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

Amir Hossein Purja'far Katamjani

About

Age: 19
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Single

Case

Date of Execution: January 4, 2018
Location: Varamin Prison, Varamin, Tehran Province, Iran
Mode of Execution: Hanging
Charges: Murder; Rape
Age at time of offense: 17

Human rights violations in this case

The Legal Context

The Courts

 

Islamic Revolutionary Courts, 11 February 1979-1994

 

In the immediate aftermath of the 11 February 1979 Revolution, an ad hoc tribunal, initially referred to as the Extraordinary Revolutionary Tribunal, was set up to try the officials of the previous regime, for which no specific procedures were devised. In a decree dated 24 February 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini, the revolutionary religious leader, appointed a cleric as Shari’a Judge and instructed him “to issue Shari’a-based rulings,” thereby establishing the foundation of a system of special courts.

 

Initially, the revolutionary courts’ jurisdiction was determined by the religious judge’s interpretation of the Shari’a (Islamic law based on the teachings of the Qur’an, the traditions of the Prophet, the 12 imams, and the teachings of Shi’a scholars. On 17 June 1979, the Revolutionary Courts and the Prosecutor’s Office Rules of Procedure, which was only selectively observed, established the latter’s jurisdiction and make-up.

 

The Courts’ jurisdiction encompassed a wide array of offenses including moharebeh (“waging war with God”), efsad e fel arz (“spreading corruption on Earth”), crimes against national and international security, economic crimes, murder, profiteering, prostitution, rape, and narcotic drugs-related crimes. The law required that two of the three principal members of the Revolutionary Courts be Shari’a judges.

 

 

Islamic Revolutionary Courts, 1994-2002

 

With the adoption of the Law for the Establishment of General and Revolutionary Courts of 14 June 1994, and the Code of Criminal Procedure for General and Revolutionary Courts of 19 September 1999, a uniform code of procedure was applied to both revolutionary and general courts. The jurisdiction of the Revolutionary Courts was limited to 6 categories of offenses:

1. Crimes against national and international security,“moharebeh” (enmity with god) and “efsad e fel arz” (corruption on earth;)

2. defaming Ayatollah Khomeini and the Supreme Leader;

3. plotting against the Islamic Republic of Iran, armed action, terrorism, and sabotage;

4. espionage;

5. smuggling and drug-related crimes; 6. claims under Principle 49 (economic crimes) of the Constitution.

 6. Furthermore, pursuant to the Law on the Manner of Punishing Individuals Engaged in Unauthorized Audio and Visual Activities, Article 11, the revolutionary courts have jurisdiction over crimes that fall within the purview of said Law, including production and distribution of obscene materials and misuse and abuse thereof.

These courts continued, however, to try cases falling outside their jurisdiction, such as theft and sexual offenses. Further, the vagueness of laws regarding national security allowed the revolutionary courts to try political and media crimes whenever they wished to do so.

 

The new law eliminated the Prosecutor’s Office and gave the judges inthe Revolutionary Courts the power to perform the duties of the prosecutor, as well as their own, in any case brought before them.

 

Islamic Revolutionary Courts, 2002-Present

 

The Amended Law for the Establishment of General and Revolutionary Courts of 2002 reinstated the Prosecutor’s Office in both revolutionary and general courts. In cases involving political and media crimes, revolutionary courts’ jurisdiction overlaps with that of Province Criminal Courts.

 

With the passage of the new Rules of Criminal Procedure in 2014, and its coming into force in June 2015, the jurisdiction of the revolutionary courts remains unchanged, with slight modifications in procedural aspects of adjudication. For instance, the new law provides that for crimes subject to the death penalty, life imprisonment, amputation, third degree, or higher, the revolutionary court shall convene with three judges, whereas, prior to the passage of this law, adjudication of all crimes within the jurisdiction of revolutionary courts took place with only a single judge.

The Appellate System of Revolutionary Courts, 1979-Present

 

From their inception until 1994, the rulings of the Revolutionary Courts were not subject to appeal. In the early 1980s a court entitled the Supreme Court of Qom was established in the city of Qom and which reviewed cases of execution and confiscation of properties, thereby forming a first tier form of appeal. The exact date of the creation of the court is not clear, but, based on available information, the court became operational in the early 1980s, even though Ayatollah Khomeini's official order for its creation is dated 1985. The court’s procedure was not systematic and did not meet the international standards for a court of appeals; there was no official record of its jurisdiction. The Supreme Court of Qom was dissolved in 1989.

