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

Nader Mohammadi


Age: 29
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Islam (Sunni)
Civil Status: Married


Date of Execution: October 10, 2007
Location: Sanandaj, Kordestan Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: War on God; Murder; Sympathizing with anti-regime guerilla groups; Membership of anti-regime guerilla group; Acting against state's security

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 might 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 not to be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honor and reputation.

UDHR, Article 12, ICCPR, Article 17.1.

  • The right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, including the right to change and manifest one’s religion or belief.

UDHR, Article 18; ICCPR, Article 18.1, ICCPR, Article 18.2; Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, Article 1 and Article 6.

In its general comment 22 (48) of 20 July 1993, the United Nation’s Human Rights Committee observed that the freedom to "have or to adopt" a religion or belief necessarily entailed the freedom to choose a religion or belief, including the right to replace one's current religion or belief with another or to adopt atheistic views, as well as the right to retain one's religion or belief. Article 18, paragraph 2, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights bars coercion that would impair the right to have or adopt a religion or belief, including the use of threat of physical force or penal sanctions to compel believers or non-believers to adhere to religious beliefs and congregations, to recant their religion or belief or to convert.

  • 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 peaceful assembly.

UDHR, Article 20; ICCPR, Article 21.

  • 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, as a member of a religious or ethnic minority, to enjoy one’s own culture or to profess and practice one’s own religion.

UDHR, Article 18; ICCPR, Article 27.

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.

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 the right to legal aid. The right to communicate with one’s attorney in confidence

ICCPR, Article 14.3.b and 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.>

  • 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.

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

Trial rights

  • The right to a fair and public trial without undue delay.

ICCPR, Article 14.1, Article 14.3.c.

  • The right to defense through an attorney or legal aid. The right to examine, or have examined, the witnesses against one, and the right to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on one’s behalf under the same conditions as prosecution witnesses.

ICCPR, Article 14.3.d and Article 14.3.e.

  • The right to have the decision rendered in public.

ICCPR, Article 14.1.

  • The right not to be tried or punished again for an offence for which one has already been convicted or acquitted.

ICCPR, Article 14.7.

Judgment rights

  • The right to appeal to a court of higher jurisdiction.

ICCPR, Article 14.5.

  • The right to seek pardon or commutation of sentence.

ICCPR, Article 6.4.

Capital punishment

  • 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 1 and Article 2.

About this Case

News of Mr. Nader Mohammadi’s execution was published by numerous media, including BBC Farsi (October 17, 2007), Kurdistan Media (October 14, 2007), and the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (October 3, 2007). Quoting the Kurdistan Province Judiciary’s Office of Public Relations, ISNA news agency published news of the execution of two individuals, without stating their names (October 17, 2007). Additional information was obtained from an interview conducted by the Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation (ABF Interview) with two other individuals accused in the same case (Messrs. Layeq Moradi and Karim Zarei). 

Mr. Nader Mohammadi was married and came from the village of Shian, near the city of Sanandaj. He had a high school education and laid tiles for a living. According to his prison mates, Mr. Mohammadi was a truthful person, and conservative to a certain extent. He was kind to all prisoners, regardless of their crimes, as people who had been deprived of their freedom. Although he was considered a Sunni Moslem, he was not really religious and held secular beliefs. Mr. Mohammadi was a supporter of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan. (ABF Interview).

The Human Rights Organization of Kurdistan (March 28, 2007) and the Association in Defense of Political Prisoners and Human Rights in Iran (October 12, 2007) issued a bulletin objecting to Mr. Mohammadi’s “arbitrary arrest” and the violation of his legal and citizens rights.

The Democratic Party of Iranian Kordestan (PDKI) was founded in 1945 with the objective to gain autonomy for Kurdistan, in north-west of Iran. After the Revolution, conflicts between the new central Shiite government and the mainly Sunni Kurdistan, regarding the role of minorities in the drafting of the constitution, specification of Shiite as the official state religion, and particularly the autonomy of the region, ended in armed clashes between the Revolutionary Guards and the peshmerga (the militia of the PDKI). The PDKI boycotted the referendum of April 1, when people went to polls to vote for or against the Islamic regime. On August 19, 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini called the PDKI the “party of Satan” and declared it “unofficial and illegal.” Mass executions and fighting broke out and continued for several months in the region. By 1983, PDKI had lost much of its influence in the region. Various leaders of the PDKI have been assassinated.

Arrest and Detention

According to persons close to him, Mr. Mohammadi was arrested in [the city of] Sanandaj by Information Ministry agents, in the afternoon of February 18, 2007. He was taken to the Information Administration detention center, located behind the Census Registration Building. Mr. Mohammadi spent over eight months in solitary confinement cells at the Information Administration detention center and was under physical and psychological torture. He had no contact or visitation with his family. On May 12, 2007, he and the other defendants in the case were transferred to the Sanandaj General Prison for three days. According to his prison mate of those three days, Mr. Mohammadi’s right leg, which had been injured during interrogation and torture, was bandaged and he was in great pain. (ABF Interview).

