Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Hossein S.


Age: 50
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Married


Date of Killing: May 12, 2018
Location of Killing: Gorgan Central Prison, Gorgan, Golestan Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Murder; Corruption on earth; Armed robbery

About this Case

News of the execution of Mr. Hossein S. and another individual named Mr. Hossein D. was published on the Golestan Province Judiciary website and on Mizan and Fars News Agencies’ websites (May 12, 2018), quoting the Head of Golestan Province Judiciary. Additional information about this case was obtained from Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) News Agency’s website (April 7, 2018), Saten website (September 8, 2017), Islamic Republic News Agency – IRNA (September 7, 2017), Jam-e Jam Online (August 12, 13, 15 and 16, 2015), Young Journalists Club’s website (August 13, 2015), Fars News Agency’s website (August 12, 2015), and Iran newspaper (August 13, 2015).

Mr. Hossein S. Was married and had children. He lived in Gonbad-e Kavus and used to work as a daily laborer.

Mr. Hossein S. was once arrested I near Bojnord in 1999, charged with carrying drugs, and sentenced to life in prison.

The case of Mr. Hossein S. and 16 other individuals, known as “the Serial Murders” is related to murders and armed robberies committed in Golestan and Mazandaran Provinces between 2000 and 2015.

Arrest and detention

Mr. Hossein D. and his sons had talked about their cooperation with Hossein S. while being interrogated that led the police to identify him.


Gorgan Islamic Revolutionary Court tried Mr. Hossein S. and the other defendants in the case in 2016. (Fars News Agency – May 12, 2018). Mr. Hossein S.’s case and that of the other defendants was referred to the Province Criminal Court for a hearing on the private law aspect of the charges of murder and robbery. (IRNA, September 7, 2017). No information is available regarding the trial session(s).


The Head of Golestan Province Judiciary stated the charges against Mr. Hossein (Akbar) D. and the other defendants in the case as “13 counts of murder and 80 counts of armed robbery”. According to available information, the defendants were armed when they were stealing automobiles or farming equipment, and shot and killed individuals while committing these felonies.

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

Evidence brought against Mr. Hossein S. were “confessions of the other defendants, testimonies of the victims, holding a criminal record, possession of arms, and complaints of the victims’ families”.

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.


No information is available on Mr. Hossein S.’s defense.

A Summary of the Legal Defects in the Adjudication of Mr. Hossein S.

The defendant in this case was sentenced to death on the charge of Moharebeh (“waging war against God”) and Efsad fel-Arz (“spreading corruption on Earth”) through the commission of armed robbery and murder. The sentence was issued by the revolutionary court; the defendant’s case regarding murder and armed robbery, however, was assigned to the criminal court.

In accordance with Iranian law, Moharebeh occurs when a person takes up arms with the intention of disrupting public safety and security and creating fear and apprehension in the populace, and in doing so, does deprive a large number of individuals of their safety and security. Not any armed criminal act is considered to be Moharebeh; Articles 651 and 652 of the Islamic Penal Code provide for incarceration as the punishment for armed robbery. The law has therefore provided for the act of armed robbery as a separate crime and does not consider it to be Moharebeh. Armed robbery could constitute Moharebeh if it is done continuously and in the form of a group, and in such a way as to disrupt public safety and security for a majority of the populace. In this case, however, the robberies did not rise to a level where they would constitute Moharebeh. It is natural to assert that society’s safety and security is jeopardized with the commission of any crime; what the crime of Moharebeh has in mind, however, is that public safety and security be disrupted in an extensive manner.

The other issue is the charge of murder. Although the punishment for intentional murder is Qesas (“retribution”), the murder victim’s next of kin have the right, however, to forgive [the murderer] and forego Qesas; the crime of murder cannot be put forth in the framework of Moharebeh, which is a crime subject to Hadd punishment and not subject to forgiveness. For this reason, it appears that trying the defendant’s case in the revolutionary court and on the charge of Moharebeh was contrary to existing laws.


[The city of] Gorgan Islamic Revolutionary Court found Mr. Hossein S. “Mofsed fel-Arz and Mohareb”, and sentenced him to death. The decision was upheld by the Supreme Court.

Mr. Hossein S. and another individual were hanged in the Gorgan Prison yard on May 12, 2018. His son, defendant number three in the case, was sentenced to exile.

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