 

The Law of 14 June 1994 subjected the Courts’ decisions to appeal. An appellate court was established at each provincial capital, called the Province Court of Appeals, composed of a three-judge panel, to review decisions made by the Revolutionary Courts. The Supreme Court was designated as the appellate authority for particular decisions, including those involving capital punishment.

 

Narcotic drugs-related crimes constitute a significant exception to the appeals process. Governed by the Anti-Narcotic Drugs Law of 1988, as Amended on 8 November 1997 and 31 July 3 2010, these crimes are within the jurisdiction of, and are adjudicated on a regular basis by, Revolutionary Courts whose decisions are final. After being handed down by the judge, death sentences are sent to the Prosecutor General or the Head of the Supreme Court as a matter of administrative approval.

 

With the passage of the new Rules of Criminal Procedure in 2014 (and its coming into force in June 2015), however, drug related crimes became subject to appeal as well.

General Courts, 1979-1982

 

In cases not falling under the jurisdiction of the Revolutionary Courts, the system devised under the previous regime continued to function in parallel with new systems devised by laws passed by the Judicial Council, one of which, entitled The Legal Bill for the Establishment of General Courts of 11 September 1979, radically changed the entire structure and categorization of the courts. It divided the courts in three branches: Criminal, Civil, and Peace (a sort of arbitration court dealing with minor financial and other disputes). Specialized courts such as family courts were eliminated.

 

General Courts, 1982-1994

 

The Law of the Amendments to the Rules of Criminal Procedure of 1982 established a new criminal courts system, Criminal Courts I and II. Criminal Court I, established only in provincial capitals, had jurisdiction over more serious offenses, including those punishable by death, and Criminal Court II heard less serious crimes.

 

General Courts, 1994-2002

 

The Law for the Establishment of General and Revolutionary Courts of 14 June 1994 established umbrella courts called General Courts, which replaced and dissolved pre-existing civil and criminal courts. The law dissolved the Prosecutor’s offices and tasked a single person with the roles of judge, prosecutor, and investigator.

 

General Courts, 2002-2015

 

In 2002, the 1994 Law was amended, reviving the role of the Prosecutor’s Office in General Courts. The prosecution offices were re-established in a gradual process over several years. The amended law also re-established specialized branches within general courts dealing separately with criminal and civil matters. In addition, this law allocated a number of branches of the Province Court of Appeals to have original jurisdiction over a number of cases including the most serious offenses, as well as political and media crimes. In these cases, the branches are called the Province Criminal Court.

 

General Courts, 2015 to Today

 

With the passage of the new Rules of Criminal Procedure in 2014 and its coming into force in June 2015, general courts underwent certain changes as well. Criminal courts were divided into Criminal Court One, Criminal Court Two, Military Court, Juvenile Court, and Revolutionary Court. Criminal Court One has jurisdiction over serious crimes such as those subject to the death penalty, life imprisonment, amputation, third degree, and higher, as well as political and media crimes. Criminal Court Two has jurisdiction over other crimes. Another change consists of the establishment of juvenile courts, which adjudicates crimes committed by individuals less than 18 years of age. In cases where the individuals less than 18 commit serious crimes such as those subject to the death penalty, however, Criminal Court One will have jurisdiction, observing rules of juvenile criminal procedure.

 

The Appellate System of General Courts, 1979-Present

 

The Legal Bill for the Establishment of General Courts of 11 September 1979, abolished appeal of most criminal courts’ decisions. The law of 1982 restricted the appeal possibility even further. According to the Islamic Republic authorities’ interpretation of Islamic Law, a qualified jurist’s decisions were not subject to appeal except under special circumstances, such as when the judge realized his own mistake, or another judge advised him so, or when he did not have jurisdiction over the case. Even in such situations, the case would not go to a higher court but would be subject to review by the same judge or another judge at his level. The judges were even urged to call their verdicts “opinions,” so that the possible change in the verdict would not be “haram” (“sinful,” the highest level of prohibition in Islam, disobedience of which would result in a sin).

