Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Gholam Hossein (Hassan) Golzar Kabir


Age: 28
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Married


Date of Killing: February 15, 1990
Location of Killing: Bu Ali Square, Hamedan, Hamedan Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Beheading
Charges: Murder; Armed robbery
Age at time of alleged offense: 28

About this Case

News and information regarding the execution of Mr. Gholamhossein (also known as Hassan) Golzar Kabir, son of Nadali, and two other individuals was obtained from the Abdorrahman Boroumand Center’s interviews conducted with an eyewitness and a person with knowledge of the case (March 20, 2015, and January 29, 2021). News of this execution was also published in Jomhuri-e Eslami (February 13 to 17, 1990) and Kayhan (February 15, 1990) newspapers. News of Mr. Golzar Kabir’s execution was also published in the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran’s report (November 6, 1990). A book entitled “Ghahremani Ke Nashenakhteh Mand” (“The Hero Who Remained Unknown”), written by Hamid Moghimi, was also published about this case, describing and telling the story of these cases (March-April 1999). Payam-e Ayandeh website has also published the news of this execution (February 7, 2013).

Mr. Golzar Kabir was married, with children, and was born and resided in the city of Hamedan. He was a former employee of the Hamedan Municipality (having been fired) and ran a sheep’s head and trotters store with his brother in that city.

Mr. Golzar Kabir’s case, and that of two other individuals, is related to murder and armed robbery at Keshavarzi Bank located at Hamedan’s Aramgah Square in the morning of February 11, 1990.

Arrest and detention

Mr. Golzar Kabir was arrested by Bushehr Province Criminal Investigations Bureau detectives on February 13, 1990, at her sister’s home in [the town of] Borazjan, and was transferred by airplane first to Tehran and then to Hamedan. He spent three days in detention.

According to available information, following a robbery at Hamedan’s Keshavarzi Bank, Mr. Reza Khanian went to one of his relatives’ home and asked to entrust him with a certain sum of money. Since news of the robbery had spread throughout the city, Mr. Khanian’s relative became suspicious and alerted the police. Initially, Mr. Khanian, and subsequently Mr. Golzar Kabir’s brother, were arrested. They confessed [to the commission of crimes] and pointed to Mr. Golzar Kabir as the third individual involved [in the robbery]. The police printed Mr. Golzar Kabir’s photograph and personal characteristics and dispatched them to Criminal Investigations Bureaus in provinces where they suspected he might be [hiding].

According to the Chief of the Islamic Republic Police Force, who was in Hamedan representing the Minister of the Interior, “Nine other individuals have been arrested in connection with the theft of 150 million Rials from this bank, and their cases are being investigated”. (Jomhuri-e Eslami newspaper, February 17, 1990). The Bank Keshavarzi assistant manager who was in [the city of] Malayer at the time of the incident was among those who were arrested.

Hamedan Information Administration had hidden the detainees’ family and close relatives in a safe place for fear of violence against them stemming from the people’s anger, and would not let them show themselves in the city. (A source with knowledge of the case).


The day after these individuals’ arrest, that is, on February 14, 1990, Hamedan Criminal Court One, conducted a public trial of Mr. Golzar Kabir and two other defendants at the Hamedan Judiciary, with a single judge (Shari’a Judge) on the bench and with his secretary present. The Supreme Leader’s representative in Hamedan, Hamedan’s Friday Prayer Imam, Hamedan Province Governor, and a number of other officials were also present at trial. Mr. Golzar Kabir and the other two defendants had a court-appointed attorney.

A judicial delegation was dispatched to Hamedan by the then-Head of the Judiciary Branch in order to supervise and oversee the proceedings, even though the trial had convened less than 48 hours after the events. (Kayhan newspaper, February 15, 1990).


The charges brought against Mr. Golzar Kabir were stated to have been “robbery, carrying out a Haram (“forbidden by Islam”) act ([in this instance,] the act of entering someone’s home while that person is in her sleeping quarters and a Namahram (“stranger”, not among the intimate few allowed by Islam) sees her), stabbing the murder victim in the body with a knife, and committing intentional murder”. (Jomhuri-e Eslami newspaper, February 17, 1990).

According to available information, Mr. Golzar Kabir and two other individuals had broken into the Bank Keshavarzi at 1:30 in the morning of February 11, 1990, in order to rob the bank. They stole 150 million Rials from the bank’s safe and fled after killing the head of the bank, his spouse and two children (all of whom lived there), and the bank guard.

