Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Shahab Karimi


Age: 28
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Islam
Civil Status: Married


Date of Killing: April 13, 2015
Location of Killing: Central Prison (Nedamatgah), Karaj, Alborz Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Drug trafficking; Drug related offense
Age at time of alleged offense: 23

About this Case

Shahab Karimi spent four years of his childhood at the prison with his mother

News of Mr. Shahab Karimi’s execution was published by the IRIB News (April 13, 2015) and on the Alborz Province Judiciary’s website (April 14, 2015). Additional information was obtained through the Boroumand Foundation’s research and interviews with people with knowledge of the case.

Based on available information, Mr. Shahab Karimi was a married man, born on July 19, 1988 in [the city of] Arak. In 1991, when he was just three years old, his father was executed in Arak on drug trafficking charges. He, along with his brother and sister, spent a few of their childhood years in [the city of] Karaj’s Rajaishahr Prison with their mother, who had also been arrested on drug charges. Mr. Karimi quit school after fifth grade and started to work in an auto mechanic shop out of necessity in order to help out his poor family. Mr. Karimi had a prior record of hospitalization at Razi (Aminabad) Mental Institution and carried a red card (reserved for acute mental patients).

Mr. Karimi’s case is related to a collective case of drug production and distribution. (Boroumand Foundation research). 

Arrest and detention

On December 15, 2011, subsequent to an automobile chase, Mr. Karimi was arrested by Information Ministry forces at the Sattar Khan Street traffic light while he had gotten out of the car and was hiding. Several of Mr. Karimi’s co-defendants were arrested that same day in several different locations. He was alone in his car when security forces gave him chase.

Mr. Karimi was detained at the Karaj Information Administration for a month and a half where he underwent interrogations, was subsequently transferred to Qezelhessar Prison on January 29, 2012, and after a short while, to Karaj Central Prison where he spent more than three years. A few months after his arrest, Mr. Karimi got married over the phone by giving power of attorney to his mother, and had in person visitations with his wife for one hour a month for a year and a half. During that period, he had cabin visitations once a week for 15 minutes with the rest of his family. (Boroumand Foundation research).


No information is available on Mr. Karimi’s trial, but based on available information, his case was adjudicated by Karaj District One General and Revolutionary Court Branch 13 in several sessions and in the presence of his attorney. Mr. Shahab Karimi and his co-defendants’ last trial session took place on October 31, 2012, and was presided over by judge Seyyed Mussa Assefalhosseini. (Boroumand Foundation research).


Mr. Karimi was charged with “complicity in the manufacture and production of 6 kilograms of psychotropic substances, namely methamphetamines.” (Boroumand Foundation research).

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

Based on available information, the amount of around 6 kilograms of meth that was recovered from two of Mr. Shahab Karimi’s co-defendants at the time of their arrest was also used against Mr. Karimi as evidence of the crime. Mr. Karimi was not carrying drugs or anything else [that could be considered] evidence of a crime at the time of his arrest. (Boroumand Foundation research).


Mr. Karimi stated in his own defense that he was a simple worker and had only worked for three months at the drugs production shop, and that the drugs produced did not belong to him.

Documents pertaining to Mr. Karimi’s mental illness, consisting of the dates of his hospitalization at the Razi (Aminabad) Mental Institution from May 22, 2007, to June 28, 2007, as well as his red card, were submitted to the Court for its consideration. The Court did not pay any attention thereto, however, and did not send him to be examined by the Medical Examiner, simply contenting itself with a single question and answer with the defendant. Mr. Karimi’s attorney was present at the trial sessions but the details of his defense of his client are not available. (Boroumand Foundation research).


On October 31, 2012, the judge sentenced Mr. Shahab Karimi to death. His attorney appealed the sentence; the sentence was, however, upheld at the appellate stage. Mr. Karimi’s sentence was carried out on April 13, 2015, and he was executed along with eight other individuals, including three of his co-defendants. (IRIB News, April 13, 2015), (Alborz Province Judiciary’s website, April 14, 2015).

An eyewitness, who had counted the bodies, declared the number of individuals executed that day to be 11, one of whom was Mr. Shahab Karimi. Mr. Karimi’s body was turned over to his family for burial; he was interred at [the town of] Malard’s Emamzadeh Ebrahim’s Behesht-e Golzar Cemetery, Section 2, Row 17. (Boroumand Foundation research).

Mr. Karimi had an in person visitation with his wife two days prior to the implementation of the sentence. He visited with the rest of the family members in person, one day prior to the sentence being carried out. On the night before the execution, Mr. Karimi’s family and other families who had been taken to the prison quarantine for sentence implementation, gathered in front of the prison and prayed. According to an eyewitness, prison officials had told the families that there were no plans to execute any prisoners that night and had asked them to leave the premises. However, the families had remained in front of Karaj’s Central Prison until 7 o’clock in the morning. According to a person with knowledge of the case, Karaj Prosecutor had said: “Since the families have decided to rebel, we will not wait until tomorrow and we will execute them tonight.” The next morning, three Mercedes Benz [minivans] sped out of the prison compound, with the families following them to the entrance of Qezelhessar Prison. According to an eyewitness, Mr. Karimi’s family and the other families saw a truck equipped with an ambulatory freezer come out of Qezelhessar Prison’s large gate and leave the premises. The families then followed the truck, thinking that the prisoners were being transferred elsewhere to be executed; arriving at Karaj’s Kamalshahr Behesht Sakineh Cemetery, however, they saw the dead bodies of their loved ones laid down on the ground and realized that the sentence had already been carried out. (Boroumand Foundation research and interview).

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