 

In October 1988, the Majles (Iranian parliament) passed a law regarding review of court judgments. This law provided for an appeal if the conviction was claimed to be based on invalid documentation or false testimony. The defendant could also base an appeal on a point of law or a procedural violation.

 

The appellate system was expanded in other laws in the late 1980s and in 1993. The Law for the Establishment of Criminal Courts I and II of 11 July 1989 created the Branches of the Supreme Court. Crimes of less importance, tried in Criminal Court II, were subject to review by Criminal Court I.

 

For the most important crimes involving death punishment, which were under the jurisdiction of Criminal Court I, the law allowed limited appeal to the Branches of the Supreme Court. Defendants had the right to petition the Supreme Court for appeal in certain cases involving false testimony or procedural violations, and if granted, the case would be remanded to either another criminal court or the original one.

 

Finally, the Law for the Establishment of General and Revolutionary Courts of 1994, as amended in 2002, established an appellate court at each provincial capital, called Province Court of Appeals, composed of a three-judge panel, to review decisions made by both general and revolutionary courts. The Supreme Court was designated as the appellate authority for particular decisions, including those carrying the death penalty, as well as decisions made by the Province Criminal Court.

 

The amended law of 2002, continued the appellate procedure to the Branches of the Supreme Court established by the afore-mentioned law of 11 July 1989

 

The Supreme Court continues to be the competent authority to rule on new trials, which have been provided for in limited circumstances.

With the passage of the new Rules of Criminal Procedure in 2014 and its coming into force in June 2015, the Court of Appeals shall be the competent authority to hear appeals from Criminal Court Two decisions, and the Supreme Court shall hear appeals from Criminal Court One decisions.

Special Courts for the Clergy

 

These courts are rooted in a 1979 decree, issued by Ayatollah Khomeini, which established a committee of religious and noble figures in every region to purge the clergy of anti-revolutionary elements under the supervision of the Revolutionary Courts. Between late 1981 and 1984, a special court in the city of Qom handled, though not systematically, the trial of clerics.

 

On 29 July 1987, Ayatollah Khomeini officially appointed a prosecutor and a member of the clergy as Shari’a judge for Special Courts for the Clergy. On 6 August 1990, a directive was issued regulating the conduct of these courts, the jurisdictional ambiguity of which is such that it effectively extends to “anyone where one of the parties is a cleric” and to “all matters in which the Court is designated as competent by the Supreme Leader.”

 

The court, which was not mentioned in the Islamic Republic's constitution, was mandated to try “pseudo clerics, those related to/connected with the clergy, for public and/or anti-revolutionary crimes, and violations of the prestige of the clergy,” and where the principal suspect is a member of the clergy, “any co-conspirator or assistant, whether a cleric or not.”

 

These courts are generally not open to the public and can issue sentences for all acts and omissions punishable under codified Iranian laws or Shari’a or for any other acts or omissions which can bring dishonor to the clergy or to the Islamic Revolution. Further, in certain particular cases – which have not been defined – where no punishment has been devised by either the Penal Code or even the Shari’a, the Court “can rule as it deems fit.” 

 

The Appellate System of the Special Court for the Clergy, 1979-Present

 

There is no information on any appeal process for the Special Court for the Clergy prior to the 1990 directive. Article 49 of said directive set up, however, an appeals court called Special Appellate Court for the Clergy, the head of which is appointed by the Supreme Leader, to which the decisions of the lower court can be appealed.

 

Military Courts

 

The military court system, independent from the judiciary under the previous regime, became a part of it on 1 December 1981. The Judiciary Organization of the Armed Forces, established in 1986, replaced and merged other military courts and tribunals in existence at the time, namely the pre-revolution Judiciary Organization of the Army, the Revolutionary Tribunal of the Army (established on 8 December 1979), and the Revolutionary and General Court for the Revolutionary Guards (established on 15 July 1979.) The Judiciary Organization of the Armed Forces has its own Criminal Code and follows the country’s general rules of criminal procedure.

 

The Law of the Criminal Procedure of the Armed Forces of 15 May 1985 created Military Courts I and II. Military Court I has jurisdiction over more serious offenses, including those punishable by death, and Military Court II hears less serious crimes.

