Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Amin Janatitabar


Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Unknown


Date of Killing: September 7, 2004
Location of Killing: Raja’i Shahr (Gohardasht) Prison, Karaj, Alborz Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Drug trafficking

About this Case

News of the execution of Mr. Amin Janatitabar, son of Mohammad, along with two other individuals, was announced by the website of ISNA (September 7, 2004), and, citing the Public Relations section of the Public and Islamic Revolutionary courts of Tehran, by Sharq daily, Kayhan daily and E’temad daily (September 8, 2004). Additional information on this case was obtained from Islamic Republic daily and Iran daily (March 27, 2001), Kayhan daily (September 8-11, 2001), and Iran daily (January 31, 2001 – July 2, 2002), all citing the Acting Commander of Tehran’s Police Force Central Command.

The case of Mr. Janatitabar along with that of 35 other individuals, known as the “Nicosia Cartel,” pertains to international trafficking of illegal drugs. Mr. Janatitabar acted as liaison between the cartel and its two drug lords. 

Arrest and detention

Mr. Janatitabar was arrested in Tehran in January- February 2001 after he and the other members of the cartel had been under police surveillance for a year and a half. He spent four years in prison. However, there is no information available on the details of Mr. Janatitabar’s arrest and detention. 


Mr. Janatitabar and the other 35 were tried by Branch 24 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Tehran. The first session of the trial was held on September 7, 2001 and the second on September 10, 2001. However, there is no information available on the details of the further session or sessions of Mr. Janatitabar’s trial. 


Mr. Janatitabar was charged with “participating in the importation of more the one kilogram of cocaine to Iran, and its distribution; discovery of cocaine [on his person or somewhere associated with him]; participating in storing, carrying and transferring at least 12 rugs in which illegal drugs had been hidden; and use of cocaine and sowing corruption among the youth.”

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

The “confessions of the defendants and the discovery of 460 grams of cocaine as well as 828 grams of heroin” were entered as evidence of guilt against Mr. Janatitabar.

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. Janatitabar objected to the ruling of the court, as a result of which his case was referred to the Supreme Court. However, there is no further information available on the details of his defense. 


Branch 24 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Tehran initially sentenced Mr. Amin Janatitabar to two terms of imprisonment for life as well as government confiscation of all his belongings. The Supreme Court did not validate the verdict and sent it back to the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Tehran for revision, upon which Mr. Janatitabar was sentenced to two times of execution. This time the Supreme Court validated the verdict. Mr. Janatitabar was hanged along with two others in Rajaee-Shahr Prison on Tuesday, September 7, 2004. The other members of the drug cartel received 10- or 15-year prison sentences and fines, as well as rulings for confiscation of belongings.

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