Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Reza Hosseini


Age: 34
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Married


Date of Killing: May 3, 2016
Location of Killing: Qezel Hesar Prison, Karaj, Alborz Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Drug possession
Age at time of alleged offense: 30

About this Case

News of the execution of Mr. Reza Hosseini known as Haji, son of Karam, along with three others, was published on the website of HRANA (Human Rights Activists News Agency) on May 3, 2016. Additional information, including the Public Prosecutor’s Office documents, the court ruling, and his will, were taken from HRANA on May 9, 2016 and a YouTube video reflecting statements by Mr. Hosseini’s wife..

Mr. Hosseini, 34, was from Kuhdasht in Lorestan. He was married, a Tehran resident, and a professional. He was condemned for narcotics charges.   

Arrest and detention

Around 11 a.m. on a day in the summer of 2013 (sometime before September 6 when he was already in custody), agents who intended to arrest their neighbor, got into a verbal argument with Mr. Hossein in the parking lot of their building. They beat him up and arrested him. Agents broke into the neighbor’s apartment, took some boxes, and claimed that they discovered some plastic bags containing narcotics from Mr. Hosseini. According to his wife, “he was interrogated and tortured for 70 days during that period. We could not visit him. Then he was transferred to Qezelhesar Prison where we were not allowed to visit him for 11 months.” Authorities mistreated the family during visits whenever they found out that Mr. Hosseini’s birth place was Kuhdasht in Lorestan.


Branch 30 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Tehran tried Mr. Hosseini on February 16, 2014. His attorney objected to the death penalty ruling; however, his objection was denied by the General Public Prosecutors Office (an official document issued on November 29, 2014). According to Mr. Hosseini’s wife, the court session took only a few minutes during which the judge asked about his identity and in response to Mr. Hosseini’s claim of innocence, stated: “If you are innocent, you will go to heaven after the execution!”


According to the court official documents, the charges brought against Mr. Hosseini were announced as “purchasing morphine, producing heroin, with intention of selling them, and possession of 140 kilograms and 305 grams of heroin and morphine.”  

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). Thousands of alleged drug traffickers have been sentenced to death following judicial processes that fail to meet international standards. Scores of them were executed based on a 1989 law imposing mandatory death sentences on drug traffickers found in possession of specified amounts of proscribed narcotics (5 kg of hashish or opium, and more than 30 grams of heroin, codeine or methadone). The exact number of people convicted based on trumped-up charges is unknown.

Evidence of guilt

According to the court documents, Mr. Hosseini carried two plastic bags containing 2 kilograms and 960 grams of bagged heroin on the day of his arrest. In addition, a digital weighing scale and a total of 16.85 million Tumans cash were recovered from his apartment and after agents followed up, it became clear that Reza Hosseini had the keys to the next apartment. while searching that apartment, a total of 77.89 kilograms of bagged heroin were discovered in the refrigerator and 64.14 kilograms of bagged heroin, skillfully placed in 62 bags in 4 boxes, were discovered and confiscated from the bedroom.


Mr. Hosseini always expressed his innocence and claimed that the narcotics did not belong to him. According to his wife, “the narcotics mentioned in the case were recovered from the neighbor’s apartment and we did not know them. The reason for arresting Reza was his physical clash with agents in the parking lot of our building.” The case inspector also told the family several times that Mr. Hosseini would be exonerated because of his innocence.

In his will, Mr. Hosseini wrote: “My charge was not proven, even to myself, during my detention period. …In which of God’s books is stated that issuing a death sentence for a young man including interrogation and court session should take only 2 minutes and then the judge issues a death sentence against a young man in cold blood?”


The court condemned Mr. Reza Hosseini to death and confiscation of his belongings. The General Public Prosecutors Office confirmed the ruling on November 29, 2014. He was hanged, along with three other prisoners with drug related charges, at Unit One of the Qezelhesar Prison in Karaj on May 3, 2016. He had been transferred from the Tehran Prison (Feshafuyeh) to Qezelhesar Prison to be executed. He was not allowed to visit his wife and family, who had travelled a long way, for a last time.

According to his wife, the prison authorities told Mr. Hosseini that because he had visitors, they transferred him to Qezelhesar Prison. However, he realized that he was transferred to be executed. Then with a guard’s cellphone, he was able to call his wife and inform her. But, when his wife and family travelled 840 kilometers hoping to visit him, agents did not allow it and insulted them. In addition to the cash amount found in Mr. Hosseini’s home, two cars including the one belonging to her brother, according to his wife, were confiscated. 

In his will, Mr. Hosseini wrote: “When I was transferred from the large Tehran Prison to Qezelhesar Prison in Karaj, it was the end of the work day and my family and relatives had no chance to go to any office or official organization. I was totally uninformed.” 

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