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

Hassan Mozafari

About

Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Single

Case

Date of Killing: July 22, 2008
Location: Central Prison, Bushehr, Bushehr Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Rape
Age at time of offense: Under 18

About this Case

News of the execution of Mr. Hassan Mozafari and two other prisoners was published on the websites of the General Office of Bushehr Prisons, quoting the Public Relations Office of Bushehr Prisons Nasir Boushehr and Sook (July 22, 2008.) Additional information was taken from websites of Aryanews (October 28, 2007,) IRNA (May 29, 2007,) and Peigham Weekly (September 16 and 17, 2006; May 27, 28, and 29, 2007.) Reports were additionally published by the Amirkabir newsletter quoting a November 12, 2008 statement by the Defenders of Human Rights as well as Amnesty International (July 29, 2008.)

The case of Mr. Mozafari and nine others pertained to the July 2006 kidnapping and rape of a female student from Shiraz who was studying in Bushehr. According to reports, Mozafari and one other defendant were younger than 18 at the time of the incident. 

International laws strictly prohibit the use of capital punishment against those under the age of 18 at the time of committing a crime. As a party to the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Iran is bound to abstain from capital punishment in the cases of such juvenile offenders.

Arrest and detention

Mr. Mozafari and eight others were arrested in July of 2006 following a complaint filed by a female student in Bushehr claiming that she had been kidnapped and raped by seven young men, four of them residents of the Chahkutah Village, in a wooded area at the community’s outskirts. One person escaped arrest. Mr. Mozafari was detained at Borj Prison in Bushehr for two years. The circumstances of his arrest and detention are not known. 

Trial

The Criminal Court of Bushehr tried Mr. Mozafari and the other defendants in July of 2006. No information is available regarding the trial.

Charges

According to the Head of the Public Relations Office of Bushehr Prisons, the charge brought against Mr. Mozafari and five other defendants was announced as “rape” (Bushehr and Sook.)

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 authorities in the Islamic Republic have brought trumped-up charges (including drug trafficking, sexual crimes, and other criminal offences,) against their opponents (including political, labor, and civil society activists as well as 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 such trumped-up charges is unknown.

Evidence of guilt

The evidence presented against Mr. Mozafari was “the complaint by the victim and confessions by defendants.” He had confessed to committing the crime during his trial.

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. Mozafari was younger than 18 at the time of the crime’s commission. After the rulings were issued, families of the defendants gathered in front of the Bushehr Courthouse objecting to the legal procedure and demanding that the sentences be halted. According to the mother of one defendant, most of those accused (including her son) were younger than 18. Regarding the kidnapping charge, she claimed that the girl went with the defendants into the woods voluntarily. This mother objected to the public defender’s role and the rapid pace of the court proceedings. The sister of another defendant emphasized that her brother was younger than 18 and claimed that the rulings had been handed down under outside influence. Protesters claimed that they were losing their children because of their inability to defend their rights. According to an attorney who was present and familiar with the case, the legal procedure for the six defendants was not thorough. Because the attorneys did not accept these cases and no skilled attorney was present, the defendants lost out on opportunities to defend themselves. Additionally, the insufficiency of the information released by the court meant that several rumors against the accused spread through the town, prejudicing public opinion and making a fair trial impossible. These protesting families distributed a text attesting to the consent of the victim’s family among the judicial authorities, the media, and general public. Due to the objection of the defendants to the rulings, their cases were referred to the Appeals Court (Peigham Weekly) 

Judgment

The Criminal Court of Bushehr condemned Mr. Mozafari to death. The Supreme Court and Head of the Judiciary confirmed the ruling. Mozafari and two others were hanged in Bushehr Prison on Tuesday, July 22, 2008 in the presence of judges, the prison warden, and the Chief of Police.

According to media reports, the execution of six defendants had been postponed three times because of their families’ objections over legal procedure and petitions to the Head of the Judiciary. Because of these objections, the Security Council of the province coordinated with the judiciary to carry out the execution orders separately on different dates. Mr. Pejman was hanged in Bushehr Central Prison on May 29, 2007; two other defendants, Ali Khoramnejad and Behruz Zanganeh, were hanged on October 28, 2007 at the same facility. The other defendants were condemned to various other sentences including imprisonment, exile, and lashing in accordance with their charges.

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