Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

https://www.iranrights.org
Omid, a memorial in defense of human rights in Iran
One Person’s Story

Seyed Reza Hejazi

About

Age: 20
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Single

Case

Date of Killing: August 19, 2008
Location of Killing: Esfahan Prison, Esfahan, Esfahan Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Murder
Age at time of alleged offense: 15

About this Case

News of the execution of Mr. Seyed Reza Hejazi was published in the E’temad Melli newspaper and on the website of Ebrat news agency on August 19, 2008, and in the Kargozaran newspaper on August 20, 2008. Additional information was taken from interviews with his brother and his attorney by the Voice of America on August 18, 2008, his attorney’s interview with the Deutsche Welle website on August 20, 2008, Mohammad Mostafavi’s weblog on August 18 and 19, 2008, and the E’temad Melli newspaper on September 1, 2008. His case was related to the murder of an adolescent boy at Isargaran Park in Esfahan during a collective fight on September 19, 2003. Mr. Hejazi was 15 years old at the time of the incident.

In objecting to the execution of Mr. Hejazi, and for pursuing a pardon from the victim’s family, many efforts were made. Additionally, over one thousand people from all parts of the society wrote a letter to the Head of Judiciary objecting to the execution of adolescents. (E’temad Melli newspaper)

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

Mr. Hejazi was arrested, along with others who participated in the fight, after a police investigation. According to his brother, Mr. Hejazi was beaten to confess during the interrogation, and his foot was blackened because of lashes (his brother’s interview with Voice of America). He was detained for five years. He was transferred to solitary confinement on August 18, 2008 when he visited his family for the last time. The circumstances of his arrest and detention are not known. 

Trial

Branch 106 of the Criminal Court of Esfahan tried Mr. Hejazi. No information is available on his trial.

Charges

The charge brought against Mr. Hejazi was announced as “murder.” According to the existing reports, he and his friends went to a park for recreation when two individuals were fighting. When they tried to separate them when someone was stabbed and died after being transferred to the hospital.  

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 the Islamic Republic authorities have brought trumped-up charges, including drug trafficking, sexual, and other criminal offences, against their opponents (including political, civil society activists, as well as unionists and ethnic and religious minorities). Each year Iranian authorities sentence to death hundreds of alleged common criminals, following judicial processes that fail to meet international standards. The exact number of people convicted and executed based on trumped-up charges is unknown.

Evidence of guilt

The evidence presented against Mr. Hejazi was his “confession,” the forensics’ report, and the complaint by the victim’s parents. Additionally, his participation in a similar charge in the past was also considered in evidence against him. (Ebrat news agency)

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.

Defense

Mr. Hejazi was younger than 18 when the incident occurred. According to his attorney, the death penalty for those who commit a crime when they are under 18 years old is not legal. The murder took place in a collective fight and was not planned. Also, the defendant stated that he did not intend to kill during all investigation sessions. During the early period of the investigation, Mr. Hejazi was denied access to an attorney due to financial restrictions and had to have a public defender; however, he was able to select his attorney when the case was referred to the Head of judiciary. Mr. Hejazi objected to the ruling and his case was referred to Branch 28 of the Supreme Court located in Mashhad. But the judges of this branch confirmed the ruling without paying attention to his age and the fact that the Children’s Court must try him. (his brother’s interview with Voice of America and Mohammad Mostafavi’s weblog).

Judgment

Branch 106 of the Criminal Court of Esfahan condemned Mr. Seyed Reza Hejazi to death based on Section B of Article 206 of the Islamic Penal Code. Branch 28 of the Supreme Court and the Head of Judiciary confirmed the ruling. He was hanged in Esfahan Central Prison on August 18, 2008 at 11 a.m. According to his attorney, he and his family were not informed. On the day of his execution at 8 a.m. when the attorney and the family of Mr. Hejazi went to the Esfahan Prison, the prison authorities and the judge of Sentence Enforcement told them the execution of the ruling had been stopped. Therefore, the family and the attorney left the prison happily. However, they received news of the execution in the media several hours later.  

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