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

Soleiman Miaii

About

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

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. Soleiman Miaii was reported by a number of sources including the Prosecutor General of Sistan Va Baluchestan (October 27, 2013,) Kurdpa (October 29, 2013,) the Baluch Activists’ Campaign (October 30, 2013,) and HRANA (October 28, 2013.) Further information on the case was obtained from an interview conducted by the Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation with a relative of Mr. Miaii (ABF interview) and other sources.*

Mr. Miaii was a young Baluch and native of Chabahar in Iran’s Sistan Va Baluchestan province. He was married and the father of two young children. He was a seminarian studying hadith in his final year at the Sunni Harmin and Sharfin madrasah in Chabahar; apart from these scholarly activities he also served as the Imam at a local mosque. According to a source close to Mr. Miaii, he was a pious person of calm demeanor and held no extremist sectarian views. He was no affiliated with any political group (ABF interview.)

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

According to comments made by a source close to Mr. Miaii, he was taken into custody by agents of the Intelligence Ministry while returning home from school in mid-winter 2010 in the course of mass arrests made following the Taso’ah bombings of December 15 (ABF interview.) He was freed a week after the initial arrest; three days later, however, he was again taken into custody, where he would spend four months in solitary confinement in an Intelligence detention facility under physical and mental torture. Here he was deprived of the right to contact his family and lawyer. After being transferred to Zahedan prison he was granted permission for a 20-minute in-person meeting before prison officials with his mother, father, and wife (ABF interview.)

In October-November 2012, following inmate protests against degrading treatment from prison staff which ended with the violent intervention of the special guard, Mr. Miaii was relocated to Khorramabad prison. Owing to the distance and difficulty of travel, it became practically impossible for the family to visit their child: their requests to have Mr. Miaii transferred a closer facility were denied by authorities in the case (Baluch Activists’ Campaign.)

Trial

Branch 1 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Zahedan sentenced Mr. Miaii in a closed session. No precise information is available on trial sessions.

Charges

The court found Mr. Miaii guilty of “membership and collaboration with the Jundullah organization” (ABF interview.) A statement from the Sistan Va Baluchestan Prosecutor General details the charges brought against Mr. Miaii and seven other codefendants as “moharebeh (‘war against God,’) corruption on earth through collaboration with and membership in Jundullah, and effective participation in terrorist incidents in the province in recent years” (October 27, 2013.) 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

There is no precise information regarding the evidence presented at trial.

Defense

No official information is available on Mr. Miaii’s defense. According to a source close to him, he did not have a lawyer of his choosing and maintained his innocence and denied the charges brought against him in meetings with family, including any sort of communication or collaboration with the Jundullah organization. Per comments made by two members of Mr. Miaii’s family in interviews with ABF, as well as reporting by the Baluch Activists’ Campaign, the reason for Mr. Miaii’s arrest was his brother’s membership in and activities with Jundullah. Intelligence agents had told his family that Mr. Miaii would be released on the condition that his brother was returned and presented to authorities.

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 represent an extension of ethnic and religious discrimination in Sistan Va Baluchestan, 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

Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court in Zahedan sentenced Mr. Soleiman Miaii to execution. Iran’s Supreme Court confirmed the sentence on July 28, 2013 (HRANA.)Mr. Miaii was put to death on October 27, 2013 in Khorramabad’s Parsilon Prison. The execution was conducted in secret and without observing proper legal procedures such as notifying his lawyer or a final visit with family. A source close to Mr. Miaii reported that he gave word of his execution to his family the night before his sentence was carried out (ABF interview.) His body was not turned over to his family, who was also not informed of the location of his burial. A statement from the Prosecutor General of Sistan Va Baluchestan announced the execution of Mr. Miaii and 15 other prisoners to have taken place on October 26 in Zendan Central Prison (October 27, 2013.)

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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), ‌Baloch Campaign (October 27, 2015), Kurdpa (October 26, 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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