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

Mosleh Zamani

About

Age: 23
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Single

Case

Date of Killing: December 17, 2009
Location of Killing: Central Prison (Dizelabad), Kermanshah, Kermanshah Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Rape
Age at time of offense: 17

About this Case

The 17-year-old Kurd who was executed for a love affair with a 27-year-old woman.

The execution of Mr. Mosleh Zamani was reported by several sources including BBC Persian (December 17, 2009), Jaras (December 18, 2009), VOA (December 18,2009), the United States Department of State (March 11, 2010), and Amnesty International (December 17, 2009).

Additional information regarding this matter was obtained from interviews of Mr. Zamani’s family by BBC Persian, the TV program RahaiZan (The Organization for Emancipation of Woman,) and other sources*.

Mr. Zamani was a young, unmarried Kurd from Dadaneh, a village in the central district of Sanandaj county. He was 17 years old at the time of the incident.

International law strictly prohibits the death penalty for people who commit a crime under 18 years of age. As a member of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Iran is legally obligated not to execute anyone for crimes committed as a minor.

The issuance and execution of Mr. Zamani’s sentence provoked many domestic and international reactions owing to his young age and the nature of the allegations in the case. The European Union, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch issued separate statements condemning the execution. Amnesty International accused Iran of violating the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. In July 2007 (after the ruling became final) and in December 2009 (before the execution), following the request of the Committee To Save Mosleh Zamani from Execution dozens of civil activists, citizens of Sanandaj, and residents of Zamani’s village gathered in front of the Ministry of Justice building in Sanandaj holding placards. They signed a petition objecting to the sentence and demanded that the execution be overturned. (HRANA, Iranians of England)

Arrest and detention

Sanandaj law enforcement officials arrested Mr. Zamani in 2003 while he was with his girlfriend near Sanandaj and transferred him to Sanandaj Prison (BBC). He would spend six years in Sanandaj Central Prison. In December 2009, a few days before the execution, he was transferred to solitary confinement in Dizel Abad, Kermanshah (VOA). The circumstances of the defendant’s arrest and detention are not known.

He was 17 at the time of his arrest.

Trial

Branch 103 of the Sanandaj Criminal Court tried Mr. Zamani in 2005. According to an interview with Zamani’s brother, the court didn’t allow his family to be present in the courtroom (Amnesty International). No information is available regarding the defendant’s trial.

Charges

Available information indicates that Mr. Zamani was accused of raping his girlfriend (Amnesty Internation). According to his sister, the court also accused Mr. Zamani of “sedition” (Persian BBC, Amnesty International).

The validity of the criminal charges brought against this defendant cannot be ascertained in the absence of basic guarantees of fair trial. International Human Rights organizations have drawn attention to reports indicating that Islamic Republic authorities have brought trumped-up charges against political opponents and executed them on pretexts of drug trafficking, sexual, and other criminal offences. Thousands of people have been sentenced to death following judicial processes that have failed to meet international standards. The exact number of people convicted based on such fabricated charges is unknown.

Evidence of guilt

According to Mr. Zamani’s sister, the affidavit prepared locally against Zamani by three villagers was the warrant for the court’s verdict (Persian BBC). According to Amnesty International, Mr. Zamani and his girlfriend reported that that they had sexual intercourse with mutual consent.

Mr. Zamani and his girlfriend had emphasized before the judge that they had sexual intercourse with mutual consent. The judge did not accept their claim, saying “He should be executed to serve as a lesson for other Iranian young people”.

The report of this execution does not contain information regarding the evidence provided against the defendant.

Defense

According to a release by Amnesty International, Mr. Zamani’s trial was not fair and judicial officials failed to allot him proper time to defend himself. According to his sister, Mr. Zamani’s girlfriend announced to the court that she had no complaint against him. According to Amnesty International, Mr. Zamani and his girlfriend had emphasized before the judge that they had sexual intercourse with mutual consent. The judge did not accept their claim, saying “He should be executed to serve as a lesson for other Iranian young people”.

On December 14, 2009, after the ruling became final, Mr. Zamani’s girlfriend’s letter of consent was presented to judicial authorities for the second time in order to prevent his execution. It had no effect. Mr. Zamani’s request for pardon was rejected by the court (Rozhane). In an interview with the BBC, Mr. Zamani’s sister said that a forensic expert had confirmed that Zamani and his girlfriend had had no sexual contact (BBC Persian).  

Lawyer Abdolfattah Soltan: Even if the charge was raping and the plaintiff had consented, executing the convicted is unfounded. The plaintiff has consented; it is assumed that if the rape was done “by force”, she wouldn’t have consented. 

Mr. Zamani’s brother reports that his brother’s only crime was loving a 27-year-old widow. He asked, “Which law accepts the execution of a 17-year-old boy for loving a 27-year-old woman?” (Rahaizan Tv).

Legal criticism

Lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani’s December 18, 2009 comments to Deutsche Well provide critical legal background on the case:

“There is no such crime as sedition in the law of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Just last year, when there was a discussion about confronting seditionists, it was mentioned that no such offense exists in the law. Traditionally speaking it’s possible to call someone a seditionist who has committed one or several crimes such as extortion or knifing - but this is not possible from a legal point of view. It is not in the law and on the basis of criminal law it is not correct to rely on tradition. According to Article 36 of the constitution, any act of crime must be defined in the law. But, unfortunately, there is a new trend which is illegal and unethical: they confront a person as a seditionist and accuse him of Moharebe (waging war against God) and Afsad-e-fel-arz (corruption on earth) and sentence him severely.” Even if the charge was raping and the plaintiff had consented, executing the convicted is unfounded. The plaintiff has consented; it is assumed that if the rape was done “by force”, she wouldn’t have consented. This means that she mistakenly filed a rape complaint, unless it is proven with evidence - which is highly unlikely because at least two witnesses would have had to have seen the rape. In this case it would have to have demonstrated in a different way, which is highly unlikely”.

Judgment

Based on Article 105** of the Islamic penal code, Branch 103 of Sanandaj’s Criminal Court sentenced Mr. Zamani to execution. In July 2007, Branch 27 of the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence (Amnesty International, HRANA.)

In December 2009, Mr. Zamani was transferred to Dizel Abad, Kermanshah. His execution – originally slated for December 11, 2009 - was postponed due to Mr. Zamani’s medical condition.

On the morning of December 17, 2009, Mr. Zamani was finally executed along with four other people in the yard of the prison in Dizel Abad, Kermanshah.

Zamani was 23 years old at the time of the execution.

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* Other sources: HRANA (December 16, 2009), Rozhane (December 15, 2009), The Association in Defense of Political Prisoners and Human Rights in Iran (July 11, 2007), TV Program Rahaizan (July 17, 2007), Radiofarda (December 18, 2009), England Iranian (January 21, 2009), Amnesty International (December 16, 2009), (Deutsche Welle, December 18,2009)
** Article 105 -Although the judge is required to state the evidence on which his knowledge relies, he may make a judgement in both haqolah (God’s claims) and haqonas (people’s claims) according to his knowledge and execute punishment. Execution of punishment in cases where God’s claims are violated shall not be subject to any personal request; however, when people’s claims are violated, the execution of the punishment shall be subject to the request of the plaintiff.

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