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

Bakhtiar Mohammadi

About

Age: 36
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Islam (Sunni)
Civil Status: Married

Case

Date of Killing: January 3, 2018
Location of Killing: Central Prison (Dizelabad), Kermanshah, Kermanshah Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Murder
Age at time of offense: 32

About this Case

He was in a very bad state of mind and had attempted suicide four times.

News of Mr. Bakhtiar Mohammadi’s execution was published in the Hengav website on January 3, 2018. Additional information about this case was obtained from the Boroumand Center’s interview with his cousin, as well as research conducted by the Boroumand Center (February 10, 2018).

Mr. Bakhtiar Mohammadi, child of Mahmud, was 36 years old, an adherent of Sunni Islam, an ethnic Kurd, married, from the town of Ravansar, and residing in the town of Paveh in Kermanshah Province. He had a high school education. He had previously been a taxi driver, but then sold his taxi and opened a bakery from the proceeds of that sale.

According to Mr. Mohammadi’s cousin, he was the family’s second child, who, after the death of his father in 2003-04, was having a hard time providing for his family’s expenses and was in a bad mental state. Mr. Mohammadi had gotten married in 2008-09, and had made a nice life for himself and his family through tremendous effort. In 2011-12, Mr. Mohammadi’s wife developed lung cancer, and he himself, following a car accident in which he suffered substantial injuries, became addicted to Tramadol* which he was taking for pain, a pill that mentally changed him. According to the information contained in the Court decision, in addition to Tramadol, he also used meth.

Based on available information, Mr. Mohammadi was a quiet man and an introvert. After his father’s death, he became even more introverted and reclusive, and aside from his very close friends, had very limited interaction with others.

Mr. Mohammadi’s case is related to the murder of his pregnant wife. 

Arrest and detention

Mr. Mohammadi turned himself in to the police in Paveh, at 6:30 AM on the morning of May 2, 2013, and stated that he had killed his pregnant wife.

In preliminary investigations, he stated that he had killed his wife without a motive, that he had no issues with her, and that he did not intend to marry again; that he was not under the influence of drugs at the time of the murder, and had killed his wife simply because he had had enough of life. (Documents available at the Boroumand Center).

Mr. Mohammadi turned himself in to the police and stated that he had murdered his wife.

Mr. Mohammadi was taken to the city of Kermanshah’s Diesel Abad Prison in June 2013. According to a person with knowledge of the case, he was in a very bad state of mind after the issuance of his sentence and had tried to commit suicide in jail by taking pills and had ended up being hospitalized for a week at Kermanshah’s Imam Khomeini Prison. Mr. Mohammadi sometimes would not even go the visitation hall to meet with his family due to his awful mental condition. He was very reclusive in jail. He was incarcerated at Diesel Abad Prison for four years.

Trial

Kermanshah Province Criminal Court, Branch One, tried Mr. Mohammadi in two sessions, on March 10, and May 30, 2015. The trial took place in the presence of Mr. Mohammadi’s family, the victim’s attorney, and Mr. Mohammadi’s court-appointed attorney.

Based on available information, the next of kin’s family requested the Court for Qesas of life for Mr. Mohammadi, along with payment of the difference in Diah, as well as the Diah for the unborn child (four-month-old boy).

Charges

Mr. Mohammadi was charged with “the intentional murder of his pregnant wife”. He was accused of having strangled his pregnant wife with his waist-shawl on May 2, 2013. 

Evidence of Guilt

Mr. Mohammadi’s admissions at various stages of the process were the basis for the issuance of the sentence in his case. The Medical Examiner’s report detailing the cause of death; re-construction of the crime scene; recovery of the victim’s body; Mr. Mohammadi’s fingerprints on his waist-shawl as the murder weapon; and the Medical Examiner’s report as to Mr. Mohammadi being of sound mind at the time of the murder and dismissing insanity; were among other evidence presented against him at trial. (Interview with a person with knowledge of the case, and documentation existing at the Boroumand Center). 