 

The Appellate System of Military Courts, 1979-Present

 

The law of 8 December 1979, establishing the Revolutionary Military Court, did not provide for any appeals. The Law of 15 May 1985 created a system of appeals through the creation of a two-tier system of courts. The decisions of Military Court II were subject to review by Military Court I. This law also provided that multiple Branches of the Supreme Court be designated as the appellate court to review decisions of Military Court I.

 

The judges

 

1979-1997: Prosecutors and judges are not necessarily law graduates and jurists. Shortly after the Islamic Revolution, a five-member Committee was established to purge the judicial system of undesirable elements, pursuant to the Legal Bill for the Modification of the Judiciary and the Law for Hiring Judges of 8 March 1979. The power of the committee was absolute and its decisions, resulting in a widespread purge of the judiciary, final.

 

The Law for the Conditions of Selection of Judges of 4 May 1981 established the conditions of eligibility for judges. The latter were to be hired among men who were legitimate children and had practical commitment to Islam and allegiance to the Islamic Republic. The law, which led to the hiring of clerics and Islamic legal scholars, also allowed hiring practically anyone as a judge who could “obtain the Judicial High Council’s permission.” Moreover, Note 2 of the Amendments of 4 October 1982 to this law allowed widespread employment of seminary students “who ha[d] general knowledge equivalent to a high school diploma” as judges at prosecutor’s offices in general as well as Revolutionary Courts.  

 

By 1989, the judiciary counted about 2,000 new judges trained in theological seminaries (graduates and students) and political appointees, many having replaced judges trained in law schools.

 

1997-Present: As of this writing (2013) the Law for Hiring Judges and its amendments of 4 October 1982, 7 February 1987, and 9 May 1988 are in full force and form the basis for hiring judges. The Executive Rules of Procedure of 22 December 1997 subjected such hiring to passing an entrance examination and successful completion of an apprenticeship program, the duration of which ranges between one and two years. The law does not limit hiring to men only but does not specify in what capacity women will be functioning, other than an advisory one.

Currently, judges are selected in accordance with the Guidelines on the Recruitment, Selection, and Internship for Judicial Candidates and the Hiring of Judges.

 

Dismissal of Judges: From 1979 to 1989, the judiciary was run by the Supreme Judicial Council which was composed of the head of the Supreme Court, the Prosecutor General (both of whom were appointed by the Supreme Leader), and three judges elected by the entire body of judges in the country. The Council had the power to hire and dismiss judges in accordance with the law.

 

The constitutional reforms of 1989 substituted the Supreme Judicial Council with one person, the Head of the Judiciary. The Supreme Leader, whose mandate is not subject to popular vote, appoints the Head of the Judiciary for a 5-year term. The latter has significant power to influence the dismissal of judges. Dismissal cases are referred to three types of disciplinary courts, presided over by judges appointed by the Head of the Judiciary, who has veto power over any decisions made by the relevant courts.

 

Two of these courts, established in 1991 and 2011, are charged with examining the judges’ conduct from a religious and ideological standpoint. The process does not necessarily involve the defendant and the final decision, left to the Head of the Judiciary, is not subject to appeal.

 

Human rights violations

Based on the available information, the following human rights may have been violated in this case:

Pre-trial detention rights

  • The right to know promptly and in detail the nature and cause of the charges against one.

UDHR, Article 9(2); ICCPR, Article 9.2 and Article 14.3.a

  • The right to adequate time and facilities for the preparation of the defense case.

ICCPR, Article 14.3.b.

  • The right not to be subjected to torture and to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

ICCPR, Article 7; Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment and Punishment, Article 1 and Article 2.

Trial rights

  • The right to a fair and public trial without undue delay.

ICCPR, Article 14.1, Article 14.3.c.

  • The right to examine, or have examined, the witnesses against one, and the right to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on one’s behalf under the same conditions as prosecution witnesses.

ICCPR, Article 14.3.d and Article 14.3.e.

Capital punishment
  • The inherent right to life, of which no one shall be arbitrarily deprived.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Article 3; International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Article 6.1; Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty, Article 1.1, Article 1.2.

  • The right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment.

ICCPR, Article 7; Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment and Punishment, Article 1 and Article 2.

  • The right of a person not to be subjected to the capital punishment for an offence committed before the age of eighteen. The right not to be deprived of life while pregnant.

