Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

Omid, a memorial in defense of human rights in Iran
One Person’s Story

Ali Reza Madadpur


Age: 38
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Islam
Civil Status: Single


Date of Killing: August 27, 2016
Location of Killing: Central Prison (Nedamatgah), Karaj, Alborz Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Drug possession
Age at time of alleged offense: 34

About this Case

Alireza Madadpur, a senior student of accounting, was hired as a janitor to provide for his family and his education.

News of  Mr. Ali Reza Madadpur’s execution was published on the Boroumand Foundation website (August 27, 2016), and by HRANA (August 27, 2016). Additional information about this case was obtained from research and interviews conducted by the Boroumand Foundation and from HRANA’s report (August 26, 2016).

According to available information, Mr. Ali Reza Madadpur, son of Bayramali, was born on June 20, 1978. He was single and resided in the city of Karaj. He came from a poor family. His father, who was a simple laborer, had become unable to make a living following a work accident. Mr. Madadpur was an accounting student in his senior year in college and performed manual labor in order to pay for his educational expenses and to provide for himself and his family.

The case against Mr. Madadpur was based on the discovery of illicit drugs at a house in Karaj’s Fardis neighborhood where he had gone for the first time to perform janitorial and custodial work (Boroumand Foundation research).

Further, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran issued an appeal to Iranian authorities to stop the implementation of the death sentence issued for 12 drug-related defendants, including Mr. Madadpur (U.N. website, August 26, 2016).

Arrest and Detention

Mr. Madadpur and two other individuals were arrested on the morning of November 12, 2011, by Police Force Drug Enforcement agents and Information Administration agents in the Fardis neighborhood, Karaj, Alborz Province. Mr. Madadpur spent a few weeks being interrogated at the Drug Information office in Karaj’s Azimieh neighborhood, during which time the authorities kept his family in the dark about his whereabouts. Mr. Madadpur’s family did not even know that he had been arrested.

He had gone to a house for the first time to do some janitorial work but was arrested even before he had started the job.

After the period of interrogation, Mr. Madadpur was transferred to Karaj Central Prison and was then able to inform his family of his arrest. According to a witness, he had lost so much weight during interrogations that he “looked like a skeleton.” Mr. Madadpur was deprived of his right to an attorney during interrogations and during detention. He could not afford to hire an attorney due to poverty. A few days prior to his trial, the court appointed a lawyer for him. Mr. Madadpur had become addicted to drugs while in college, an addiction he kicked while in prison (Boroumand Foundation interview with a person with knowledge of the case).


According to available information, Mr. Madadpur’s trial took place on July 17, 2012, at Karaj Islamic Revolutionary Court Branch Four, presided over by Judge Farajollahi. The session, where four defendants including Mr. Madadpur were tried, lasted only 20 minutes. Mr. Madadpur’s court-appointed attorney was present at the trial (Boroumand Foundation interview with a person with knowledge of the case).


The charges against Mr. Madadpur were “possession of drugs, and possession of drug manufacturing paraphernalia”.

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 charges against Mr. Madadpur were based on the discovery of 990 grams of methamphetamine along with manufacturing paraphernalia at the location of the arrest, and the evidence against the other defendants was their confession at the interrogation stage.

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.


According to available information, Mr. Madadpur never accepted the charges brought against him and emphasized in interrogations that he had not gone to the house for purposes of manufacturing drugs. The residents of the house were themselves asleep, and no drugs were manufactured during the two hours Mr. Madadpur was there. All three other defendants testified in the different stages of adjudication, including at trial, that he had no part in manufacturing drugs, and confirmed Mr. Madadpur’s statements. Mr. Madadpur had no prior criminal record and had never been arrested; no evidence whatsoever of any connection to the residents of the house was produced at trial. In addition, subsequent to the court finding him guilty, Mr. Madadpur’s co-defendants wrote letters from inside prison confirming that they did not know him and that he had played no part in manufacturing the drugs discovered at the house (Boroumand Foundation interview with a person with knowledge of the case, Court Decision, Boroumand Foundation research).

Mr. Madadpur’s co-defendants testified in the court and wrote letters from inside prison confirming that they did not know him and that he had played no part in manufacturing the drugs but the Judge did not take it into consideration.

Mr. Madadpur was deprived of the right to an effective defense. His court-appointed attorney was designated at most two weeks prior to trial and had no meetings with Madadpur whatsoever during that time. The lawyer did not have the opportunity to speak at trial and to defend his client, and was only able to read aloud the brief he had written (Boroumand Foundation interview with a person with knowledge of the case).

Prison authorities also presented to the court a letter certifying Mr. Madadpur’s good behavior, and emphasized that during his five-year incarceration, he regularly participated in Koran classes and mass prayer, that he was an effective member of the prison’s drug rehabilitation society, and that he had thus helped many young people in jail to kick their drug addiction (Prison records, Boroumand Foundation research).

Mr. Madadpur had retained an attorney during the review trial which followed his attorney’s protest of the original verdict. According to available documents, his attorney emphasized Mr. Madadpur’s innocence citing the law (Boroumand Foundation interview with a person with knowledge of the case).

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.

