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

Faraz Ebrahimi

About

Age: 23
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Single

Case

Date of Killing: January 30, 2008
Location of Killing: Evin Prison, Tehran, Tehran Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Murder
Age at time of offense: 19

About this Case

News of Mr. Faraz Ebrahimi’s execution was published by Fars News Agency and Iscanews website on January 30, 2008. Additional information about this case was obtained from E’temad  newspaper (February 18, November 8, and December 31, 2007), Iran newspaper (July 2, 2007), Hambastegi (September 5, 2007), Aftab-e Yazd (April 19, 2006), Hamshahri newspaper (June 14, 2005), Khabar-e Jonub (April 21, 2006), ISNA news agency (August 17, 2004), Human Rights and Democracy Activists weblog (January 29, 2008), Mitra Khalatbari’s (journalist) Sokoot Faryad weblog (Maech 13, 2006).

Mr. Faraz Ebrahimi, child of Mohammad Baqer, was 23 years old, single, and resided in Tehran. He met a 14-year-old girl when he was 17, and after a while, they made plans to get married. On February 5, 2004, around 9:30 PM, the girl, who was visiting her grandmother on Farjam Street in eastern Tehran, left the house saying that she wanted to leave her dog with her friend, and disappeared.

Mr. Ebrahimi’s case is related to the girl’s murder in 2004.

Arrest and detention

Following his girlfriend’s disappearance, Mr. Ebrahimi was summoned by Tehran Criminal Investigations police and was subsequently arrested. On February 6, 2004, a man went to the Criminal Investigations Bureau and said that his daughter had left her grandmother’s home the previous night and had not returned; he said he thought Mr. Faraz Ebrahimi, 19 years old, who was his daughter’s boyfriend had something to do with it because he was not answering his phone. Police investigations indicated that Mr. Faraz Ebrahimi had several phone contacts with the victim prior to the incident, and he was summoned and questioned on that basis.

Based on available information, Mr. Ebrahimi underwent 28 days of interrogations at the Criminal Investigations Bureau, at the end of which period he admitted that he had been in the victim’s company, but insisted he had nothing to do with her death. He explained that he had gone to pick up his girlfriend in his father’s Peugeot 405 car in order to discuss a minor disagreement, and that he had picked her up in front of her grandmother’s home, but that she had gotten angry during the discussion and had pounded her head against the car window and had started to bleed. According to statements ascribed to Mr. Ebrahimi in available sources, he then tried to take the victim to the hospital but she passed away on the way there. Shocked and frightened by these events, Mr. Ebrahimi, had driven toward [the city of] Karaj, and had first dumped the victim’s lifeless body around the Vardavard gas station, but had then returned and put it in the trunk of the car and taken it to his father’s garden in Karaj. After wrapping the body in carpeting, he had then taken it to [the town of] Eshtehard, set it on fire, and dumped it in a well.

In a poor state of mind, Mr. Ebrahimi asked his father to take the police to where he had hidden the body. The victim’s body was thus pulled out of the well with the assistance of the Karaj fire department.

Trial

Tehran Criminal Court Branch 74 judges tried Mr. Ebrahimi over several sessions. In addition to the chief judge and four member judges, the prosecutor’s representative, the victim’s family, and both sides’ attorneys were present at the trial session that took place on March 12, 2006.

In explaining the motive for the murder, the prosecutor’s representative stated that according to the Defendant’s admission before the investigative judge, after knowing the victim for three years and making plans to get married, he did not trust her and suspected her of befriending her brother’s friends. That was why he had killed her. On that basis, the prosecutor’s representative asked for “the harshest punishment” for Mr. Faraz Ebrahimi as Defendant Number 1, and for “Islamic punishment” for his father as Defendant Number 2.

As next of kin, the victim’s father then asked for Qesas (retribution), the death penalty, for the Defendant. As he was in a poor emotional state, he requested that his brother speak on his behalf. The victim’s uncle then stated that even though Mr. Ebrahimi and his family knew what had happened, they pretended they did not, and therefore asked that Defendants Numbers 1 and 2 be punished.

Stating that the Defendant was a very smart person, the next of kin’s attorney said that he was able to mislead the police for 28 days and pretend to be innocent by destroying evidence of the crime.

Subsequently a closed door session took place in order to look into the charges against Mr. Ebrahimi. The court’s last session convened on April 18, 2006.

Charges

The court charged Mr. Ebrahimi with “intentional murder and commission of crime against a corpse”. He was accused of having killed his girlfriend by hitting her in the head with a stone, and with the help of his father, of wrapping her in carpeting, burning her body, and throwing her down a deep well in their garden in Eshtehard.

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

Finding the victim’s body in a well as indicated by Mr. Ebrahimi, as well as the Medical Examiner’s report of asphyxiation with a wire as cause of death, was the evidence presented in court against Mr. Ebrahimi. According to the Medical Examiner’s determination, there was no sign of fracture on the victim’s head. Furthermore, in describing the content of the indictment, the prosecutor’s representative relied on Mr. Ebrahimi’s statements made during interrogations and before the investigative judge.

