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 Reza'i

About

Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Unknown

Case

Date of Killing: October 26, 2013
Location: Zahedan Prison, Zahedan, Sistan Va Baluchestan Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Drug possession; Drug related offense

About this Case

News of the execution of Mr. Hassan Reza’i, son of Mirza, along with 15 others, was published by various sources including the website of the Sistan Va Baluchistan Courthouse on October 27, 2013, Fars news agency and News Central Unit on October 26, 2013, and HRANA (Human Rights Activists News Agency) on December 11, 2013. Additional information was taken from research by the Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation with people close to the victims, and other sources.*

Background

Following an armed attack by Jaish ul-Adl* on a border station in Saravan, Sistan Va Baluchestan (Friday night, October 25, 2013), as a result of which at least 14 border guards were killed and seven injured, the Ministry of Justice of the province reported the execution of 16 prisoners on Saturday, October 26. The Public and Revolutionary Prosecutor of Zahedan referred to the execution of the 16 “villains connected to enemy groups” as “retaliation.” According to the Chief Justice of Sistan Va Baluchestan, the execution of these convicts had been “postponed out of Islamic compassion” but due to Jaish ul-Adl’s assault on provincial border guards and “insistence on cowardly terrorist attacks,” the sentences were at last carried out (Asr-e Hamoon, Fars News Agency.) The convicts had been arrested during the preceding few years and were not connected to Jaish ul-Adl’s armed attack, which took place only a few hours before their execution. They faced various charges across different cases: according to provincial judicial authorities, eight of them had been accused of drug offenses (Ministry of Justice of Sistan Va Baluchestan.)

Human rights organizations and activists called this mass summary execution a “reprisal” and protested against the execution of the prisoners who were not directly connected to the armed attack. Ahmed Shaheed, United Nations Special rapporteur on the Human Rights situation in Iran, called the execution of these people a type of retaliation in-kind and an illegal act according to international human rights laws. Shirin Ebadi, lawyer and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, and Sarah Leah Whitson, Human Rights Watch expert, also considered the execution of the 16 prisoners in retaliation for the border guards’ killing as a violation of legal norms and an indicator of the lack of independence of Iran’s judiciary. Both experts condemned the executions. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, human rights activists, and the International Federation for Human Rights also issued statements protesting the reprisal.

Arrest and detention

The circumstances of Mr. Reza’i’s arrest and detention are not known.

Trial

No information is available on Mr. Reza’i’s trial.

Charges

According to the Sistan Va Baluchistan Courthouse, the charges brought against Mr. Reza’i were announced as “transportation and possession of 20 kilograms of heroin.”  

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). Thousands of alleged drug traffickers have been sentenced to death following judicial processes that fail to meet international standards. Scores of them were executed based on a 1989 law imposing mandatory death sentences on drug traffickers found in possession of specified amounts of proscribed narcotics (5 kg of hashish or opium, and more than 30 grams of heroin, codeine or methadone). The exact number of people convicted based on trumped-up charges is unknown.

Evidence of guilt

The report of this execution did not provide any specific information on the evidence presented against Mr. Reza’i.

Defense

No information is available on Mr. Reza’i’s defense.

The families of some of the executed prisoners addressed a letter to Ayatollah Khamenei. Referring to the statement of the Deputy Prosecutor of Zahedan in his meeting with the families, they wrote “You killed 16 of us, so we will kill 16 of you, too”. They protested the violation of the rights of the defendants and asked for “a special team to be sent to investigate the issue, to talk to the prisoners about their torture and to the families of the executed prisoners and find out why their children had been executed.” (HRANA, December 11, 2011)

Judgment

A court condemned Mr. Hassan Reza’i to death. No specific information is available about the court that ordered this execution. According to the Revolutionary Public Prosecutor of Zahedan, the judicial authorities confirmed the ruling; however, no details were specified regarding the court branch or the time of the confirmation. (Sistan Va Baluchistan Courthouse)

Mr. Reza’i was hanged, along with 15 others, in Zahedan Central Prison on October 26, 2013. His execution was sudden and without the legal procedure such as informing his attorney or arranging a last visitation with his family. No information is available whether the body was given to the family.

According to Public Prosecutor of Zahedan, the execution of Mr. Reza’i and 15 others had been in “retaliation” for the military operation by Jondollah** in the Saravan area a day earlier. (Fars news agency)

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*Sources: Human Rights Activists for Democracy in Iran (September 14, 2013), Asrehamoon (October 26, 2013), Jaish ul-Adl weblog (October 26, 2013), ISNA (October 26, 2013), HRANA (September 13, 2012; October 27, 2013), Radio Farda (October 27, 2013), Deutsche Welle (October 30, 2013).
** The Popular Resistance Movement of Iran, known as Jondollah, was established in 2003. This group declared its goal as the struggle for achieving the religious and national rights of Baluch and Sunni people in Sistan Va Baluchestan province in Iran and emphasized that it is not a separatist group. In 2005, this group began a series of military operations against Islamic Republic forces during which dozens of the regime’s forces were captured or killed. In response, the Islamic Republic arrested and executed dozens of members of this group; military operations continue in Sistan Va Baluchestan. In an interview with the media outside of Iran, the leader of this group, Abdolmalek Rigi, rejected the government’s labels of “terrorist” and “foreign agent” and claimed that they began their struggle against the Islamic Republic to replace it with “a popular regime that recognizes the rights of all humans.” The news of this arrest was published by the Intelligence Ministry of Iran on February 23, 2010, and the circumstance of his arrest is yet unknown. Abdolmalek Rigi was hanged in the Evin prison on June 20, 2010. In early 2011 a number of Jondollah’s members under the leadership of Sallahudin Farroughi established the Jaish ul-Adl organization, implementing organizational and structural changes and reconsidering some of their former methods. Jaish ul-Adl describes itself as a Sunni group emphasizing “federalism for Iran and self-rule for Baluchistan” as well as “armed struggle against the Islamic Republic.”

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