A Summary of the Legal Defects in Mr. Ali Reza Madadpur’s Case

  1. In this case, Ali Reza Madadpur claimed that he had no connection whatsoever with the other defendants and that he had gone to the location only two hours prior to his arrest and had no knowledge of the manufacture of drugs there. It was necessary for the prosecutor’s office to ascertain the veracity of this claim, especially since the other defendants had repeatedly confirmed Madadpur’s assertions. The prosecutor’s office, however, did not take the necessary steps in this regard. The investigative official could have easily ascertained the veracity of this claim. Questioning the people who lived in the neighborhood about whether Madadpur had ever been seen before at the location of the crime or not, looking at various cameras in the surrounding areas, such as traffic cameras, shopping centers cameras, houses, etc., in order to find out about Madadpur’s comings and goings to the location where drugs were being manufactured, were among steps the prosecutor’s office could have taken but did not. It was undoubtedly not possible to render an opinion on Madadpur’s claim absent thorough and specific investigations. The prosecutor’s office, however, hastily found the charge against him to be valid and Revolutionary Court Branch Four sentenced Madadpur to death without taking [his claim] into consideration.
  2. In accordance with legal principles, the court’s decision must be based on the evidence, and criminal action must be specified with proof thereof. In his ruling, Judge Farajollahi states Madadpur’s charge as being participation in manufacturing methamphetamine and states the defendant’s clear admission and confession as the basis of such finding, whereas, nowhere in this case has the defendant made any self-incriminating admissions and has denied any participation in manufacturing meth. Furthermore, the statements of the other defendants in the case clearly indicate that Madadpur’s did not participate in manufacturing drugs. The court found the crime as having been properly proven in spite of the lack of evidence.
  3. According to Iranian law, including the Islamic Penal Code and the Rules of Criminal Procedure, admissions and confessions have legal validity only if made before the ruling judge. In other words, even though admissions to [individuals] other than the judge are considered a type of evidence, if such admission is to be the basis of issuing a decision, however, the ruling judge must personally hear said admission. Therefore, admissions obtained by law enforcement and/or the investigating judge cannot be the basis of the judge’s decision. Information obtained in the present case indicates that Ali Reza Madadpur made absolutely no self-incriminating admissions or confessions before the trial judge. This can be ascertained from the text of the court decision itself. In his decision, the Revolutionary Court Branch Four judge expressly states that the defendants had accepted the charges of manufacturing and possession of drugs in the preliminary stages. This means that even if an admission were made, it was in the preliminary investigations stage, not in court and before the trial judge. The judge makes the defendants’ confession the basis of his ruling in spite of this and contrary to the law. In other words, the court decision itself admits to being illegal.
  4. Being an accomplice in the commission of a crime has meaning only when an individual participates in the criminal act. In other words, even if Madadpur had knowledge that meth was being manufactured at said location, one cannot conclude that such knowledge, in addition to presence at the location of the crime, amounts to being an accomplice in the commission of the crime; one must actually partake in the criminal act in order to be an accomplice. One who cooperates with the criminals or intervenes in the crime without partaking in the criminal act cannot be considered an accomplice. Madadpur was arrested when he was taken to the location by another defendant in the case first thing in the morning. He was present at the location for only two hours and the other defendants were asleep at the time of the arrest. In other words, the manufacture of methamphetamines had not yet begun that day when the agents arrested Madadpur. In other words, the criminal act, which was the manufacture of methamphetamines, had not yet started. Even if the judge believed that Madadpur cooperated with the other defendants, it was necessary for him to clearly determine whether this cooperation was in the criminal act, i.e., the manufacture of methamphetamines, or in incidental tasks. It seems the court decision was contrary to the law in this regard as well.
  5. Based on available information, Ali Reza Madadpur was not able to have access to the services of an attorney in many stages of the adjudication. A court-appointed attorney was assigned to him only two weeks prior to trial at the Revolutionary Court; even then, he did not have an opportunity to meet with the lawyer. The law provides that for crimes such as the crime in question which carry the death penalty, the presence of an attorney in the adjudication process is necessary in order to defend the accused. Pursuant to the Law on the Rules of Criminal Procedure for General and Revolutionary Courts, Note 1 to Article 186, “If in crimes for which the law has mandated the punishments of Qesas of life, execution, stoning, and life imprisonment, the defendant does not personally introduce an attorney, it is mandatory that a court-appointed attorney be designated.” This Article means that it is mandatory for the defendant to have access to a lawyer not only in the adjudication stage, but in all stages, including preliminary investigations and during court proceedings and trial.  Ali Reza Madadpur was interrogated without any legal knowledge, and sufficient preliminary investigations were not conducted. He was deprived of an attorney in this very important stage. Lack of access to an attorney has created many defects in the case, including not conducting the necessary investigations. Had he had access to an attorney, many of these defects would undoubtedly not have occurred and the case would have taken a different turn. His right to a defense has been jeopardized due to the court not designating a court-apponted attorney and depriving Madadpur from access to counsel for the greater part of the proceedings. This is of such importance that it can render preliminary investigations as well as the court decision completely invalid. 


Karaj Islamic Revolutionary Court Branch Four sentenced Mr. Madadpur to “5 million Rials monetary penalty, 30 lashes, death, and expropriation of the property obtained from the crime”. However, since Mr. Madadpur had played no role in manufacturing drugs and there was no property so acquired, the judge declared the part of the sentence alluding to “expropriation” inapplicable.

Mr. Madadpur’s request for a new trial was denied by judicial authorities in 2015, as was his request for a pardon.

At dawn on the morning of August 27, 2016, Mr. Ali Reza Madadpur was hanged in the yard of Karaj Central Prison along with 11 other prisoners. He had visitations with his family the day before his execution. His body was turned over to his family. Mr. Madadpur was buried on the grounds of the Emamzadeh Ebrahim mausoleum in Malard, Alborz Province (Boroumand Foundation research).

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