Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Alireza Peighan


Age: 41
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Islam
Civil Status: Unknown


Date of Killing: Unknown
Location of Killing: Qom Prison, Qom, Qom Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Apostasy
Age at time of alleged offense: 39

About this Case

Mr. Peighan claimed to be the Present Imam, ‘because the Twelfth Imam has died, and is buried in the Jamkaran Well’.

The execution of Alireza Peighan was reported by Iran Newspaper (December 21, 2008), Aftab e Yazd Newspaper (December 23, 2008), and Ebtekar Newspaper (December 23, 2008).  Additional information has been gathered from Deilam Website for News and Analysis (November 10, 2008), and Al Arabiye Website, quoting Shahab News Internal Website (November 11, 2008).

Mr. Peighan’s case has to do with his religious activities.  According to available information, Mr. Peighan had claimed to be the “Qa’em e Al e Mohammad” (the Twelfth Imam).  He had written a book called "Al-Qa'im", based on which a number of authorities declared her "a corrupter of the earth" by issuing a verdict of "apostasy".According to available information, the arrest of Mr. Peighan came about as a result of a public policy that sought to curtail the activity of some individuals who, at that time, in the towns of Qom and Mashhad, were making claims of being the Twelfth Imam or having contact with the Twelfth Imam, or who were engaged in activities based on metaphysical schools of thought.  According to the available reports, the claimants of Imamate were promoting their claims to the people citing the principle of Mahdism in the Shiite religion, and this issue had caused the religious and official authorities of Iran to worry. (Al Arabiye Website, quoting Shahab News, November 11, 2008).  According to available reports, Mr. Peighan had a prior conviction for “fraud and illicit relationship”.

Arrest and detention

Mr. Peighan was arrested on October 26, 2006, by the security forces of Qom, pursuant to the complaint of the prosecutor of Qom, acting as the Prosecutor General.  He spent more than two years incarcerated in the Central Prison of Qom.  According to available information, after his arrest Mr. Peighan wrote a recantation and confessed to his claims being false (Iran Newspaper, December 21, 2008).


Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court of Qom heard the charges against Mr. Peighan.  No information is available on the details of his trial.


The charge brought against Mr. Alireza Peighan was “spreading corruption on earth” by “promoting superstition” and “claiming to be the Twelfth Imam”.  He was accused of “creating deviation in religion and changing the way the teachings of God are put into practice” (Al Arabiye, quoting Shahab News November 11, 2008).

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

“Gathering 21 men and 29 women with the purpose of promoting superstition” was entered as evidence in this case.  Also, printing a 600-page book, titled “Al Qa’im”, which was said to have been prepared “for convincing simple people of imagined beliefs” was used as evidence against him.  He announced that since the previous Twelfth Imam had died and had been laid to rest in Jamkaran, he was changing the Qiblih (Point of Adoration, i.e. Mecca) and would now say his obligatory prayers facing Jamkaran (Al Arabiye, quoting Shahab News, November 11, 2008). 


No information is available on Mr. Peighan’s defense.


Mr. Alireza Peighan was sentenced to death by hanging.  He asked for clemency, but according to available information, the court officials stated that after recanting, he had renewed his claims in prison.  Mr. Peighan was executed on the morning of Thursday December 18, 2008, at the Qom Central Prison (Iran Newspaper, December 21, 2008).

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