Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Ali Heydarian


Age: 31
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Unknown
Civil Status: Single


Date of Killing: May 9, 2010
Location of Killing: Evin Prison, Tehran, Tehran Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: War on God, God's Prophet and the deputy of the Twelfth Imam

About this Case

The execution of Mr. Ali Heidarian, son of Ahad, born and resident in Sanandaj, and four others* was announced by the public relations department of Tehran's Public and Revolution Courts, and posted on several news websites, including ISNA (9 May), Green Movement (10 May), Committee of Human Rights Reporters (6 June), [and] Organization of Revolutionary Workers of Iran [Rahekargar] (10 May) 2010. Information concerning Mr. Heidarian's arrest and case have been extracted from Amnesty International (12 January), Amirkabir Newsletter (26 February) 2011, [and] Human Rights Watch of Kurdistan (20 October) 2007. Additional information has been taken from the testimony of Sabah Nasri, managing editor of 'Rojameh' and a former ward mate of Mr Heidarian, in an interview with Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (22 February 2011).

Arrest and detention

The public relations department of Tehran's Public and Revolution Courts announced: "The search squad of Police Precinct116 of Molavi [street of Tehran] grew suspicious of two individuals standing next to a Paykan [Iranian-manufactured car], during their patrol on 19 August 2006. On spotting the police officers, the two individuals fled the scene. One of them, called Peyman, whose real name was later found to be Kaveh, was arrested, while the other, named Kamal, escaped…. The officers went to the two individuals' residence, arresting Farzad Kamangar (one of the defendants executed at the same time as Mr Heidarian)."

Although there was no mention of Mr Heidarian's arrest in the announcement by the public relations office of the Prosecutor of Tehran's Public and Revolution Courts, Mr Heidarian himself mentioned the date of his arrest in the following letter sent from Evin Prison, on 1st February 2010:

"I was arrested by several plainclothes agents on 19 August 2006 and taken to an unidentified location." In the letter, Mr Heidarian gives a detailed description of his interrogation and torture: "After entering a building in an unidentified location, …one of the agents angrily heading towards me, and suddenly tripping me up. I was handcuffed. He proceeded to kick and punch me all over my face and body; he was so engrossed in the act, beaming with a mixture of satisfaction, anger and excitement… Finally, one of his colleagues intervened to stop him. Then a few other plainclothes agents from the Intelligence Ministry blindfolded me and put me inside a car. ... One of them began the interrogation by asking me, 'Where are you from'? I told him I was a Kurd from Sanandaj. I had not finished my sentence when he proceeded to punch me. ... He said, 'You are a Sunni. Why are you called Ali and your surname is Heidarian?' ... they handed me over to another set of agents for [further] interrogation.

After entering a large room, they sat me in a chair facing an interrogator in an opposite chair. Another agent holding an electric shock baton stood next to me. They proceeded to interrogate me without reading the charges against me. The person next to me continued to apply electric shocks to sensitive parts of my body, such as my face, ears and fingertips, while I was being interrogated. The purpose was to ensure that I answered the questions without a second's delay. Dozens of times I found myself answering questions that I had not even fully understood in order to escape further electric shocks. They took off all my clothes and laid me down flat on the ground. My hands were tied behind my back. Another agent pressed his foot on my shoulder, pulling my hands upwards, making it impossible for me to make any movement. To intensify the pain, one of them double folded the rope, flogging me hard from head to toe. He was clearly very proficient in his work since he knew the most sensitive parts of the body as well as a doctor... The interrogator constantly bellowed, 'I am the god here and your life is in my hands.'

It was close to midnight when I was again shoved into a car and taken to yet another location. ... Upon entering a building, a five-man team proceeded to beat me up without even asking me any questions; they merely sought to terrify and intimidate me. One grabbed my left and the other my right hand; another two kicked and punched me while the fifth kept applying electric shocks. They kept repeating, 'This is the end of the line. No-one will leave here alive.' ...One of them held an instrument in his hand with which he kept trying to pull out my fingernails, causing such agony the intensity of which made my earlier pains relatively insignificant.