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 presented against Mr. Golzar Kabir was stated to have been “the defendants’ confessions, an eyewitness, and discovery of certain sums of money from the Bank at the Defendant’s home”.

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. Golzar Kabir and the other defendants stated in court that they had suffocated the murder victims with a rope.

However, the Prosecutor said at the start of the proceedings “I heard that elementary school children were saying that Iman had been beheaded. When I arrived [on the scene], little Iman, who was a beautiful 4-year-old boy and had very pretty eyes that [looked as though they] were laughing, Iman was laughing with his eyes, his eyes wide open. They had cut his throat from one end to the other; his arm was extended toward his mother in the last seconds [of his life]. His mother’s throat had also been cut in another corner [of the room].” (The book “Bita” by Hamid Moghimi).

On the other hand, it is stated in that same book that the defendants had entered the Bank and the Bank manager’s home with a plastic gun and rope.

According to an eyewitness to the events, “… there is no question that a crime had been committed; there is no question that the criminals had to be punished; however, they should have allowed for the [process of] punishment to take its [normal,] legal course. During the period between the occurrence of the crime and the time punishment was meted out, well, there was naturally no time to convene [an adequate] trial and to observe due process of the law at all; they were arrested extremely quickly, were possibly severely tortured, and had confessed”. (Interview with the eyewitness).

Mr. Golzar Kabir was represented by counsel, and his attorney had initially stated that he was not happy representing the defendants and had recited a poem to that effect. He then apologized to the victims’ families and offered his condolences. In defense of his clients, he stated: “These three individuals committed a pre-meditated outrage. The only defense I can present is to pray to Almighty God, to beg of Him, [to forgive them for what they have done]. They will be punished and will pay for their actions; the least they can do is ask the Almighty for forgiveness, to repent, and perhaps God will refrain from punishing them in the next world. There is certainly no question that Hossein or Hassan or Reza (names of three of the Twelve Imams and descendants of the Prophet Mohammad in the Shi’a religion), names they carry that are in complete opposition to their true nature, have committed the most dreadful act. Therefore, I cannot defend them, given the admissions they have made, the confessions they have made in their own words to the crimes they have committed before the honorable Shari’a Judge and the other honorable personalities present in the courtroom. There is no defense good enough for me to present; all I can do is ask God Almighty to forgive them. There is nothing more I can say.” (The book “Bita” by Hamid Moghimi).

Mr. Golzar Kabir and two other defendants objected to the sentence issued later by the Court.

A Summary of the Legal Defects in the Adjudication of Mr. Gholamhossein Golzar Kabir’s case

According to available information, the events occurred on February 11, 1990, and the defendants were executed on February 15 of that same year, that is, four days later. Considering that there were three defendants in the case, that five individuals were murdered, and that robbery was another charge against the defendants, the fact that legal proceedings concluded in such a short time, was in itself contrary to judicial custom. According to available reports, the defendants confessed to the crime. More investigations needed to be conducted, however, regarding the details of the crime, including each defendant’s role in committing murder. Furthermore, given the fact that the sentence of amputation of the hand was carried out prior to execution, it seems [logical to conclude] that the defendants were also convicted of robbery subject to Hadd punishment, whereas it is not clear whether the necessary investigations were conducted or not in finding that these individuals satisfied the requirements of Hadd punishment: One of the conditions of the crime of robbery subject to Hadd punishment is that the stolen property must not be public property, whereas Keshavarzi Bank was a governmental bank and its property is considered public property. In any event, regardless of the defendants’ confessions and other evidence in the case, because of the speed with which the case was adjudicated, the potential that sufficient and proper attention was given to the principles of due process and fair trial is greatly reduced.


Hamedan Criminal Court One, Branch 12, sentenced Mr. Gholamhossein Golzar Kabir to execution by beheading with a sword in addition to three stabs with a knife to the upper body for the crime of murder, to 74 lashes for participation in robbery, and to 74 lashes for participation in a Haram act.

These sentences were upheld by the Supreme Court and the Judicial High Council.

On Thursday, February 15, 1990, Mr. Golzar Kabir and two of his co-defendants were executed in Hamedan’s Aramgah Square in the presence of thousands of townspeople, Hamedan’s Friday Prayer Imam, and many of the city’s officials. After receiving 148 lashes and three stab wounds to the upper body with a knife, he was beheaded by three blows of the sword.