Defense

Based on available information, in September 2014, Mr. Mohammadi submitted a brief to the court from Diesel Abad Prison, stating that he had been under the influence of meth** at the time of the murder and was not in a normal state. (Documentation existing at the Boroumand Center).

According to Mr. Mohammadi’s cousin, he had become addicted to Tramadol after his car accident in 2013 and had then turned to drugs, encouraged by his friends. (Boroumand Center interview).

Based on available information, Mr. Mohammadi was suffering from mental problems due to issues related to his life, and had unsuccessfully attempted suicide several times, one of which was during his incarceration. According to Mr. Mohammadi, he had attempted suicide in 2006 by stabbing himself and had spent 15 days in the hospital. (Interview with a person with knowledge of the case, and documentation available at the Boroumand Center). Furthermore, his mental state had started to deteriorate a month prior to the murder, and that was why he had gone to a religious official in the town of Bayengan and had prayed and told him: “I’m sick of life and I feel the devil inside me.” That person had then suggested to him “to conduct his daily prayers on time”. According to Mr. Mohammadi, during the month culminating in the murder, he had tried to kill himself several times. He had decided to kill himself with a handgun but had not been able to procure one. A week prior to the event, he had unsuccessfully tried to asphyxiate himself using the gas from the gas heater for three hours. He had also tried to throw himself in front of a car once.

Based on available documentation, at trial, his attorney had said in Mr. Mohammadi’s defense, that on the night of the murder, he had had dinner with his wife and had not had any particular arguments with her, but that he was not in a normal state. Even though he knew full well that the punishment for murder was the death penalty, he did not run away and turned himself in to the police after committing the murder, and that was due to his adverse and abnormal mental state. Mr. Mohammadi’s attorney added that several witnesses had testified to Mr. Mohammadi’s use of psychotropic substances as well as his several suicide attempts, all of which indicated that he was not of sound mind and lacked a normal mental state. Mr. Mohammadi’s attorney requested that the case be re-submitted to the Medical Examiner’s Office [for evaluation]. Based on available documentation, the court found no history of violence or prior crimes, and found no motive for the murder. (Interview with a person with knowledge of the case, and documentation available at the Boroumand Center). 

A Summary of the Legal Defects in the Adjudication of Mr. Bakhtiar Mohammadi’s Case

The evidence in this case indicates that Bakhtiar Mohammadi murdered his pregnant wife when he had no issues with her whatsoever. He turned himself in after the murder and subsequently confessed to killing his wife at all stages of preliminary investigations and trial. The evidence shows that there was no motive for the murder. According to available evidence, he had previously attempted suicide several times and his mental state showed that he was not of a fully healthy mind [and in full control of his mental capacities]. Furthermore, he regularly used narcotic drugs, more specifically, methamphetamines. On the night of the crime, he had used meth. Considering that the abuse of methamphetamine also leads to psychological impairment, it can be said that Bakhtiar Mohammadi was not in a normal state [at the time of the murder]. Pursuant to [general] principles of criminal law, a person is responsible for his/her actions only when [he/she is in control of his/her faculties] and the criminal act is committed willfully. Nevertheless, the Medical Examiner’s office opined that he was mentally healthy, whereas existing evidence indicates that this opinion does not conform to the facts of the case. Bakhtiar Mohammadi’s attorney requested that his client’s mental health be re-evaluated by the Medical Examiner’s Office, which request was denied by the court. It therefore seems that sufficient investigations were not conducted into Bakhtiar Mohammadi’s mental and psychological state.

Judgment

On May 30, 2015, pursuant to the next of kin’s request and to Islamic Penal Code (new version) Article 290 (a) *** and Articles 351, 355, 357, 360, 381, 382, 716 ****, and Surah al-Baqarah, Verse 179, and Surah Osara, Verse 33 *****, Kermanshah Province Criminal Court, Branch One, sentenced Mr Bakhtiar Mohammadi to death (Qesas of life). The Court further sentenced Mr. Mohammadi to three years imprisonment for killing a fetus. The sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court.

The authorities did not give Mr. Mohammadi’s family the opportunity to see him one last time.

