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

Heshmat Emami

About

Age: 29
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Unknown

Case

Date of Killing: January 20, 2009
Location of Killing: Central Prison (Adelabad), Shiraz, Fars Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Murder
Age at time of offense: 24

About this Case

Was hanged at the age of 29 for a crime he had not committed but confessed under severe toture

Information about Mr. Heshmat Emami’s execution was obtained through Abdorrahman Boroumand Center’s interview with Mr. Emami’s attorney on August 25, 2016 (ABC interview). News regarding the execution was published in Iran Newspaper (January 20, 2009).

Mr. Emami was born in 1979-80 to a poor family in the village of Hajiabad in the city of Kazerun, Fars Province. Mr. Emami left high school when he was a sophomore and started working as a laborer at the age of 15.

Mr. Emami’s case pertains to the the murder of an individual on May 22, 2003, during a fight over financial issues. One of Mr. Emami’s friends, who had lent some money to his uncle, asked Mr. Emami to help him recover the money he was owed. Mr. Emami’s friend had taken a Kalashnikov rifle to intimidate the borrower. When the borrower refused to pay the debt, a clash took place between them, and a bullet was fired from the rifle. The bullet hit the ground, ricocheted and injured the groin area of the borrower’s right foot, resulting in his death (ABC interview).

Arrest and detention

In June/July 2003, the city of Kazerun’s police first arrested Mr. Emami’s friend and then, based on the information they obtained from him, Mr. Emami (Iran Newspaper). The circumstances of Mr. Emami’s arrest and detention are not known.

During his detention, Mr. Emami was severely tortured for the sake of extracting a confession.

According to Mr. Emami’s attorney, during his detention at the Criminal Investigator (judiciary police)’s detention facility in the city of Kazerun, Mr. Emami was severely tortured for the sake of extracting a confession.

After some time and for unknown reasons, Mr. Emami was transferred from Kazerun Prison to Shiraz Prison and was held in Shiraz Prison until his execution (ABC interview).

Trial

According to available information, the prosecutor of the city of Kazerun confirmed the indictment issued against Mr. Emami and his friend, and the case was transferred to Branch 2 of the Public-Criminal Court in Kazerun. Mr. Emami did not have access to the lawyer until the case was transferred to the court.

Mr. Emami did not have access to the lawyer until the case was transferred to the court.

The Branch 2 of the Public-Criminal Court in Kazerun tried Mr. Emami and his friend on August 16 and November 22, 2003. The second court session for both defendants lasted less than 20 minutes.

Charges

The charge brought against Mr. Emami was “intentional murder”. Mr. Emami was accused of being the one who fired the rifle.

The validity of the criminal charges brought against these defendants cannot be ascertained in the absence of the basic guarantees of a fair trial.

Evidence of guilt

Iran newspaper cited the “confessions of two defendants and the crime scene reconstruction” as the grounds for issuing a conviction verdict for Mr. Emami and his friend.

According to oral statements made by Mr. Emami and another defendant in court, which was also available in the case records in writing, Mr. Emami’s friend (the other defendant) shot the rifle.

According to Mr. Emami’s attorney, the Public-Criminal Court in Kazerun sentenced Mr. Emami based on “testimony of witnesses”.

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

In an interview with ABC, Mr. Emami’s attorney described his defense in court as follows:

1) The forensic medical expert’s report stated that the path of bullet in the victim’s body goes from the bottom up, which confirms the defendants’ claims that they shot the bullet at the ground (not aiming at the victim). This means that the shooting was not intended to kill the victim.

2) The bullet hit the ground and ricocheted and accidentally injured the groin area of the victim’s right foot. Since the victim was not the target of shooting, and the area where the bullet struck s not considered to be a vulnerable part of the body, the nature of the crime must be treated as involuntary manslaughter rather than intentional murder.

3) During interrogations, the defendants were subject to torture to elicit confessions of guilt. Before the shooting, Mr. Emami’s friend was carrying the rifle. After leaving the victim’s house, some of the witnesses saw the rifle in Mr. Emami’s hand. There was serious doubt about the exact time when the rifle was exchanged between the two defendants, and which of the two defendants had shot the rifle. In order to obtain a confession, the defendants were severely tortured,and their confession in such circumstances is devoid of legal value.

4) According to oral statements made by Mr. Emami and another defendant in court, which was also available in the case records in writing, Mr. Emami’s friend (the other defendant) shot the rifle, and Mr. Emami grabbed the rifle from his friend only to stop him from shooting. However, the court did not accept this testimony.

The court sentenced Mr. Emami’s friend to 15 years imprisonment on the charge of being an accessory to the offense. The rifle belonged to Mr. Emami’s friend, however, and both defendants confirmed that the victim was shot by Mr. Emami’s friend.

5) There were serious doubts and objections to the testimony of witnesses.irst: none of the witnesses saw the scene of the crime. They came out of their houses after hearing the shooting, and had seen two defendants outside of the victim’s house, after the incident happened. No one witnessed anything before the incident or at the time of the shooting. Second: some witnesses said they saw the rifle in Mr. Emami’s friend’s hands. Meanwhile, three witnesses said that they had seen Mr. Emami fleewith a gun in his hands.

6) Mr. Emami did not have any motive or reason to kill the victim and he was involved in the incident only to accompany his friend.

7) The forensic medical experts stated that the cause of the victim’s death was “delay in medical care and severe bleeding from a bullet injury in the groin area”. It seems that the lack of medical facilities in the village where the incident occurred was the main reason for the delay in medical treatment for the victim. Also, people present at the scene drove the victim to a hospital which was 200 kilometers from the village (Namazi Hospital in Shiraz) and the victim died in the car because of the severe bleeding.

8) The court sentenced Mr. Emami’s friend to 15 years imprisonment on the charge of being an accessory to the offense. The rifle belonged to Mr. Emami’s friend, however, and both defendants confirmed that the victim was shot by Mr. Emami’s friend.

Judgment

Branch 2 of the Public-Criminal Court in the city of Kazerun sentenced Mr. Emami to death (qisas).

While Mr. Emami was behind held at Shiraz Prison, both he  and his attorney appealed the court’s order, and the case was transferred to the Supreme Court for review. After verifying the order by Branch 20 of the Supreme Court, Mr. Emami’s attorney appealed again and the case was reviewed in a special branch of the Supreme Court (called a “recognition branch”), and this time the order was upheld (ABC interview).

Mr. Heshmat Emami was hanged in late January 2009 at Shiraz Prison. He was 29 years old at the time of execution.

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