Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Abbas Sahra’i


Age: 27
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Single


Date of Killing: April 13, 2017
Location of Killing: Arak, Markazi Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Murder
Age at time of alleged offense: 27

About this Case

News of Mr. Abbas Sahra’i’s execution was published on April 13, 2017, in the Markazi Province Judiciary’s website and by the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB). Additional information about this case was obtained from ISNA (April 12, 2017) and IRNA (January 11, 2017, and March 7, 2017) news agencies and from other sources.*

Mr. Abbas Sahra’i was 27 years old, single, and resided in the city of Arak. He had a criminal record for having participated in a scuffle that had led to a killing in which he had played no role. Mr. Sahra’i had spent a year in Arak prison for that scuffle, and at the time of the incident he had been released from prison for just 10 days by posting a 200-million-Tuman bond.

Mr. Abbas Sahra’i’s case is related to the murder of 6 individuals in Arak.

Based on available information, on the morning of January 11, 2017, between 5 and 7 AM, an individual armed with a Kalashnikov fired a few shots in his own home and then went to two homes in Football Si-metri neighborhood (Ali ebn-e Abitaleb neighborhood) and Taleqani Street in Arak, and opened fire on the residents, immediately killing five and injuring four people. One of the injured died at the hospital. According to the Judiciary’s announcement, the individuals killed in the first home consisted of a police officer who had played a role in arresting the defendant the previous year and his family. The second family was the parents of the murder victim.

Arrest and detention

Mr. Abbas Sahra’i was arrested Wednesday night, January 11, 2017, by police officers on a street in the city of Arak. Reports of 2 shootings had been received by the Police 110 Emergency Center that morning. Announcing that they had arrested a suspect, the police said they were in the planning stages of arresting the principle defendant. Mr. Sahra’i’s picture and personal information were broadcast on the Province television network as the perpetrator, in order to be positively identified by the people. Based on available information, Mr. Sahra’i was turned over to the Arak Criminal Investigations Bureau upon arrest in order to be interrogated.


On Tuesday, March 7, 2017, Markazi Province Criminal Court, Branch One, located at Markazi Province Judiciary building on Hepco Street in Arak, tried Mr. Abbas Sahra’i and his brother as Defendants Number 1 and 2, respectively. The two defendants’ court-appointed attorneys, the [victims’] next of kin, one of the injured individuals, the plaintiffs’ attorneys, and a group of reporters were present in the courtroom. Based on available information, the trial session started at 9 AM. Upon informing the defendants of the charges against them and questioning the latter, the next of kin spoke as the plaintiffs. According to the Markazi Province Criminal Court, Branch One chief judge, the defendants were given ample opportunity to defend themselves. After a one hour recess, the Court issued its ruling in that same session.


The Judge declared Mr. Abbas Sahra’i’s charges as being “6 counts of intentional murder, carrying and possession of firearms, endangering public order and security.”

Evidence of guilt

Among the evidence presented against Mr. Sahra’i was the Medical Examiner’s confirmation of the killing of 6 individuals in two residences as a result of firing with a Kalashnikov weapon in Si-metri Football neighborhood (Ali ebn-e Abitaleb neighborhood) and Taleqani Street. One of the injured individuals was present in court as an eyewitness. Mr. Abbas Sahra’i’s statements as well as his brother’s, who was the other defendant in the case, were also presented as evidence against him.

Mr. Sahra’i admitted that he had shot the victims. His brother declared that at Mr. Sahra’i’s request, he had purchased a Kalashnikov weapon along with 105 rounds of ammunition with four million five hundred thousand Tumans of his brother’s money, and had taken delivery of the weapon from the seller in front of their home.

At the trial session, Mr. Abbas Sahra’i stated that he had hidden the weapon in the mountains upon his release, and had brought it home on the day of the event, and when his brother and mother had objected and tried to prevent him from going to the victims’ home, he had warned them not to follow him by firing a few shots, and had left the house armed with the weapon.

“The weapon that was procured was a Kalashnikov along with 105 rounds of ammunition, for which I paid four million five hundred thousand Tumans of my brother’s money, four million of which was paid in cash, and five hundred thousand Tumans was paid through debit card transfer to the seller’s debit card, at which time the seller delivered the weapon to me in Arak in front of our home.”


