Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Behnaz Foruzandeh Del


Age: 32
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Islam (Sunni)
Civil Status: Married


Date of Killing: October 10, 2010
Location of Killing: Central Prison, Qazvin, Zanjan Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Drug trafficking

About this Case

News of the execution of Ms. Behnaz Foruzandeh Del was published on the website of Zanjan Provincial Courthouse on October 10, 2010. Additional information was gathered from an interview by the Boroumand Foundation with Ms. Zeinab Bayazidi*, a cellmate of Ms. Foruzandehdel.

Ms. Foruzandeh Del, 32, was a homemaker, a Kurd, and a resident of Orumieh. She was married with a twelve-year-old daughter. According to her cellmate, she was very kind and to some degree naïve. She always had a smile and helped other prisoners. However, after her sentence, she became nervous easily. Once before, she had been arrested along with her mother in Zanjan; however, they both were exonerated. (Interview with ABF)

Arrest and detention

Ms. Foruzandeh Del was arrested, along with her brother, on the road between Tehran and Zanjan in March of 2009. According to her, she was pregnant when arrested; however, her pregnancy was aborted due to the harsh treatment of officials and she was hospitalized during her first 20 days of detention. She was transferred to the Zanjan Central Prison either on March 31, or April 1, 2009. The court rejected her request for transfer to the Orumieh Prison and she was detained in the Zanjan Central Prison until her execution. (Interview with ABF)   


The Revolutionary Court of Zanjan tried Ms. Foruzandeh Del in 2010. No information is available on her trial or whether her appointed attorney was present. (Interview with ABF)


The charge against Ms. Foruzandeh Del was transportation of 2 kilograms and 711 grams of heroin. (Zanjan Provincial Courthouse)

The validity of the criminal charges brought against this defendant cannot be ascertained in the absence of the basic guarantees of a fair trial.  International human rights organizations have drawn attention to reports indicating that Islamic Republic authorities have brought trumped-up charges against their political opponents and executed them for alleged drug trafficking, sexual, and other criminal offences. Thousands of alleged drug traffickers have been sentenced to death following judicial processes that fail to meet international standards. Scores of them were executed based on a 1989 law imposing mandatory death sentences on drug traffickers found in possession of specified amounts of proscribed narcotics (5 kg of hashish or opium, and more than 30 grams of heroin, codeine or methadone). The exact number of people convicted based on trumped-up charges is unknown.

Evidence of guilt

According to her cellmate, the evidence presented against Ms. Foruzandeh Del was the recovered narcotics when arrested and her confession. (Interview with ABF)  


No information is available on Ms. Foruzandeh Del's defense or her attorney.  According to her cellmate, the arresting agents asked her to be silent about her abortion during the arrest in exchange for a reduction in her punishment. She accepted all charges trusting what agents told her and in order to exonerate her brother. She even denied her religion as a Sunni and pretended to be a Shi’a when entering the Women’s Prison hoping to reduce her sentence. (Interview with ABF)


The Islamic Revolutionary Court of Zanjan condemned Ms. Behnaz Foruzandeh Del to death for transporting narcotics. According to the website of Zanjan Provincial Courthouse, the General Public Prosecutor confirmed the ruling. She was hanged, along with three others, at the Zanjan Central Prison yard on October 9, 2010 at dawn, without the presence of her attorney or her family. According to her cellmate, she was not informed of her execution time. On the day before, after visiting with her brother, Ms. Foruzandeh Del and five other women had been taken to the Quarantine Section of the prison on the pretence to transfer them to the Narcotics Men's Section. The next day, Ms. Foruzandeh Del was forcefully taken to the gallows. According to her cellmate, she insisted to talk to her daughter but this was not allowed. (Interview with ABF) Her body was given to her family for burial and mourning. She was buried in Orumieh.      


*On July 9, 2008, Ms. Zeinab Bayazidi, a Kurdish women’s rights activist, was condemned to four years imprisonment in addition to six months imprisonment in Maragheh for “propaganda against the regime, membership in Mothers Reconciliation Association in Mahabad, and having connections with the Kurdish parties.” She was released after completing her sentence on November 20, 2012. 

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