ICCPR, Article 6.5; Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 37.a.

About this Case

At three months old, he experienced an episode of high fever and severe seizure which resulted in loss of hearing in one ear and disability in one leg. Physical problems, in addition to the the treatment he received from school officials, had turned him into a belligerent loner.

News of Mr. Amir Hossein Purja'far Katamjani, child of Roghieh and Habib, was published by Mizan News Agency (January 4, 2018) and IRNA news agency (January 4, 2018). Additional information about this case was obtained from Mizan News Agency (April 18, 2016, May 3, 2016, January 9, 2017, September 25, 2017, October 9, 2017), MEHR News Agency (January 9, 2017), ISNA news agency (September 25, 2017), Fars News Agency (April 27, 2016), Iran newspaper (April 17, 2016), Young Reporters Club (April 16, 2016), Khabar Online (October 27, 2017, February 17, 2018), Amnesty International website (October 13, 2017), Shahrvand newspaper (January 16, 2018), HRANA news agency (October 18, 2017), Rokna (January 4, 2018), Sarpush –e Havades website (January 6, 2018), and the Islamic Consultative Assembly Research Center’s website (May 1, 2013).

Mr. Purjafar was born on December 16, 1999, and lived with his father, mother, and three sisters in the city of Varamin’s Kheirabad village. At three months old, he experienced an episode of high fever and severe seizure which resulted in loss of hearing in one ear and disability in one leg. According to his mother, he was “belligerent” and “a loner” because of his physical problem. For that reason, Mr. Purjafar was on medication prescribed by doctors and had to stay on those medications until the age of 20. Mr. Purjafar’s father was not very close to him and was working most of the time. Mr. Purjafar had good relations with his older sister, and other than that, he had one close friend. His only friend has described him as “quiet” and “aloof”. Because of his personality traits, school officials separated Mr. Purjafar from other students and this had an immense adverse affect on him. Mr. Purjafar’s family was therefore forced to change his school. (Khabar Online).

Because of his personality and his living environment, Mr. Purjafar did not have the possibility of recreational activities, and instead, did technical work in his spare time. According to his mother, “Amir Hossein repaired everything that needed to be fixed in the house”. (Khabar Online).

Mr. Purjafar’s case is related to the murder of Setayesh Qoreishi, a 6-year-old Afghan girl, on April 10, 2016, at the city of Varamin’s Kheirabad village.

International laws have strictly prohibited capital punishment for those who were under the age of 18 at the time of committing a crime. As a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Iran has the obligation not to impose capital punishment for an offence committed before the age of eighteen.

Arrest and detention

On the afternoon of April 10, 2016, someone reported the disappearance of a 6-year-old girl to the police. Two days later, on April 12, the police discovered the girl’s body in the bathtub of the neighbor, Mr. Purjafar’s home (Young Reporters Club) and Mr. Purjafar was subsequently arrested in the city of Varamin a few days later. Since he was 17 years old at the time of the arrest, he was turned over to the Reform and Rehabilitation Center, and subsequently transferred to Rajaishahr Prison. On April 20, 2016, a court-appointed lawyer was designated for Mr. Purjafar. (Mizan and IRNA news agencies, January 4, 2018).

Mr. Purjafar had spent 20 days of his detention at Razi (Aminabad) Mental Hospital due the severity of his illness and his extreme belligerence. He had also tried to harm himself in prison on two occasions.

According to Mr. Purjafar’s father and his attorney, he spent 20 days of his detention in January 2017, at Razi (Aminabad) Mental Hospital due to the severity of his illness and his extreme belligerence. He had also tried to harm himself in prison on two occasions. (Shahrvand newspaper, Sarpush-e Havades website).

Mr. Purjafar’s last visitation with his family was on the morning of January 2, 2018. Members of his family were not certain whether that visitation were to be the last or not. (Rokna).

Trial

Tehran Province Criminal Court One, Branch 7 tried Mr. Purjafar in several sessions. He had a court-appointed lawyer.