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. Ebrahimi who was 19 years old at the time of the incident, did not accept the charges at any time and in any of the phases, whether in interrogations, before the investigating judge, or in court. He stated at trial: “I do not accept Andia’s murder. I did not kill her and played no role in her death.” Emphasizing their mutual love for each other, he said that the victim’s family and relatives were aware of their relationship and knew him. On the day of the incident, after the victim had not answered Mr. Ebrahimi’s phone calls, he had contacted his girlfriend’s mother, and after he had learned that she was at her grandmother’s home, had gone there and asked that they talk things through.

Stating that the victim had gone to Kish Island a week prior to the event, Mr. Ebrahimi said: “I asked her about the two boys that accompanied her on the trip; she got angry and slammed her head against the window of the Peugeot.” According to Mr. Ebrahimi “the car window broke and caused the victim to bleed from the nose, cheeks and eyelid. I wanted to take her to Amirol-Momenin Hospital in Shahrara [neighborhood].” Mr. Ebrahimi continued: “I had completely panicked. I had never seen a drop of blood until that moment. I could not make decisions properly. When we got to the Sattar Khan Bridge, I realized that Andia was not breathing. She would not respond no matter how much I called her name. I realized that she had died. For a moment I was afraid to take her to the hospital. I was afraid they might say I was the one who did that to her. I sped away and drove toward Karaj … I went on a dirt road near the Vardavard gas station, picked up Andia’s body and got it out f the car. Her dog jumped out too. I was so scared that I quickly jumped back into my father’s Peugeot and ran away. Not five minutes had passed when I realized I had left the corpse near the metro station and that they would definitely find her body the next morning. I went back and put the body in the trunk of the car.”

In response to the judge’s question regarding his statements made during interrogations and before the investigating judge to the effect that he had hit the victim in the head with a stone around the Vardavard gas station, Mr. Ebrahimi said: “I was under duress during interrogations. I have never done such a thing … They had brought my father to the Criminal Investigations Bureau during preliminary interrogations. I could not stand to see my father there and so I made a false confession. I threw the victim’s cell phone out.”

The Defendant continued: “After I put the victim’s body in the trunk of the car, I drove to the garden we owned in Karaj. Andia’s cell phone was in the car and was constantly ringing. I was so angry that I picked it up and threw it out the car window … I made a huge mistake there (in the Karaj garden), which was wrapping Andia’s body in carpeting and tied it up at the top and the bottom with an electric cable. I thought to myself that the workers would easily find the body the next day if it stayed in the garden. So I put it back in the trunk and drove toward Eshtehard. I got to a well there. For a second I thought that if I burned Andia’s body, nobody would find out anything anymore … I picked a one-gallon gas container … and poured it on the body and lit it up with a match … and threw it down the well. Then I got in the car and drove back home. I changed my clothes that had been bloodied in our parking garage and went upstairs. My father was awake and watching TV. I splashed some water on my face and went to my father, and told him everything, as I always did. My father couldn’t believe it and kept hitting himself on the head. The next day, my father took the car to the car wash and changed the broken window. Two days later, I took my father to the well and told him Andia’s body was in the well so he would believe that I had burned her corpse.”

Emphasizing that he had not said that his father had helped him set the victim’s body on fire during interrogations, Mr. Ebrahimi stated: “I was under pressure … I only said that so my father would take the officers to the well. I could not bear going there myself.”

Mr. Ebrahimi had been accused of “hitting the victim several times in the head with a stone”, whereas the Medical Examiner’s report dismissed the fracture of the skull.

In defending his client, Mr. Ebrahimi’s defense attorney stated the main issue of this case was the Medical Examiner’s wrong opinion: “There was no wire with which Andia was murdered. The wire that was discovered was the one with which Faraz had wrapped the carpeting around the body. The Medical Examiner’s opinion is completely wrong and I do not accept it. Furthermore, the doctors have declared asphyxiation as the cause of death with doubt and hesitation. If we consider the Medical Examiner’s opinion to be correct, then where did all that blood come from? There’s no blood in asphyxiation!” He further emphasized: “The Medical Examiner has said that the wire that was accidentally found on the burnt body’s neck, was not tied. So how can such a wire in such a state exert pressure on the neck’s vital organs?”

Pointing to defects in the prosecutor’s representative’s indictment and emphasizing the intense love of the accused for the victim, he said: “There isn’t the slightest evidence that this was a murder. The doctors at the Medical Examiner’s Office were not able to conduct a definitive and thorough examination of the body because of how badly it was burned; therefore all of these theories are conjecture and solely based on possibilities.”

Judgment

On April 18, 2006, Tehran Criminal Court Branch 74 panel of judges sentenced Mr. Faraz Ebrahimi to death (Qesas of life). The defendant and his attorney objected to the sentence but the Supreme Court upheld the ruling.

Based on available information, Mr. Ebrahimi’s death sentence was stayed by order of the head of the Judiciary Branch due to the defects in the case, but the Supreme Court confirmed the sentence once again upon another examination of the case.

Mr. Faraz Ebrahimi and 27 other prisoners were transferred from Rajaishahr Prison to Evin Prison on January 29 for the implementation of their sentence. On the morning of January 30, 2008, he was hanged in the Evin Prison yard along with four other defendants.

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