Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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 Killing: October 10, 2007
Location of Killing: 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

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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