In an interview with the Boroumand Foundation, two of the other defendants in the case stated that interrogations were conducted at all hours of the day and night, and that they were handcuffed and blindfolded. The interrogators insulted them and their religious beliefs, and, through punching, kicking, and beating the sole of their feet with electric cables, wanted them to confess at all costs that they played a part in the killing of a member of Sanandaj Revolutionary Guards Corps. (ABF Interview).


On August 1, 2007, the Sanandaj Islamic Revolutionary Court Branch Two conducted a closed door trial of Mr. Nader Mohammadi and three other defendants in the case. According to two of the defendants, Mr. Mhammadi met his court-appointed attorney for the first time at trial. The court took less than 25 minutes to try the four defendants of the case. In addition to the judge and the court secretary, representatives of the Prosecutor’s Office and of the Information Administration were also present at the trial. The judge treated the defendants and their attorneys harshly and with the utmost disrespect; he was reading messages on his cell phone while they were presenting their defense. (ABF Interview).


Mr. Mohammadi and the other defendants of the case were charged with “Moharebeh (“waging war with God”) through acting against national security, affiliation to the defunct Democratic Party, carrying out activities on behalf of said Party, propaganda against the Islamic Republic, participation in identifying people loyal to the holy regime of the Islamic Republic, association and conspiracy in performing Party-relegated tasks.” (ABF Interview). According to the Kurdistan Province Judiciary’s Office of Public Relations, Mr. Mohammadi was accused of killing a member of the Revolutionary Guards Corps in Sanandaj’s village of Hajiabad. (ISNA, October 17, 2007).

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

According to one of the defendants in the case, the court considered Mr. Mohammadi’s brown jacket, and the fact that in 1980-81 his father’s house was used as a hiding place for the Democratic [Party] Peshmarga, as evidence of his guilt. (ABF Interview).

The Kurdistan Information Administration considered the fact that news of Mr. Mohammadi’s charges and execution had been published in “the defunct Iranian Kurdistan Democratic little group” as indicative of the acceptance of responsibility for the killing of the Revolutionary Guards member by said party. (ISNA, October 17, 2007)


At trial, Mr. Mohammadi denied all the charges brought against him. According to two of the defendants in the case, there was absolutely no evidence against any of them, including Mr. Nader Mohammadi. Even the interrogations produced nothing but confession to two instances of distributing Kurdistan Democratic Party leaflets. According to their statements, none of the four defendants had any knowledge of the Revolutionary Guards member (Mr. Nasser Biglari’s) killing by PEJAK, and the only reason such an accusation was leveled against them was that one of the defendants lived in the same neighborhood as the victim and had a personal enmity against him. Since all four defendants were very close friends, they were all accused of conspiring to kill the Guards member. (ABF Interview). 

The court did not allow Mr. Mohammadi the opportunity to mount an effective defense. He was deprived of the right to retain an attorney of his own choosing, and met his court-appointed lawyer on the day of the trial. The court allowed the court-appointed attorneys to read the 1300-page case file, just two hours prior to the start of the hearing.

Mr. Mohammadi’s court-appointed attorney made reference to the indictment having called the Iranian Kurdistan Democratic Party “defunct”, and stated that, to try the defendants based on the charge of belonging to a party which, according to the indictment, did not exist, was meaningless. He was warned by the Information Ministry representative against defending an opposition party. Another court-appointed lawyer objected to the brevity of the trial, given a voluminous 1300-page case file, and to the hurried adjournment of the hearing, which was met with the judge’s very harsh reply. (ABF Interview).

The Iranian Kurdistan Democratic Party leaders denied the commission of any terrorist acts by the party and its members and declared that they were against all terrorist activities, including those against political and military leaders of the Islamic Republic. (BBC, October 18, 2007).