Interrogations took place from dawn to dusk every day. At the end of each session I was taken back to my cell. Some two weeks had passed since the start of my interrogations when as a result of a very heavy punch by one of the interrogators I suffered from such a nose bleed that even their doctor could not stop the bleeding. I was taken to a clinic outside the detention center, where I found out that I had been held in Ward 209 of Evin Prison.

This ordeal continued for several months. When they failed to come up with any evidence to convict me of their intended charges, they decided to send me to Kermanshah Province in the hope that they may be able to charge me with whatever they wished there. So I was transferred to a detention center in Kermanshah, without any new charges, let alone the fact that I had not been formally charged with anything in the first place. In this period, which lasted more than two months, I endured the worst kind of psychological torture in addition to the physical torture. When they failed to find any incriminating evidence against me, the prosecutor issued a ruling rejecting the competence of the court that was dealing with my case; I was again returned to Ward 209 of Evin Prison.

After some nine months, I was allowed, for the first time, to have a brief telephone conversation with my family to let them know that I was alive. I was transferred to Sanandaj in June 2007, but sent back to Tehran after two months. At this stage not even my family was immune from psychological pressure. They arrested and tortured my brother merely because he was related to me; as a result of torture, his hand was paralyzed for some time. [Before that] In April 2007, I was sent to Ward 5 of Raja'ishahr Prison in Karaj, where they hold prisoners suffering from AIDS.

Regarding circumstances of the arrests of Ali Heidarian, Farhad Vakili, and Farzad Kamanger, Human Rights Watch of Kurdistan reported, on 20 October 2007, that three Kurdish prisoners (Farzad Kamangar, Farhad Vakili, and Ali Heidarian), who had been in detention for over 14 months, had been barred from receiving visitors for about a month. Mr Heidarian was subjected to yet further interrogation following his trial and sentencing. He remarks on the post-sentencing interrogation in his letter: "In October 2008 ... they sent me back to Ward 209 for further interrogation. Despite the fact that the judge had already issued a verdict and there were no new charges, I remained in Ward 209 for six months and was subjected to more interrogations."


There is no available information about the court session or sessions. The cases of Ali Heidarian and two other defendants were heard at Branch 30 of Tehran's Revolution Court, on 30 January 2008. According to human rights organizations in Iran, the trial and sentencing of Ali Heidarian and two other defendants took a few minutes. Ali Heidarian had also mentioned the trial in his letter: "Some 18 months after my arrest, I was summoned to Branch 30 of the Revolution Court. In a trial lasting less than 10 minutes, in which not even the most basic rules of procedure were observed."

Mr. Khalil Bahramian, the lawyer of the two other defendants who were tried with Mr. Heidaian, confirmed Mr. Heidaria’s statements about the court. According to him, the court spent only 10 minutes to ask the defendants basic questions like their names, etc. Their lawyer was never allowed to speak. According to Mr. Bahramian: “When I told the judge I have something to say (as the lawyer), he said write it on a piece of paper, I want to to go in order to say my prayers. (so) he did not even listen to me.”


Ali Heidarian and two other defendants, all of whom were executed at the same time, were charged with "moharebeh [waging war against God] through active operations for mini groups opposed to the system, as well as possession and smuggling of weapons and ammunition." According to Mr. Heidarian himself, he was charged with connection to P.K.K.**

The validity of the criminal charges brought against this defendant cannot be ascertained in the absence of the basic guarantees of a fair trial. 