The efforts of Mr. Mohammadi’s family to obtain the forgiveness of the victim’s family did not bear fruit, and Mr. Mohammadi was hanged in Kermanshah’s Diesel Abad prison on January 3, 2018, without his family or his attorney being informed. The authorities unjustifiably deprived Mr. Mohammadi and his family of one last visitation.

Mr. Mohammadi’s family learned of his hanging through a call by one of his ward mates. They took possession of Mr. Mohammadi’s body in the afternoon of the same day upon going to Kermanshah Medical Examiner’s Office, and buried him in Ravansar’s Galeh Chermo cemetery. (Boroumand Center interview with a person with knowledge of the case).

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*Tramadol’s pain control mechanism is similar to morphine. Its continued use causes physical and mental dependence similar to drug addiction, and may sometimes also cause delusions. The simultaneous use of this substance with alcohol, opium and its derivatives, as well as sedatives such as andazepam, diazepam, and lorazepam is extremely dangerous since it can disrupt the function of the kidneys, the brain, and severely impede respiration.
**Methamphetamines have a very powerful effect on the brain and their use may sometime cause belligerent and hostile behavior, as well as violence. Insanity and psychosis, delusions, suspiciousness, paranoia, and radical mood swings are the effects of long term use of meth.
*** “Article 290: A crime is considered to be intentional in the following cases:
(a)   When the perpetrator intends to commit, through an act, a crime on a specific person or persons or a non-specific person or persons within a group, and the intended crime or a similar crime is then committed, regardless of whether the perpetrated act typically causes the commission of that crime or a similar crime or not.”
**** Article 351: The next of kin means the murder victim’s heirs except his or her spouse, who does not have the right to Qesas.”
Article 355: Regarding Article 354* of this law, the fetus is considered next of kin if it is born alive.
*Article 354: If the crime victim or all or some of the next of kin are under the legal age or are insane, their parent or guardian, taking into consideration what is expedient for them, has the right to Qesas, settle, or forgive, or in the alternative, wait until they are of legal age or their condition improves. If some of the next of kin are of legal age and are reasonable and want Qesas, they can obtain Qesas; however, if the parent or guardian of a minor or insane person wants payment of their share of Diah from them, they must do as he wants. This Article also applies to cases where the right to Qesas is transferred to the heirs of the crime victim or the next of kin because of their death. This rule also applies ex post facto to crimes that were committed prior to this law coming into force.
Article 357: If the perpetrator or the accomplice in an intentional crime is one of the heirs, he/she shall not be considered to be a next of kin and does not have the right to Qesas or Diah, and does not inherit the right to Qesas.
Article 360: In cases where carrying out Qesas requires payment of the difference of Diah to the person who is the object of Qesas, the person who has the right o Qesas has the power to choose between Qesas with payment of the difference in Diah and obtaining the Diah amount prescribed by law, without the perpetrator’s agreement.
Article 381: The punishment for intentional murder is Qesas, provided the next of kin so demands and other conditions prescribed by law are met; otherwise it shall be based on Diah and Ta’zir in accordance with other provisions of the law.
Article 382: If a Moslem woman is killed intentionally, the right to Qesas is firm; however, if the murderer is a Moslem man, the next of kin must pay him, prior to Qesas, half of the complete Diah; and if the murderer is a non-Moslem man, he shall be subjected to Qesas without any payments. Where a non-Moslem man has murdered a non-Moslem woman, it is necessary to pay the difference in their Diahs.
Article 417: In carrying out Qesas, the Supreme leader’s permission or that of his representative is required.”
*****Verses:
Verse 179: And there is for you in Qesas (legal retribution) the saving of life, O you [people] of understanding and wisdom, [and his is Allah’s decree] that you may become righteous [and not kill others] and be fearful [and not engage in murder and killings].
Verse 33: And do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden, except by right. And whoever is killed unjustly - We have given his heir authority, but let him not exceed limits in [the matter of] taking life. Indeed, he has been supported [by Allah and the Divine law].

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