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

Seyed Iman Hosseini Moqadam

About

Age: 35
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Unknown

Case

Date of Execution: April 30, 2018
Location: Central Prison (Nedamatgah), Karaj, Alborz Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Corruption on earth; Rape
Age at time of offense: 30

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:

  • The right to equality before the law and the right to equal protection of the law.

UDHR, Article 7; ICCPR, Article 26.

The right to due process

  • The right to be presumed innocent until found guilty by a competent and impartial tribunal in accordance with law.

ICCPR, Article 14.1 and Article 14.2.

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 counsel of one’s own choosing or the right to legal aid. The right to communicate with one’s attorney in confidence

ICCPR, Article 14.3.b and Article 14.3.d; Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, Article 1, Article 2, Article 5, Article 6, and Article 8.

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

ICCPR, Article 14.3.b.

  • The right not to be compelled to testify against oneself or to confess to guilt.

ICCPR, Article 14.3.g.

  • 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.

  • The right to have the decision rendered in public.

ICCPR, Article 14.1.

Judgment rights

  • The right to seek pardon or commutation of sentence.

ICCPR, Article 6.4.

  • The right not to be tried or punished again for an offence for which one has already been

convicted or acquitted.

ICCPR, Article 14.7.

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.

About this Case

News of the execution of Mr. Seyed Iman Hosseini Moqadam, child of Seyed Reza, was published on the websites of Mizan News Agency, HRANA (the news arm of the Human Rights Activists in Iran), and Fars News Agency. (April 30, 2018). Additional information about this case was obtained from Mr. Hosseini Moqadam’s interview with Iran Human Rights Organization and from his mother’s letter published in the Iran Human Rights Organization website (November 27, and December 3, 2017), Fars News Agency website (February 2, 2016), IRNA (the Islamic Republic of Iran News Agency) (February 2, 2016), and Mizan News Agency (March 3, 2015).

Mr. Hosseini Moqadam had two wives and two children and was involved in construction and car sales. His case, known as the case of “the fake mailman”, is related to sexual offenses and theft in June-July 2012.

Arrest and detention

At 10 PM on December 30, 2013, the detectives from Greater Tehran’s Criminal Investigations Bureau’s 16th Precinct arrested Mr. Hossini Moqadam at her mother’s home located in a village in [the town of] Some’ehsara in Gilan Province. He was then taken to Shapur [Precinct] Criminal Investigations Bureau [in Tehran]. (Fars News Agency, April 30, 2018).

According to available information, Mr. Hosseini Moqadam was sought out after complaints were lodged by a number of women to the effect that they had been sexually assaulted and robbed.

As the police were taking action across the city of Tehran in order to find and arrest Mr. Hosseini Moqadam, a young woman called the Police 110 (the equivalent of 911) and stated that she had seen the defendant at a recreational center in Tehran. She also stated that the defendant had sexually assaulted her under the pretext of delivering a postal package. Looking at footage from closed circuit cameras around the young woman’s residence, the detectives were able to see the defendant’s motorcycle as he was fleeing the scene and determine the identity of the last owner, who turned out to be the defendant. (Fars News Agency, April 30, 2018).

According to Mr. Hosseini Moqadam, he was tortured for 70 days at the Shahpur Criminal Investigations Bureau. He weighed 123 kilograms (271 pounds) when he was taken to the Criminal Investigations Bureau and weighed only 78 kilograms (171 pounds) when he left there and was transferred to prison. He stated: “The torture was so awful that if you look at the video of me talking when I was at the Criminal Investigations Bureau, you will notice that I passed out several times and slipped from my chair. I was delirious.” (Iran Human Rights Organization, January 26, 2018). Furthermore, his mother’s letter states: “The torture was so intense that when my son was at Tehran Prosecutor’s Office Branch 21, he wanted to jump from the building to free himself from the torture, but the officers saved him at the very last minute.” (Mr. Hosseini Moqadam’s mother’s letter, Iran Human Rights Organization, December 3. 2017).

Mr. Hosseini Moqadam spent 5 years in prison. On April 22, 2018, he was transferred from Gohardasht Prison’s (Rajaishahr Prison) Ward 1 to a solitary confinement cell. (HRANA, April 30, 2018).

Trial

Tehran Islamic Revolutionary Court, Branch 15 tried Mr. Hosseini Moqadam in several sessions in the presence of the judge and his defense attorney. The first trial session took place on October 28, 2014 (IRNA, February 2, 2016)

Charges 

The charge brought Mr. Hosseini Moqadam was “30 counts of forcible rape”.

According to the contents of the case file, several women went to Shohada [District] 110th Police Precinct and stated that a person who identified himself as a mailman had rung their doorbell under the pretext of delivering a package, and had subsequently stolen their necklaces and other personal items by threatening them with a knife or a carpet cutting blade; some also stated that he had sexually assaulted them. Several of the women also stated that he had fled the scene on a black motorcycle.

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. Hosseini Moqadam were said to have been “the complaints of 40 plaintiffs, identification of the defendant subsequent to publication of his picture in the media by the plaintiffs, and the defendant’s confession during various phases of the investigation”. According to available information, the defendant faced his accusers (the plaintiffs) and accepted the charges brought against him and stated that he had been under the influence of methamphetamine and did not remember what had transpired. (IRNA, February 2, 2016).