Based on available information, because of the [authority’s decision] to quickly take this case to trial, Mr. Abbas Sahra’i did not have the opportunity to hire an attorney of his choosing and had to accept the court-appointed lawyer.

In court, Mr. Sahra’i stated: “I admit to killing 6 members of these 2 families, but I did not endanger public order.” Stating that the family of the previous year’s scuffle’s murder victim had insulted and disrespected his mother, whereas he had played no role in last year’s murder, he added: “Now that same family claims I’m not a man. I defended my honor. If the standard is to carry out justice, then justice must decide my fate as well. I accept everything I’ve done but I ask for justice in this particular case.” Stating that he intended to ask the previous year’s murder victim’s family for forgiveness upon release from prison, he noted that during the trials for the previous year’s murder, one of the victims had told him: “I will murder you if you set foot outside prison.” He further added: “The family disrespected my mother and beat her up. My father had a heart attack, and he had just visited me 2 weeks prior to his heart attack and was physically healthy.” He alluded to one of the murder victims and said: “He, and last year’s murder victim’s son, kept guns in their home and since he had threatened me, I couldn’t fight guns with sticks; and that was the reason I procured a firearm; I did not intend to commit murder with it.”

Emphasizing that his family was not safe during his incarceration, Mr. Sahra’i said: “My mother did not feel safe in my absence and she and my brother were repeatedly persecuted by this family. This family had threatened my younger brother several times and had even broken his car windows.”

Emphasizing that he had not intended to kill all the victims, Mr. Sahra’i said: “I went to the intended house in a rented Pride [automobile] and the murder victim opened the door after I rang the bell; with my gun pulled out in his direction, I told him to go upstairs so I could talk to him and told him to tell his wife not to come in if she was home, because I did not intend to bother anyone. However, the victim suddenly lunged at me and I inadvertently fired my weapon. After he was shot, his mother came toward me and I started firing at them and I don’t remember in what order, but I shot five of them.” The defendant continued: “I had thought that this family would persecute my mother and that was why I asked the victim to give me some time to move our home to Tehran so that my family could be safe. But this individual denied my request and did not give me the opportunity, and assisted in my arrest.”

Further stating that he intended to marry another one of the victims last year, he said: “She had had issues with her brother for years and I only agreed to marry her in order to help out his brother who had been a friend of mine for years, but in spite of my having procured the material things to start a life together, I was betrayed again.”

In describing the second incident, Mr. Sahra’i said: “First, I rang the bell, and even though I had covered my face with a shawl, the owner of the house saw me through the window and recognized me. When he came to the door to talk, I told him that a real man does not bother and persecute a woman. Then the person who had opened the door screamed ‘Don’t come downstairs’ because he had seen my gun. Then I fired on those people.”

Defendant Number 2 admitted the charge of procuring the weapon and stated that his confessions against Mr. Sahra’i were obtained under pressure from the investigating judge. At trial, he explained one of the murder victim’s family relations with the previous year’s murder victim and stated: “Both individuals had guns and the victim had repeatedly threatened my brother and in the last trial (of the previous case) he had overtly declared that they would persecute my mother; they persecuted me repeatedly in the street, so much so that I rarely even left the house, but because of the friendship we had, we abstained from bringing charges. But the persecution along with threatening text messages continued. When my brother was told of my mother being persecuted, he decided to take revenge.”

Regarding the financial issues between Mr. Abbas Sahra’i and the family of the murder victim Mr. Sahra’i intended to marry, he stated: “They had had some cash and other types of dealings; for instance, I personally delivered some of the household items and a gold necklace that he had bought for the victim, myself.”


Mr. Abbas Sahra’i was sentenced to death 6 times (6 Qesas of life), in public, to be carried out in the Ali ebn-e Abitaleb neighborhood, 8 years imprisonment, and 74 lashes. In spite of his objection to the sentence, Supreme Court Branch 19 upheld the ruling. Mr. Abbas Sahra’i was hanged in public on April 13, 2017, in Arak’s Ali ebn-e Abitaleb neighborhood.

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