According to available information, judicial authorities tried Mr. Purjafar out of turn and in a special way. In May 2016, the case was investigated at the City of Varamin General and Revolutionary Prosecutor’s Office and an indictment was issued less than a month later. The case was then referred to Tehran Province Criminal Court One, Branch 7 to go to trial. The first trial session was convened on September 14, 2016. According to Mr. Purjafar’s attorney, “the trial was closed door when hearing the charge of ‘salacious [and unchaste] act’ and was open to the public regarding the other charges”. (Mizan, Fars, IRNA, and ISNA, news agencies). No information is available regarding the other hearings in this case.

Charges

Mr. Purjafar’s charges were said to have been “intentional murder, forcible rape, and committing a crime on a corpse”. (Boroumand Center interview).

With the discovery of the 6-year-old girl’s body in the bathtub of Mr. Purjafar’s home, he was charged with her murder.

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. Purjafar’s case was prepared based on “preliminary investigations” conducted subsequent to the disappearance report and after the discovery of the victim’s body. (Mizan Newws Agency). The details of these investigations are not available. Mr. Purjafar’s confessions after his arrest, and in court, were among the evidence used against him.

On April 16, 2016, Mr. Purjafar was taken to the scene of the murder on the orders of the City of Varamin’s Criminal Investigation Judge, and described and re-enacted the event.

The Medical Examiner’s report as to Mr. Purjafar’s good health was also used against him in this case. In order to examine Mr. Purjafar’s mental health, a commission comprised of experts, the principal of the school where he was a student, and his parents, was established. (IRNA).

Although according to his birth certificate, Mr. Purjafar was 17 years old at the time of the commission of the crime, judicial authorities believed that “he had reached mental and intellectual maturity and was able to determine the illegality of the crime”. (Mizan News Agency). Relying on medical examinations and the psychologists’ and the Medical Examiner’s reports, the Supreme Court confirmed Mr. Purjafar’s “mental health and intellectual maturity”. (Shahrvand newspaper).

Defense

Judicial authorities paid no attention to the diagnosis by the psychologist and the social worker at the Reform and Rehabilitation Center regarding Mr. Purjafar’s mental illness.

Mr. Purjafar’s psychologist during detention described him as an “extremely introverted” individual “who lacked the ability to establish a rapport with others”. According to this expert, Mr. Purjafar suffered from personality disorder as a result of which “he violated laws and the prevailing order”. (Khabar Online).

Furthermore, according to the Reform and Rehabilitation Center’s experts, Mr. Purjafar suffered from “behavioral disorder”. According to them, if this disorder goes on without being treated, it can lead to “sociopathic personality” in the patient and “loss of empathy toward others”. In other words, “a normal person feels bad about the suffering of another, but a person with behavioral disorder is not affected by it”. (Sarpush-e Havades website).

Regarding his mental state at the time of the commission of the crime, Mr. Purjafar had stated: “I didn’t feel like myself then. I don’t remember any of the things I did.” (Rokna).

According to a person with knowledge of the case, Mr. Purjafar had used drugs on the day of the event. This person believes “getting drugs in Varamin’s Kheirabad is extremely simple” and these drugs have unpredictable effects on the user’s behavior. This person described Mr. Purjafar as a “harmless” individual who had committed rape and murder under the influence of drugs. (Sarpush-e Havades website). 

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

The most important defect in Mr. Purjafar’s conviction is the lack of sufficient attention given to his mental state and to the consequences of his age at the time of the commission of the crime. According to published reports, Mr. Purjafar suffered from mental illness and used medication. According to other reports, he had used narcotic drugs on the day of the crime. Additionally, he was under the age of 18 at the time of the event. Pursuant to Iranian law, if a crime is committed in circumstances of temporary insanity, the perpetrator will not have absolute criminal responsibility. Furthermore, pursuant to Islamic Penal Code Article 91, if the person under 18 years of age commits a crime carrying Hadd punishment or Qesas, if there is any doubt as to his intellectual maturity, or that he did not understand the nature of his actions, Hadd punishment or Qesas will not be carried out against him. In this case, Mr. Purjafar’s conduct indicates that he was not completely aware of the nature and the consequences of his actions because of his illness and his age. It was therefore necessary to ask the opinion of expert psychologists in order to ascertain the level of his awareness of his actions. It seems that this case was influenced by the [negative] public sentiment [toward Mr. Purjafar] and that the judicial authorities have acted in haste. 

