Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Sa'id Qanbarzehi


Age: 17
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Unknown


Date of Killing: May 27, 2007
Location of Killing: Zahedan, Sistan Va Baluchestan Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Murder; Sedition and/ or threat to public security; Membership of anti-regime guerilla group
Age at time of alleged offense: 17

About this Case

News of the execution of Mr. Sa’id Qanbarzehi, 17 years old, was published on the websites of ISNA (Iranian Students News Agency) and Entekhab on May 28, Mihan blog and Taftan on May 29 2007, and Baluchestan People Party on March 16, 2007.

International laws have strictly prohibited capital punishment against those who were under the age of 18 at the time of committing the crime. As a party to the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Iran has the obligation to avoid capital punishment for an offence committed before the age of eighteen.

Arrest and detention

The circumstances of Mr. Qanbarzehi ’s arrest and detention are not known. According to Mihan blog, Mr. Qanbarzehi, along with some others, was arrested after a bombing in March 2006. According to this source, “he and his companions were tortured severely including breaking of toes and fingernails, burning by a hot iron, and muscle tearing by a drill.”    


This trial took place in the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Zahedan. No further information is available on the Mr. Qanbarzehi’s trial.  


The charges against Mr. Sa’id Qanbarzehi were announced as, “Moharebeh (fighting), Mofsed (corruptor on Earth) for armed uprising, membership and sympathizing with a terrorist group, terror and bombing including the martyrdom of four police officers at Bozorgmehr and Mo’lem intersection in Zahedan and killing the martyr Falahati, a car driver.”  

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 evidence provided against Mr. Qanbarzehi’s was his “confession”. According to the website of the Baluchestan People Party, the official television of the Islamic Republic in the Baluchestan province broadcast pictures of seven individuals including Mr. Sa’id Qanbarzehi as those who confessed to being fighters for justice and national and human rights of the Bluch people.  

International human rights organizations have repeatedly condemned the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran for its systematic use of severe torture and solitary confinement to obtain confessions from detainees and have questioned the authenticity of confessions obtained under duress. In the case of political detainees, these confessions are, at times, televised. The National Television broadcasts confessions during which prisoners plead guilty to vague and false charges, repent and renounce their political beliefs, and/or implicate others. Human rights organizations have also pointed to the pattern of retracted confessions by those prisoners who are freed.


No information is available about the Mr. Qanbarzehi’s trial.’s defence. According to the report of the Baluchestan People Party, “Sa’id Qanbarzehi was arrested only because of his relationship with a Baluch fighter and he was forced to confess by severe torture.” In a letter to the website of Taftan, a person who introduced himself as Mr. Sa’id Qanbarzehi’s cousin, stated: “we are from Qanbarzehi’s tribe and more than a thousand of us have been killed and there is no family without a killed or executed member. Sa’id was only 17. There were children who stepped on mines. Sa’id’s uncle was shot [by officials] a while ago. My two brothers were executed. Fifty persons were executed from my grandfather’s family since the beginning of the revolution, all with trumped-up charges of narcotics. We are glad that Sa’id was not charged for narcotics and was executed for cooperation with Jondollah.”  

The Popular Resistance Movement of Iran, known as Jondollah, was established in 2003. This group declared its goal as a struggle for achieving the religious and national rights of Baluch and Sunni people in Systan and Baluchestan provinces in Iran and emphasized that it is not a separatist group. In 2005, this group began a series of military operation against the Islamic Republic forces during which tens of the regime’s forces were captured or killed. In response, the Islamic Republic arrested and executed tens of members of this group, and military operations continue in Systan and Baluchestan. In an interview with the media outside of Iran, the leader of this group, Abdolmalek Rigi, rejected the government’s labels of “terrorist” and “foreign agent” and claimed that they began their struggle against the Islamic Republic to replace it with “a popular regime that recognizes the rights of all humans.” The news of his arrest was published by the Intelligence Ministry of Iran on February 23, 2010. The circumstance of his arrest is yet unknown.  

A Summary of the Defects of Mr. Sa’id Qanbarzehi Legal Proceedings

No detailed information is available about Mr. Sa’id Qanbarzehi’s trial. According to available information, he was sentenced to death for being involved in a bombing. The court sentenced him for the crime of Moharebeh and Efsad fel-Arz. Based on information published by certain sources, Mr. Sa’id Qanbarzehi underwent the most severe forms of torture while in detention. He was forced to make self-incriminatory admissions under torture, whereas, under Iranian law, torture and duress of the defendant is illegal and considered a crime, and confessions obtained in this manner are without credence and legal value. Principle 38 of the Iranian Constitution, as well as certain domestic laws and international instruments to which Iran is a signatory, specifically so state, and go as far as to consider obtaining a confession through torture a crime and the perpetrators, criminals. Therefore, the court relying on a confession that was obtained under duress and torture was in utter violation of the law. It was necessary for the court to conduct the necessary investigations into the accuracy and the authenticity of Mr. Sa’id Qanbarzehi’s confession. Although a confession is the single most important evidence of proving commission of a crime in criminal law, it only has value and credence when it is true. We must pay attention to the fact that there are numerous reports of putting pressure on defendants to make confessions in political and security cases in the Sistan and Baluchistan region. It was therefore incumbent upon the judge to bear that in mind and conduct the necessary investigation into how true and accurate the confession was.

According to a Kayhan Newspaper report about Mr. Sa’id Qanbarzehi’s trial on March 13, 2007, one of the charges brought against him was distributing leaflets and inviting people not to participate in the elections. There is no confession on of Mr. Sa’id Qanbarzehi’s part regarding participation in bombing activities in this report, which briefly publishes his confessions.

It must be noted that there is no such crime as inviting people not to participate in the elections under Iranian law. This indicates an effort on the part of Iran’s security authorities to charge the defendant with multiple crimes, by any means. It also begs the question why Iranian authorities prevent the publication of the complete case file about these defendants. Why do the relevant authorities not provide accurate information in this regard if there are indeed clear and express confessions and sufficient evidence against these defendants?


The court condemned Mr. Sa’id Qanbarzehi to death and the Supreme Judicial Officials confirmed it. According to the Public Relations’ Office of the Zahedan Court House, he was hanged in the Zahedan prison on May 27, 2007. However, according to the Mihan blog, “Sa’id Qanbarzehi died when tortured in prison.” Mr. Sa’id Qanbarzehi was 17 years old. 

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