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