Judgment

Tehran Province Criminal Court One, Branch 7 sentenced Mr. Amir Hossein Purja'far Katamjani to Qesas [of life, or “retribution for taking a life”] on the charge of intentional murder, and to death on the charge of forcible rape. (ISNA and Rokna). The sentence was upheld by Supreme Court Branch 32 on January 9, 2017, citing the amendments to Islamic Penal Code Articles 133 and 382. (Mizan News Agency).

On January 4, 2018, Mr. Amir Hossein Purja'far Katamjani was hanged at Varamin Prison in the presence of the victim’s family and the prosecutor’s representative. (IRNA). On orders of the court, implementation of the death sentence was postponed until Mr. Purjafar reached the age of 18. (Sarpush-e Havades website).

Regarding the charge of committing a crime against a corpse, Mr. Purjafar had also been sentenced to 74 lashes. (ISNA).

Mr. Purjafar’s body was taken by his family from Rajaishahr Prison to Kheirabad village and was buried “in silence and without anyone’s knowledge”. (Sarpush-e Havades website). 

Reactions to Mr. Amir Hossein Purja'far Katamjani’s Execution

The Head of Tehran Province Judiciary stated that the death sentence was implemented “upon the request and insistence” of the victim’s family. (IRNA). In another statement, however, he had said that since Mr. Purjafar had been sentenced to death for “forcible rape” (and to Qesas for “murder”), the death sentence would still be carried out even if the victim’s family would forgive him and forego the implementation of Qesas. (Mizan News Agency)

Mr. Purjafar’s family, civil society institutions inside Iran, and international organizations such as Amnesty International, had tried for a long time to overturn or delay the death sentence. (Boroumand Center research). Furthermore, a few hours before the hanging, Mr. Purjafar’s family and representatives from several civil society organizations had gathered behind the prison gate to get the victim’s family to forgive him and forego Qesas. However, these efforts became moot when it was announced that the death sentence had been carried out. (Sarpush-e Havades website).

For the Afghan family whose daughter had been raped and murdered by Mr. Purjafar, the day of his execution was just as bad as the day they heard the news of their daughter’s murder: Mr. Purjafar’s execution did not help alleviate their pain in the least.

In an article, Leili Rashidi, Iranian movie and television actress, considered Mr. Purjafar’s execution a violation of the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and emphasized: “The mistake Amir Hossein made was influenced by outside events. The environment in which Amir Hossein grew up, the education system, family upbringing, etc., and factors that have disregarded children, including Amir Hossein, are the reasons why such events occur.” (Rokna).

Mr. Purjafar’s father considered the persecution of his grandchildren at school, the conflicts between the families of his son-in-law’s with his daughters, and the cutting off of family relations, as the effects of his son’s crime and execution. (Khabar Online).

A short while after Mr. Purjafar’s execution, Setayesh Qoreishi’s mother said in an interview: “Amir Hossein’s execution didn’t make us feel any better and didn’t change anything. It only took [another person’s] life. We thought that we would find solace and closure once Amir Hossein was executed. But for us, the day Amir Hossein was hanged was exactly like the day we heard the news of our daughter’s murder. None of us felt well. Perhaps if we could turn back the clock, we would forgive Amir Hossein so he wouldn’t be executed. But even that one time that his execution had been delayed, they accused us of having sold our daughter’s life for money.” (Khabar Online).

____________________________

*Islamic Penal Code of 2013, Article 133: “In the event that multiple crimes subject to Hadd punishment and Qesas have been committed, said crimes shall be combined. However, if the Hadd punishment destroys the subject matter of Qesas, or delays implementation of Qesas, implementation of Qesas takes priority; and in the event that immediate implementation of Qesas is not demanded, or [the next of kin] forgives [and forgoes Qesas], or Qesas has been substituted by payment of Diah (“blood money”), Hadd punishment shall be implemented.”
**Islamic Penal Code of 2013, Article 382: “In the event that a Moslem woman is murdered intentionally, the right of Qesas remains steadfast; however, if the murderer is a Moslem man, the next of kin shall pay him half of the full Diah before Qesas can be implemented, and if the murderer is a non-moslem man, Qesas shall be carried out without any payments. In cases of Qesas against a non-Moslem man for the murder of a non-Moslem woman, it is necessary to pay the difference in their [respective] Diah’s.”

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