Of the two other defendants in the case, Mr. Mohammad Hossein Golzar Kabir was also beheaded by a sword after receiving lashes and stab wounds to the upper body with a knife, and Mr. Reza Khanian was hanged from a crane after his hand was amputated, and upon receiving lashes and stab wounds to the upper body with a knife.

Mr. Mehdi Khanian, another relative of the defendants was hanged in 1991-92 in connection with this case and with sex crimes.

The person who witnessed the events on the day of the execution stated: “The authorities had not specifically announced the date and place where these people would be punished. The entire city was aware, however, that the criminals would be punished on Thursday, February 15, at Aramgah-e Bu Ali, across from the Bank where the crimes had been committed. A very large crowd had therefore gathered from the early hours of the morning. It was easily tens of thousands of people, and they had gathered to witness the execution. Many people did not know the details of how the punishment was to be carried out, or essentially were not aware of the sentences. Many of the people who had gathered there were perhaps not aware of what they were about to witness. The only thing that had been said was that they were supposed to be executed there and that the Nafissi family’s and the Bank guard’s funerals were to follow.”

A source with knowledge of the case confirmed the above account and further stated: “The entire district had been under police watch since 36 hours earlier. Around two thirds of the city was closed off. An official day off had been declared in Hamedan. There were no shops open and traffic was closed off.”

The witness to the events continued: “After announcing their sentence, they placed the criminals on the Aramhgah-e Bu Ali [high] platform; everyone could therefore see the event. First, the amputation of one of the criminals’ hand took place. These individuals were perfectly healthy (and aware); they screamed when they were being flogged or stabbed; they were perfectly conscious, that is, they had not been numbed or anesthetized at all.”

Regarding the people who were carrying out the sentences, this witness stated: “The people who were implementing the sentences were actually Comite (post- Revolution armed militia who took on the role of law enforcement and were later combined with the Police Force) members and police officers, but they were not in their corresponding uniforms. They were wearing masks, like the ones you can see in movies, where you can only see the person’s eyes. They were executioners; you could not see their faces. They were carrying out the sentences, and naturally, there were no doctors around. The person whose hand they cut off had to be hanged afterward. But there were no gallows, there was a crane. They pulled him up and hanged him from the crane. They stabbed the other two; then they brought them over and put their heads on a tree trunk; then they proceeded to cut their heads off with a sword. One of them was beheaded with a single blow, the other with three blows. Now, I don’t know whether his sentence required that his head be cut off with three blows, or whether the person who was carrying out the sentence was not able to behead him with a single blow. The person who carried out the sentence, whether we call him the executioner, or headsman, or the sentence implementation officer, was holding the cut off heads from the hair, and walked around the square showing them to the crowd.”

The witness continued: “… The atmosphere was suffocating and very uneasy. I, myself, had actually not gone there with what I saw in mind … [And then,] something worse actually happened: The sentence implementation officer dropped one of the heads, for whatever reason, and the head was taken by the crowd. I witnessed the head falling to the ground. There was a rumor going around town later that the head the people were holding was kicked around and taken inside the store and from there, it was thrown into their yard. I’m telling you this but I did not personally witness it; it was something that was being said back then and no one confirmed or denied it either. In any event, I did witness some people kicking that head around.” The witness further stated: “… What was witnessed at the time in Hamedan was truly like a nightmare. No one could possibly have even imagined it before, and even if they had an idea of what these types of punishments consisted of, it was what they had read in history books or seen in movies, not actual reality right before their eyes in the twentieth century!”

The country’s Chief of Police, who had come to Hamedan and was present at the implementation of the sentences, made certain comments regarding the manner the sentences were being carried out “in order to teach a lesson to others” that are noteworthy. He stated: “Let those who have gone on the path of committing wrongs, betrayal, and crime, learn a lesson from these events … We are determined to fight all types of ransom and hooliganism and criminal behavior, with God’s help, and with the full cooperation of all forces. The best proof that we can provide [of our actions] in this regard, is our relentless fight with currency forgers, in the economic realm, where we have attained much success in recent weeks, and in the realm of [other] crimes, we have also amassed great experience which we have selflessly put at the service of the Revolution and will continue to do so.”

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