A Summary of the Defects of Mr. Nader Mohammadi’s Legal Proceedings

  1. Based on published information, Nader Mohammadi’s most significant charge was membership in the Democrat Party. In its ruling, the Revolutionary Court declared this Party dissolved but nevertheless convicted Mohammadi for membership therein, whereas the law specifically states that membership in armed groups will only be considered Moharebeh when the central core of [those groups] remain in existence.  Pursuant to Article 186, “Any group or organized association that takes up arms against the Islamic Rule, all its members and supporters who are aware of the group, association, or organization’s position and conduct activities and effective efforts in any way, in order to advance its objectives, shall be considered Mohareb, even if they do not participate in the military branch, so long as the central core remains in existence.” Now, how could the judge convict Mohammadi for membership in the Democrat Party if he believed that it was dissolved?!
  2. Based on interviews conducted by the Borouand Foundation with individuals with information, Nader Mohammadi had just confessed to distributing leaflets at the investigation stage. No evidence was produced in either the preliminary investigation stage or in court proceedings proving he was involved in terror/assassination, or had carried out armed activities. Since Moharebeh and Efsad fel-Arz are Hadd punishment crimes, it was necessary to obtain convincing evidence of armed activities by the defendant. It seems the court has issued the death sentence without legal evidence and solely based on doubt, uncertainty, and the security officials’ report.
  3. According to Nader Mohammadi’s co-defendant’s statement, he was tortured and persecuted at the Information Administration. Subjecting a defendant to torture and duress is illegal and considered a crime pursuant to Iranian law. Any confession or admission obtained in this manner is also without legal merit. Principle 38 of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Constitution provides in this regard: “All forms of torture for the purpose of extracting confession or acquiring information are forbidden. Compulsion of individuals to testify, confess, or take an oath is not permissible; and any testimony, confession, or oath obtained under duress is devoid of value and credence. Violators of this article shall be punished in accordance with the law.” Furthermore, the Law for Respecting Legitimate Freedoms and Safeguarding Citizens Rights, Paragraph 9 provides: “All forms of torture of the defendant for the purpose of extracting confession or forcing him/her to do other acts are forbidden and confessions obtained in this way are devoid of legal and religious credence.” Additionally, the law considers obtaining confessions through torture a crime, and individuals resorting to such acts as criminals. Therefore, if there existed evidence in his file obtained through torture, the judge had no right to rely upon such evidence.
  4. According to available information, the trial of Mohammadi and the other defendants in the case was conducted in closed door sessions. The trial had lasted less than 25 minutes. The judge had a very aggressive attitude toward the defendants and the attorneys and was not attentive during the trial. Mohammadi’s sentence was carried out quickly and without prior notification, and his body was buried secretly and without his family’s knowledge. The family was notified later. All of this indicates that the proceedings and the implementation of the sentence were unfair in this case. Iranian judicial authorities have acted in complete violation of domestic laws.
  5. According to available information, the time elapsed between the lower court ruling and its upholding by the Supreme Court was approximately 40 days. This in spite of the fact that the process of appealing lower court decisions and their review before an appellate body takes months and /or years in Iran, particularly in similar cases where heavy and complex charges have been brought. Now, the question is why did Iranian judicial authorities acted in such haste in a complex case such as this one? Is it possible to read, analyze, and formulate a decision in the span of 40 days, a few of which were certainly spent transferring the case files from Zahedan to Tehran and on other administrative formalities? The judicial authorities’ hasty act was in complete violation of the existing legal process in Iran. Further, 20 days after the approval of the ruling at the Supreme Court, the sentence was carried out. Such expeditiousness in implementing the sentence is cause for reflection because, upon approval by the Supreme Court, it is necessary that the ruling be communicated to the defendant and the attorney, that the case be sent to the head of the Judiciary for his authorization, then for the file to return to the Sentence Implementation Division, and for the administrative formalities to take place. All these formalities can take months. In a normal state of affairs, it would be impossible for such formalities to be done in 20 days. It seems that judicial authorities have tried to close his file as quickly as possible and execute the defendant.
  6. Based on interviews conducted by the Boroumand Foundation with individuals with information, Nader Mohammadi was deprived of the right to an attorney during interrogations at the Information Administration and at preliminary investigations at the Prosecutor’s Office. Only a short time prior to trial at the revolutionary court was a court-appointed attorney designated for him. The court-appointed attorney did not meet with Mohammadi prior to trial, and was only able to have 2 hours of access to the case file. Pursuant to the Law on the Rules of Criminal Procedure for General and Revolutionary Courts, Note 1 to Article 186, “If in crimes for which the law has mandated the punishments of Qesas of life, execution, stoning, and life imprisonment, the defendant does not personally introduce an attorney, it is mandatory that a court-appointed attorney be designated.” Although Iranian law limits attorney intervention in the preliminary investigations stage, this does not mean that the defendant has absolutely no right to an attorney. Secondly, since having an attorney is mandatory for crimes that carry the death penalty, it is necessary for the attorney to have sufficient time to meet with the client, read the case file, and prepare a defense. In this case, the judicial authorities did not allow the court appointed lawyer to effectively defend Nader Mohammadi.


On August 4, 2007, the Sanandaj Islamic Revolutionary Court Branch Two sentenced Mr. Nader Mohammadi to death by public hanging. According to one of the defendants, they were served with the court decision while in solitary confinement, were shown only the last page thereof, and were told that they had been asked by their attorneys to sign their objection [to the ruling]. On September 16, 2007, this decision was upheld by the Supreme Court Branch 32. On October 6, 2007, the defendants were served with the final judgment while at the Information Ministry detention center solitary confinement cells. (ABF Interview). Mr. Mohammadi was not given the opportunity for a legal second appeal. Four days later, on October 10, 2007, he was hanged in a prison adjacent to the Sanadaj military barracks, along with his cousin Kiumars Mohammadi, in the presence of a number of agents and their families.

Mr. Mohammadi did not expect the sentence to be carried out and thought that the issuance of such a decision was simply to scare him into confessing. (ABF Interview). His body was not turned over to his family. He was buried by [security] agents at Behesht-e-Mohammadi cemetery’s parcel number 10. (Association for the Defense of Women, October 12, 2007). The agents poured concrete on his grave before informing his family of the place of his burial. (ABF Interview). 

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