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

Mohammad Reza Tork

About

Age: 18
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Single

Case

Date of Killing: November 15, 2007
Location: Hamedan, Hamedan Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Murder
Age at time of offense: 16

About this Case

News of the execution of Mr. Mohammad Reza Tork, along with two others, was published on the website of Khabare Jonub and in the Jomhuri Eslami newspapers on November 18, 2007. Additional information was taken from the website of the Student Committee of Human Rights Reporters on November 14 and 18, 2007, ISNA (Iranian Students News Agency) on November 14, 2007, Fars news agency on July 20, 2006, and the Jomhuri Eslami newspaper on February 22, 2006. His case and the cases of three others were related to the murder of three shepherds at the Zamanabad village near Malayer on November 5, 2005. He was 16 years old at the time of the incident.

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. Tork was arrested and transferred to the Hamadan Prison on November 9, 2005 (Student Committee of Human Rights Reporters). After a victim’s relative filed a complaint, the inspectors of Malayer and Hamadan police investigated and arrested nine members of a tribe. After one of the arrested individuals confessed, three others were arrested. Mr. Tork was detained at the Correction and Rehabilitation Center in Hamadan for two years. He was transferred to the Hamadan Public Prison in August of 2007.

Trial

The Criminal Court of Hamadan tried Mr. Tork and the other defendants. The first session began on February 20, 2006 (Jomhuri Eslami newspaper). No information is available on his trial.

Charges

The charge against Mr. Tork was announced as “murdering three children.” According to the existing information, he and his uncle (or grandfather in some reports) and his two other relatives murdered three young shepherds by blows of a knife over tribal disputes at gardens near the Zamanabad Village.

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. Tork was his confession during interrogation and trial, testimonies of locals, the forensics report, and the complaint by the victims’ parents.

International human rights organizations have repeatedly condemned the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran for its systematic use of torture to obtain confessions from detainees and have questioned the authenticity of confessions obtained under duress.

Defense

Mr. Tork was younger than 18 when the incident occurred. According to reports, his uncle (or grandfather) provoked the murders. His attorney was able to make the last defense in court. However, no information is available on his defense.

Judgment

The Criminal Court of Hamadan condemned Mr. Mohammad Reza Tork to death. The ruling was confirmed by Branch 16 of the Supreme Court and the Head of Judiciary on June 19, 2006. He was hanged, along with two other defendants of this case, at the Hamadan Prison yard on November 15, 2007. The fourth defendant of this case was condemned to five years imprisonment for assisting in murders. 

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