Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Amir Ali Shadabi


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


Date of Killing: July 14, 2019
Location of Killing: Minab Prison, Minab, Hormozgan Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Murder
Age at time of offense: 17

About this Case

Does a 17-year-old juvenile even appreciate and comprehend the consequences of his/her actions like adults do?

News of Mr. Amirali Shadabi’s execution was obtained from an interview conducted by the Abdorrahman Boroumand Center with a person close to him (September 24, 2019), and one of Mr. Shadabi’s prison mates (July 12, 2019). News of this execution and that of two other individuals was also published on the Iran Human Rights Organization’s website (July 19, 2019).

Mr. Shadabi was single and had a seventh grade education. He was born and resided in the town of Minab in Hormozgan Province.

According to his prison mates in Minab Prison, Mr. Shadabi was “a courageous and intelligent boy”. He did not lie. “Everybody in prison liked him because he was young and a really great kid.” (Boroumand Center interview with his ward mate).

Mr. Shadabi’s case is related to a murder committed in the town of Minab on November 13, 2013. He was 17 years old at the time.

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

Mr. Shadabi was arrested by the police on the morning of November 14, 2013, and taken to the Criminal Investigations Bureau based on a complaint lodged by a family who claimed he had murdered their son. Mr. Shadabi spent five years and six months in prison and was allowed visitations with his family.


Minab County Court tried Mr. Shadabi. He was represented by counsel. There are, however, no details regarding his trial session(s).


According to available information, in the course of a group altercation, Mr. Shadabi had stabbed an individual who was bigger and stronger than he was and had severely beaten him, thereby causing his death. Mr. Shadabi went to his sister’s home after the incident and stayed in his own neighborhood.

The validity of the criminal charges brought against this defendant cannot be ascertained in the absence of the basic guarantees of a fair trial.  International human rights organizations have drawn attention to reports indicating that the Islamic Republic authorities have brought trumped-up charges, including drug trafficking, sexual, and other criminal offences, against their opponents (including political, civil society activists, as well as unionists and ethnic and religious minorities). Each year Iranian authorities sentence to death hundreds of alleged common criminals, following judicial processes that fail to meet international standards. The exact number of people convicted and executed based on trumped-up charges is unknown.

Evidence of guilt

The evidence used against Mr. Shadabi was declared to have been “the Defendant’s confession, testimony of several eyewitnesses, the complaint of the murder victim’s family, and the Medical Examiner’s report”. (Boroumand Center interview with his ward mate).

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.


Mr. Shadabi was 17 years old at the time of the crime. Defending himself during interrogations conducted by the Criminal Investigations Bureau officers, he stated that he had not killed the victim and had stabbed him to defend himself. According to Mr. Shadabi, “that man was very tall and was on top of me. He beat me a lot and I stabbed him to defend myself”. (Boroumand Center interview with his ward mate). No other information is available about his or his attorney’s statements in his defense.

A Summary of the Defects of Mr. Amirali Shadabi’s Legal Proceedings

According to available information, Mr. Amirali Shadabi stated in his defense that the murder victim was a stronger individual than he was, and that he had acted in self-defense in using a knife to stab him. Although self-defense has its own specific requirements, and not any defense of the self can be considered legitimate [for the purpose of the application of the statute], the consequence of capital punishment having been designated as the punishment for murder, however, is that a defendant is either executed or not punished at all. In other words, in certain instances, it is possible that the defendant’s action does not constitute self-defense but is [simply] a reaction to the victim’s action, and that the defendant has no other choice in that moment but to take action. In such cases, it seems that the defendant should be entitled to a lesser punishment; he/she should not be punished in the same way as a person who had premeditated his/her actions and committed murder intentionally. In other words, [what has happened in effect, is that] Qesas of life (retribution) has eliminated the case by case nature of punishments and the issuance of a punishment proportionate to the criminal act.

At the time of the commitment of the crime, Amirali Shadabi was 17 years old. Although the age of puberty is the age where criminal responsibility attaches, and Amirali had reached puberty at the time of the murder, the modification of the Islamic Penal Code of 2013, made it possible, however, for juveniles under the age of 18 to be spared the death penalty. Pursuant to Islamic Penal Code Article 91 “In crimes requiring Hadd or Qesas, if the individuals under the age of 18 who have attained puberty cannot comprehend the nature of the crime or the prohibition thereof, or if there is doubt as to their mental development [and capacity] and maturity, they will be sentenced to the punishments prescribed in this chapter on a case by case basis. Note: In order to ascertain mental development and maturity, the court may obtain the medical examiner’s opinion, or utilize any other method it deems appropriate.” In this case, it appears that the judicial authorities did not believe that Mr. Shadabi did not have the requisite maturity at the time of the murder; it can be said, however, that generally speaking, a 17-year-old juvenile can hardly appreciate and comprehend the consequences of his/her actions as an adult would. Furthermore, in order to ascertain a defendant’s level of mental development and maturity, the matter is either considered by the judge, or referred to the Medical Examiner’s Office for advisement, and it is worth noting that Medical Examner’s Offices in Iran usually lack child psychologists. For that reason, it appears that Article 91 is not applied in a methodical fashion and there is no specialized process as to certain juvenile delinquents.


The Minab Court sentenced Mr. Amirali Shadabi to death. The sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court.

Mr. Shadabi and two other individuals were hanged at Minab Prison on July 14, 2019.

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