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 

Mr. Hosseini Moqadam considered the entire process of his arrest and trial as unfair and not transparent. In his opinion, his attorney was not served a notice to appear in court for his defense and the court did not listen to his attorney’s defense of his client. He and his attorney appealed the court’s ruling; a brief was written and the case was submitted to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court pointed to defects in the case on several occasions, remanding the case back to the Revolutionary Court. “One of the defects in this case, which the judges had overlooked several times, was that some of the plaintiffs had stated that the person who intended to rape them was 170 centimeters (5 feet 7 inches) tall, while another had said that he was 190 centimeters (6 feet 2 inches) tall. One plaintiff had said he was 22 years old, another had said that he was 40.” In his opinion, this case had different defendants and “they put everything on me because of the Criminal Investigation Bureau’s shortcomings. I have lost my reputation. People believe what they read in newspapers. They don’t know what lies these [allegations] can be. We had 147 reasons based on tangible evidence that proved my innocence but they didn’t take any of them into consideration.” He continued: “I would produce documentation that I was not in Tehran at the time Plaintiff X claimed [I had committed the crime] and that I was in Some’ehsara, but the judge would not accept [the proof]. They had a total of 40 plaintiffs who had lodged complaints against me, only 16 of whom appeared in court, and of these 16 people, some claimed theft and others claimed sexual assault.” (The defendant’s interview available on the Iran Human Rights Organization’s website, November 27, 2017).

Mr. Hosseini Moqadam appealed the ruling issued by Tehran Islamic Revolutionary Court, Branch 15. Supreme Court, Branch 41 did not uphold the ruling and asked for further investigations. The order for further investigations was sent to another trial court, Tehran Islamic Revolutionary Court, Branch 28.

When Mr. Hosseini Moqadam’s sentence became final, his family and friends gathered in front of the Justice Ministry (Judiciary) Building in Tehran on November 27, 2017, and demanded a fair adjudication of his case. His brother, who was at the gathering, stated that for three billion Tumans, several governmental organs had set his brother up in cooperation with one of his wives.

A Summary of the Legal Defects in the Adjudication of Mr. Seyed Iman Hosseini Moqadam’s Case

What can be easily observed in this case is that the plaintiffs’ statements are contradictory, a fact that the Supreme Court also demanded that it be rectified. According to available information and Judge Moghisseh’s statements, there were 40 plaintiffs in this case, only 16 of whom appeared in court. The statements of these individuals regarding the physical characteristics of the perpetrator were different. Additionally, an individual who resembled the defendant was also identified and found but the court did not summon him. In accordance with the law, investigations must be conducted in a thorough manner and in such a way so as not to leave any doubt as to the facts of the case. In the present case, investigations were flawed and incomplete, and the investigating authorities could have obtained more complete information had they examined the cameras at the location or carried out field investigations. The fact that the Supreme Court overruled Branch 15’s rulings on two separate occasions indicates the lack of attention and serious flaws in the investigations and at trial.

According to available information and the defendant and his mother’s statements, Mr. Hosseini Moqadam had been forced to make a self-incriminating confession under duress and torture at the Criminal Investigations Bureau. Subjecting a defendant to torture and duress is illegal under Iranian laws and considered to be a crime. Furthermore, any confessions or admissions so obtained are without legal credence. Principle 38 of the Iranian Constitution, as well as certain Iranian laws, expressly so provide. Additionally, similar to the Constitution, the Law for Respecting Legitimate Freedoms and Safeguarding Citizens’ Rights of 2004, Paragraph 9 provides: “All forms of torture of the defendant for the purpose of extracting confession or forcing him/her to do other acts are prohibited and confessions obtained in this way are devoid of legal and religious credence.” Article 169 of the Islamic Penal Code of 2013 also provides: “Confessions obtained under duress, force, torture, and/or physical or psychological harm shall have no value and credence, and the court shall conduct renewed interrogations of the defendant.” Accordingly, the court’s reliance on a confession obtained under duress and torture was thoroughly against the law. It was necessary for the court to conduct investigations in that regard, and then rely on a confession as the basis of its ruling.

Furthermore, pursuant to Iranian law, including the Islamic Penal Code and the Law on General and Revolutionary Courts Rules of Criminal Procedure, admissions and confessions are legally valid only when made before the trial judge. The Law on General and Revolutionary Courts Rules of Criminal Procedure, Note to Article 59 provides: “In cases where the court issues a ruling based on the defendant’s confession, or a witness’ testimony, or a testimony about a witness’ testimony, it is mandatory that such confession and/or testimony be made before the court.” Further, pursuant to Article 218, Note 2, of the Islamic Penal Code, “A confession is valid in accordance with the Shari’a only when it is made before the trial judge”. In other words, although confessions made before a person who is not a judge is considered a type of evidence, it is necessary, however, that it be made before the judge and for the judge to hear it for himself if the court cites it as the basis for its ruling. Therefore, confessions made before the investigating judge or law enforcement officials cannot be cited as evidence in the judge’s ruling.

According to available information, Revolutionary Court judges have [routinely] refrained from serving notices of the dates of the proceedings on attorneys, thereby violating the defendant’s right to legal representation and the attorney’s right to defend his/her client. According to existing laws, service of judicial papers and documents [including dates of the proceedings] on the attorney in the case is mandatory; without such service, court sessions are without legal credence and effect.

Judgment 

Pursuant to Article 286 of the Islamic Penal Code, Tehran Islamic Revolutionary Court, Branch 15, found Mr. Seyed Iman Hosseini Moqadam “Mofsed fel-Arz” (“one who spreads corruption om Earth”) and sentenced him to death. This ruling was upheld by Supreme Court Branch 41 and by Tehran Islamic Revolutionary Court, Branch 28. On April 30, 2018, Mr. Hosseini Moqadam was hanged at the city of Karaj’s Gohardasht (Rajaishahr) Prison.

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