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

A. S.

About

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

Case

Date of Killing: January 29, 2017
Location: Mashhad, Khorasan\Khorasan-e Razavi Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Armed robbery; War on God
Age at time of offense: 21

About this Case

News of Mr. A. S.’s execution was published by Mehr news agency (January 29, 2017), Mizan news agency (January 29, 2017), and Khorassan newspaper (January 30, 2017). Additional information about this case was obtained from ISNA news agency (August 4 and 11, 2016), Jam-e Jam online (November 27, 2014), Khorassan newspaper (January 31, 2017), and the video broadcast on the Aparat website (August 10, 2014).

Mr. A. S. was 23 years old, married, and resided in Neishabur. According to him, his father’s financial situation was sound and his mother worked at a health clinic in Neishabur.

His case was related to an armed robbery of a jewelry shop in Mashhad.

On August 4, 2014, around 6:15 PM, several masked individuals robbed a jewelry store on the city of Neishabur’s Imam Khomeini Street. Several citizens called the Police (Police 110), and police officers arrived on the scene while the robbers were fleeing. The robbers, who had covered their faces and were carrying shotguns, got into a shootout with the police during which two civilians and a police officer were injured. The robbers were able to flee the scene in a white Peugeot and switch cars after they had gotten far enough, thus evading capture (ISNA, August 12, 2014).

Arrest and detention

On the morning of November 27, 2014, four months after the jewelry store robbery, Mr. A. S. was arrested in the vicinity of Mashhad’s Namayeshgah Square by Criminal Investigations Police. Based on available information, he and three other men and four women were arrested as the defendants in the case (Khorassan newspaper, January 30, 2017). Based on available information, Mr. A. S. confessed to the robbery during interrogations. He spent two years in prison.

Trial

Mr. A. S. was tried by Mashhad Revolutionary Court, Branch Seven, in the presence of his defense attorney. No information is available about the details of the trial session/s.

Charges

Mr. A. S. and another defendant in the case were accused of “Moharebeh (“waging war against God”) through creating fear and terror, and armed robbery”.

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

Mr. A. S.’ confession, discovery of 2 kilograms of the stolen gold, discovery of a Winchester shotgun, two Peugeot and Pride cars that had been used during the robbery, closed circuit camera footage from the store, and testimony of three of the individuals injured during the robbery, were among the evidence used against Mr. A. S. (Jam-e Jam, November 27, 2014, and Khorassan, January 30, 2017).

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. 

Defene

Mr. A. S. stated that he had participated in the robbery out of youthful enthusiasm stemming from watching “cops and robbers” action movies. Stating that he regretted his actions, he said: “I am scared and frightened. In the two years that I’ve been in prison, I have matured 15 years. If I had then the level of maturity I have now, I would have never even thought of doing something like this” (Interview with the Defendant, Khorassan newspaper, January 31, 2017).

No information is available on Mr. A. S.’s defense in court.

A Summary of the Legal Defects in the Adjudication of Mr. A.S.

Judicial authorities charged this individual with the crime of Moharebeh from the time he was arrested. Pursuant to Islamic Penal Code Article 279, Moharebeh is drawing a weapon with intent to harm people’s lives, property, and chastity (or female members of a family), in a way that creates insecurity. Furthermore, Article 281 considers as Mohareb, those armed robbers who deprive people of their security. On the other hand, the Islamic Penal Code’s Ta’zirat section expressly mentions armed robbery, prescribing imprisonment and flogging as punishment therefor. Pursuant to Article 652 “if harm comes to an individual in the course of theft, or if the thief is armed, he/she shall be sentenced to three months to ten years’ imprisonment and to up to 74 lashes; and if injury is caused, in addition to the punishment prescribed for injury, he/she shall be sentenced to the maximum punishment provided in this article.” What this Article shows is that the law does not hold that any robbery amounts to Moharebeh; if that were the case, there would be no need to enact Article 652 and other similar provisions. Theft can be considered Moharebeh when it is very extensive and when people have been deprived of their safety and security as a result of armed action. In the present case, it can be observed that the robbers had no prior criminal record of armed robbery, i.e., robbery was not their profession. Further, their goal was solely to steal and no weapons were used during the commission of robbery. They had resorted to firing their weapons to escape from the police. No one was killed in the exchange of fire and it cannot be said that people’s safety and security was seriously endangered. For these reasons, the robbers’ actions could not amount to Moharebeh. From a legal standpoint, the thieves’ actions fall under the provisions of Article 652 and the defendants should have been tried for armed robbery thereunder.

Judgment

Mr. A. S. and another defendant in the case were sentenced to death. The ruling was upheld by the Supreme Court. Mr. A. S. and the other defendant in the case, who was his cousin, were hanged in public in the Esmailabad region, near Mashahd’s Sepad Police Precinct, in the presence of the Deputy Prosecutor, Sentence Implementation judges, and a number of other judicial authorities and law enforcement commanders.

At the site of the execution, Khorassan Razavi Province General and Revolutionary Prosecutor stated: “We will not spare any effort in decisively confronting ‘law-breakers’ and ‘those who destroy our safety and security’, and in carrying out our duties to ensure the people’s feeling of security; we will not listen to ‘our enemies’ rants’ cloaked under the guise of ‘human rights’, because implementation of the dictates of Holy Islam is the undisputed and compulsory duty and function of the judicial system in the Islamic Republic of Iran” (Khorassan newspaper, January 30, 2017).

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