Evidence of guilt

The public relations department of Tehran's Public and Revolution Courts claimed to have the following evidence against Ali Heidarian and two other defendants: "A total of 10 kilograms of explosives were found on the defendants at the time of arrest, and another 12 kilograms [of explosives] as well as 15 detonators and two grenades were discovered in the home of Farhad Vakili. Also found in the homes of the defendants were 57 RPG bullets, 600 light arms' cartridges, 700 Persian translations of a book by PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, 300 posters of the mini group's leaders, and 300 propaganda pamphlets and literature." The same statement indicated that after searching the defandants’ vehicle, the officers found five kilograms of explosives planted under the driver's seat


There is no precise information concerning the defendant's statements of defense. In his letter from Evin Prison, Mr Heidarian wrote that his only crime was being a "Kurd." Mr Heidarian who repeatedly pleaded innocence wrote in relation to the said charges that after months of interrogation at Evin Prison, the interrogators had failed to find any incriminating evidence against him. As a result, they had to transfer him back to Kermanshah Province. He wrote in his letter, "When I asked the judge on the basis of what evidence he had passed the verdict, he told me that verdicts regarding political cases were issued by security bodies and that he was merely following orders."

Based on the testimony of Sabah Nasri, one of Mr Heidarian's ward mates, many charges were leveled against Mr Heidarian and the three other defendants who were executed at the same time; yet the Intelligence Ministry did not have any documents to corroborate those charges. Moreover, none of the defendants had confessed. Ultimately, the Intelligence Ministry managed to impose its will based on reports from its intelligence branches in the defendants' home towns.

It is not clear if Mr. Heidaian had a chance to bring up his torture claims in the court and if he actually did, what measures were taken in response to it and to protect the defandants, especially because these claims were publicized whatsoever by letters and through other means.


The court sentenced Mr Heidarian to death and a 10-year prison term. The verdict was upheld by the State Supreme Court. Before execution, Mr Heidarian had been subjected to two [prison] transfers. He highlighted them in his letter: "In October 2008, I was taken to Evin Prison alongside 30 other death row prisoners from Raja'ishahr. On that day, 29 prisoners were executed, but I was sent back to Ward 209 for further interrogation." He wrote that some nine months after his first transfer for the purpose of carrying out his sentence: "I was transferred for a second time to Ward 240 of Evin Prison, where they hold death row prisoners in solitary confinement prior to execution. Every day I was waiting for execution; the waiting was worse than the execution itself. Yet once again they did not execute me and took me back to Evin, where I am currently living – if you could call it living. ... And this is my life story. Ali Heidarian. (Weblog of Rahekargar [Organization of Revolutionary Workers of Iran])

Mr Heidarian was hanged on 9 May 2010 in Evin Prison without the knowledge of his lawyer and family. He was buried secretly in an unknown location without the presence of his family.

The families of Mr. Heidarian and the other four individuals executed the same day, met with the governor-general of Kordestan on 2nd June 2010. They asked him for the bodies of their loved ones. The governor-general of Kordestan responded by saying: "Those executed have been buried in a location which, for security reasons, we are not at liberty to disclose. The authorities will inform you of the location once some time has passed and the circumstances are right." In the wake of that meeting, security and intelligence forces contacted the victims' families threatening them with arrest should they embark on more such meetings.


* Shirin Alamhuli Atashgah, Farzad Kamangar, Mehdi Eslamian, and Farhad Vakili
** Kurdistan Workers’ Party (P.K.K.) was established in 1974 by Abdullah Ocalan. It was officially named P.K.K. in 1978. This party is engaged in an armed struggle with the Turkish Government since 1984. Its ideology is a mixture of socialism and Kurdish nationalism. Its declared aim is to establish an independent Kurdistan in the south of Turkey, north of Iraq and parts of Iran. In 1999, Abdullah Ocalan was arrested in Kenya and sentenced to life imprisonment. In 2000, the party declared that the party would only use political means. In its 8th congress in 2002, the party officially renounced its armed means and changed its name to Kurdistan Liberty and Democracy Congress (KADEK). In 2003, the party changed its name again to Kongra-Gel (KGK). It confirmed its peacefull intentions but continued its armed struggles in the context of self-defense. In June 2003, the People’s Defense Force (HPG) which has taken over the party since February 2003, renounced the 5-year cease fire with the government of Turkey.

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