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

Nazer Molazehi

About

Age: 26
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Islam (Sunni)
Civil Status: Unknown

Case

Date of Killing: October 26, 2013
Location: Zahedan Prison, Zahedan, Sistan Va Baluchestan Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: War on God; Membership of anti-regime guerilla group; Corruption on earth

About this Case

News of the execution of Mr. Nazer Molazehi and 15 other inmates was published by a number of sources, including the Sistan va Baluchestan Judiciary (October 27, 2013,) Fars News Agency (October 26, 2013,) the Central News Unit (October 26, 2013,) and the Human Rights News Agency (December 11, 2013.) Further information on the case was obtained from an audio message recorded by Molazehi and addressed to the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran from inside prison (hereafter referred to as “audio message,”) as well as other sources.

Mr. Molazehi was an unmarried 26-year-old member of Iran’s Baluch minority who resided in Saravan,  Sistan va Baluchestan province (audio message.)

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 and Baluchistan, 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 and Baluchistan.)

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

Agents of the Saravan County Intelligence Office took Molazehi into custody on July 19, 2010 and transferred him to the Intelligence Office detention facility in Zahedan (audio file.) Here he spent ten months in solitary confinement and was subjected to physical and mental torture. In an audio message addressed to the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights, Molazehi recounted “psychological pressure, repeated beatings, and various forms of torture including being tied down to a “miracle bed” device and connected to a 220-volt electric charge.” As a result of such stresses Mr. Molazehi developed a kidney ailment and gastric pains.

On May 21, 2011, Molazehi was relocated to Zahedan Central Prison. On August 20, 2013, he was again placed in solitary confinement for engaging in a hunger strike.

Trial

Branch 1 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Tehran tried Mr. Molazehi in a closed-door session in October of 2011 (audio file.) No information is available regarding the details of the trial session.

Charges

The court accused Mr. Molazehi of “moharebeh (‘war against God’) through membership in the Jundullah* organization and armed action against Iran through martyring Majib Alrahman Raeesi” (audio file.) According to an October 27, 2013 statement from the  Sistan va Baluchestan Prosecutor General, the charges levelled against Molazehi and eight other defendants comprised “moharebeh, corruption on earth through collaboration with the Jundullah group, and effective participation in terrorist incidents in recent years.”

The validity of the criminal charges brought against this defendant cannot be ascertained in the absence of the basic guarantees of a fair trial.

Evidence of guilt

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

Defense

Though information regarding Molazehi’s trial defense is lacking, his audio message indicates that he denied the charges levelled against him, deeming the legal proceedings a “show trial” which had charged him “without any sort of evidence, reason, or witnesses.” In a written letter to UN Special Rapporteur Ahmed Shaheed, he stressed that he had had no involvement with the Jundullah organization, asking: “Given that I’ve been arrested on these charges, do I not have a right to be summoned to a public court session? Do I have a right to have the evidence I’ve been convicted on made clear to me? And if I have done something, is the evidence which perhaps still exists and proves that Majib Alrahman Raeesi was a terrorist not enough to prove that I’m in the right? Why do this country’s judicial authorities not even grant us the right to know what evidence we’re being convicted on?”

Mr. Molazehi reported that he was accused by the court of murdering an individual by the name of Mojib Alrahman Raeesi. While denying the charge, Molazehi maintained that Mr. Raeesi had been an informant of the Intelligence Ministry engaged in a covert mission to assassinate two political-religious figures in Pakistan at the time of his death at Jundullah’s hands. Property registered to Raeesi and displayed by the website Tafetan included “one large-cabin Toyota 1400, three Kalash assault rifles, one RPG, a waist-mounted holster, and a satellite phone” (audio file.)

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”. Referencing the instances of torture to which the defendants were subjected, including “connecting electrical cords to the body, pressing hot irons against the body, hanging weights from delicate body parts, and suspension from the hands and feet,” 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 to find out why their children had been killed. The families believed that the executions represents an extension of ethnic and religious discrimination in Sistan and Baluchistan, stating that “They don’t care about people’s complaints; as soon as people complain, any investigation is cast as a sectarian and ethnic matter and is therefore terminated. Cruelty, tyranny, and torture increase and everybody accepts that they should not complain, that they should be prepared to be arrested, tortured, imprisoned, and executed and think they deserve it… [in our province] articles 19, 32, 36, and 39 of the Constitution have been replaced by the principles of arrest, torture in prison, and execution. People don’t have a voice and if they speak out…they are members of Abdolmalek’s group who have helped the enemies, so the complaint is halted right away.” (HRANA, December 11, 2011)

Judgment

In October 2012, Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court in Zahedan sentenced Mr. Molazehi to death. Zahedan’s Public and Revolutionary Public Prosecutor reported that the sentence was confirmed by judiciary officials without providing further detail (Prosecutor General of Sistan and Baluchistan.)

Mr. Molazehi was hanged along with fifteen other prisoners on October 26, 2013 in Zahedan Central Prison. His execution was conducted in secret and without the observance of proper legal procedures: his lawyer was not provided with prior notification and his family was not granted a final visitation. Molazehi’s body was not turned over to his family. In response to further questioning from family members, the Zahedan Intelligence Office stated that Molazehi and eight other executed prisoners had been buried in a distant location. The family has not been informed of the precise location of the grave (ABF interview.)

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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), Edalatnews ( August 21, 2013), YouTube (October 28, 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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