Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Abolfazl Rostami


Age: 33
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Married


Date of Killing: January 6, 2008
Location of Killing: Arak, Markazi Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Murder; Rape
Age at time of alleged offense: 31

About this Case

The execution of Mr. Abolfazl Rostami and one other person was reported by Fars News Service, on January 6, 2008.  Additional information on this case was gathered from Khorasan Newspaper (July 9, 2007), and from Iran, Javan, and Kayhan Newspapers (January 4, 2006).

Mr. Rostami was 31 years old, participated in martial arts, was married, and lived in Arak.  He was a former member of the police force.  He had resigned his job five months prior to the incident, and was a security guard at a company.

His case was related to murder and rape in the mountains around Arak, in the fall of 2005.

On December 1, 2005, a young girl and boy had gone hiking in the Gerdoo mountains in the Arak area.  A man identified himself as a police officer, and detained them in the Darreh Gol area, for “illegal relations”.  The man tied the young boy to a tree and killed him with blows from a knife and a rock.  He raped the girl, took her identity card, address and phone number.  He threatened to accuse her of complicity in the murder, if she told anyone about the rape.  He then released her in town.  The girl went to the police and reported the crimes.  Fifteen days after the incident, the man called the girl’s house, several times.

Arrest and detention

About a month after this incident, Mr. Rostami was arrested by a police officer, on a street in Arak, on December 29, 2005.  Police were monitoring the rape victim’s phone.  They asked her to arrange a meeting with the man, so they could arrest him. In the course of these events, the girl identified Mr. Rostami as the man who had attacked her.


Branch 2 of the Criminal Court of the Central Province tried Mr. Rostami in several sessions.  The last session of court was held in July, 2007, in two parts - public and closed.  In the public session, the prosecutor presented the indictment and asked for the maximum penalty.  The family of the murder victim had asked for retaliation for taking a life.  In court, the accused was sitting in the front row, next to his court appointed counsel and several soldiers.  He was not wearing handcuffs, and he answered questions put to him by the judge.  Branch 301 of the Criminal Court of Arak tried Mr. Rostami for using a fake police identity card.


The Criminal court of the Central Province charged Mr. Rostami with “murder in the first degree and rape”.

Evidence of guilt

The evidence brought against Mr. Rostami in court included the testimony of the girl who had been raped and who had witnessed the murder.  There was also a report concerning the murder victim, from the Medical Examiner’s Office, showing the cause of death to have been injuries to the heart and lungs, caused by a sharp cutting object.


During the trial, Mr. Rostami denied all the charges brought against him.  He swore that he had never seen the victims.  The judge asked him how he had come to call the female victim’s house six times after the incident.  He said, “On the first day they arrested me, they played a tape of a conversation between a man and a woman, and they asked me to say the same things, in the same way.  The tape is fake, and I have never spoken to this lady on the phone.” 

The judge asked, “If you had not seen the murder victim, why did you say he was larger than you?” 

Mr. Rostami said, “According to the deceased’s fiancé, and under torture, I described his body size….all the court sessions and the interrogation sessions were unjust.  Whatever I said was under duress.”  He affirmed that he had not gone to the Gerdoo mountains, and that he only had a vague notion of the geography of the area due to his former job.  Mr. Rostami said that he had not been fired from the police force, and that he had voluntarily resigned and had received a severance package.  At the time, he had turned in his ID card.  In explaining his former statements, he said, “That day, the police brought in a public defender for me.  He said that if I write these things down, it would be to my benefit, and I did.  Later, I found out that he had been a police officer, not my public defender.  I wrote down my statement under torture that was against the law and contrary to religion.  I have filed a complaint about this with the Public Prosecutor’s Office.” 

The judge asked him if he had proof of this torture.  Mr. Rostami said, “When my family and I filed a complaint, they did not immediately send me to the Medical Examiner to be checked out.  They did this after two months.”  He said his finger had been broken and his head had been lacerated.  The judge looked at him and instructed the court secretary to record that there was no sign of laceration or a broken finger. 

When asked about the victim having identified him, Mr. Rostami said, “If I had committed murder or rape, I would have killed the only witness to my crimes.”  He said, “Maybe this lady had seen me somewhere, or maybe someone has described me to her.” 

When asked to explain his confession during police interrogation, Mr. Rostami said, “I was willing to die a hundred times a day, to avoid torture.  Eventually, in order to make the torture stop, I confessed to the crimes the way they wanted me to.  I was afraid the police would accuse me of several other murders, and they would torture me for many more months.  I preferred to be hung unjustly, rather than continue to live under unbearable physical and mental conditions.  I had turned in my ID card (Police Identification Card), and I had never made a copy of it.  In Branch 301 of the Criminal Court of Arak, they sentenced me for this charge, without considering the torture situation.  I protested this sentence, but the Appeals Court has not yet heard my case.”  In has last defense, he said, “I do not accept these charges.  I have not seen these people.  At the time of my arrest, they did not find a knife on me.  I have never been to the Gerdoo Mountains, and Miss ….. might have seen me someplace else.”  Mr. Rostami read his defense statement from a paper he was holding, and he requested that paper to be attached to his file. 

Mr. Rostami’s court-appointed counsel said in court, that he was responsible for the defense of his client, but that he could not add anything to what Mr. Rostami had already said.


The Criminal Court of the Central Province found Mr. Abolfazl Rostami guilty as charged and sentenced him to death by hanging.  This sentence was approved by Branch 32 of the Supreme Court.  Mr. Rostami was executed in public, at the site of the crimes, on January 6, 2008.  A group of people and the relatives of the victim were in attendance.

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