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

Mahbubeh Mofidi

About

Age: 21
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Married

Case

Date of Killing: January 30, 2018
Location of Killing: Nowshahr Prison, Nowshahr, Mazandaran Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Murder
Age at time of offense: 17

About this Case

She was married to her husband when she was only 13 years old, and was arrested when she was 17.

News of Ms. Mahbubeh Mofidi’s execution was published in Iran newspaper (February 3, 2018) and on the website of Iran Human Rights Organization (February 1, 2018). Additional information about this execution was obtained from the website of Iran Human Rights Organization (February 5, 2018). 

Ms. Mofidi was born on May 18, 1997, in a village outside the city of Noshahr in Mazandaran Province. She was married to her husband in 2009, when she was less than 13 years old. 

Ms. Mofidi’s case, known as the 17-year-old new bride, is related to a murder committed on December 17, 2013, in a village outside of the city of Noshahr. 

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.

Arrest and detention

Ms. Mofidi was arrested and detained in 2014. The exact date of the arrest is not available. Ms. Mofidi was incarcerated at Noshahr Prison.

Following the suspicious death of Ms. Mofidi’s husband, the Criminal Police had put her under surveillance. When the Medical Examiner’s toxicology results were released, Ms. Mofidi, who had expressed her innocence when she was first questioned after her husband’s demise, was the first person to be arrested in the investigations into her husband’s death, and was subjected to interrogations. (Iran newspaper). 

Trial

No information is available about Ms. Mofidi’s trial session(s). According to available information, Ms. Mofidi was represented by an attorney. 

Charges

Ms. Mofidi was charged with being “the principal in the murder” [of her spouse]. She was accused of having murdered her husband with the aid of her husband’s brother. 

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

According to the authorities, in the course of its investigations, the Criminal Investigations Police “had obtained certain evidence, and was positive” that Ms. Mofidi was involved in the murder of her spouse. These sources also refer to “technical and expert interrogations” and to Ms. Mofidi’s “confession” to killing her husband, in a conspiracy with her husband’s brother in order to marry him. (Iran newspaper). There is no information regarding the evidence used against Ms. Mofidi at trial in the report of this execution. 

Because of her ignorance of the law and because she wanted to prevent her brother-in-law from being executed, she made a false confession admitting to have been involved in the plan to murder her husband. 

The Coroner’s (Medical Examiner’s) autopsy of Ms. Mofidi’s husband showed that he had been killed on December 17, 2013, by ingesting rice pills. (Iran newspaper and Iran Human Rights Organization). 

In preliminary investigations, Ms. Mofidi had stated: “My husband and I had a good life together. On the night of the incident, my husband said that he wasn’t feeling well and took some Amoxicillin and Mefenamic Acid pills and went to sleep. However, he became very ill a few hours later. I immediately got in touch with his family and we took him to the hospital with the help of his brother, but unfortunately he passed away.” (Iran newspaper). 

According to official reports, Ms. Mofidi confessed to killing her husband some time later during interrogations, and recounted the story as follows: “A short while after marrying my husband, I fell in love with his brother and this love was so strong that it took us to where we decided to kill my husband and get married. Therefore, we made plans and my husband’s brother placed rice pills inside Amoxicillin and Mefenamic acid capsules and gave them to me. I then had my husband take the capsules, telling him that they were effective in helping us have children more quickly; and that resulted in his death.” (Iran newspaper). 

Defense

A person close to Ms. Mofidi believes she had not participated in murdering her husband and that she was simply “the victim of a brother killing his brother”. This person believed that the murder of Ms. Mofidi’s husband was his brother’s plan and stated: “The victim’s brother confessed to killing his brother when he was arrested, and said that Mahbubeh had no knowledge of the content of the capsules, which contained rice pills. However, later, in the second trial session, upon his family’s insistence and threats, he changed his confessions.” (Iran Human Right Organization).

A person close to Ms. Mofidi believes she was “a victim of fratricide”

According to this person, Ms. Mofidi had no knowledge of the content of the capsules and had trusted her brother-in-law who had said that “the pills are beneficial to your husband’s treatment” and had given them to her spouse on that basis. (Iran Human Right Organization). 

Regarding Ms. Mofidi’s admissions in prison, the person close to Ms. Mofidi stated: “In subsequent trial sessions, Mahbubeh’s brother-in-law duped her and told her ‘if you say you knew what was in the capsules, both of our crimes will be conspiracy to commit murder and neither one of us will be executed, otherwise they will execute me’. Since Mahbubeh was in love with her husband’s brother, she accepted to declare in court that she knew about the contents of the capsules. That boy had called Mahbubeh’s lawyers and parents numerous times from jail and admitted that Mahbubeh had no idea about the contents of the pills.” (Iran Human Right Organization). 

No information is available about the defense presented by Ms. Mofidi or his attorney in court. 

Judgment

Mazandaran Province Criminal Court sentenced Ms. Mahbubeh Mofidi to Qesas. The Supreme Court upheld the sentence, and, upon approval and permission by the Head of the Judiciary Branch, the case was referred back to Noshahr Prosecutor’s Office for implementation. 

Ms. Mahbubeh Mofidi was hanged at Noshahr Prison on Tuesday, January 30, 2018. 

Prior to her execution, local and village elders tried to get the victim’s next of kin to forgive and forego Qesas but their efforts were not successful.

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