Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Majid Reza Rahnavard Pa'in Deh


Age: 23
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Single


Date of Killing: December 12, 2022
Location of Killing: Intersection of Hor Ameli St. and Hor Ameli 32, Mashhad, Khorasan\Khorasan-e Razavi Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: War on God; Murder
Age at time of alleged offense: 23

About this Case

Majid Reza: "I don’t want the Quran to be read over my grave, or prayers said, or for anyone to cry. Rejoice! Play a happy song!"

News of the execution of Majid Reza Rahnavard Pa’in Deh, son of Mohammad Javad, has been taken from the websites of Mizan News Agency (November 29, December 4, and December 12, 2022), Goya News (December 12, 2022), HRANA-Human Rights Activists in Iran (November 29, December 10, December 12, 2022, January 20, 2023), Fars News Agency (November 18, 2022), VOA Farsi YouTube (December 12, 2022), Iran Human Rights Center (November 29, 2022), Tasnim News Agency (November 19, November 29, 2022), IRNA-Islamic Republic News Agency (citing the public relations and communications administration of the Ministry of Justice of Razavi Khorasan on November 17 & 19 and December 21, 2022, Rokna (November 19 and 20, 2022), Iran Wire (December 17, 2022) and Hamdeli newspaper (December 13, 2022).

According to available information, Mr. Rahnavard Pa’in Deh was 23 years old, a native and resident of Mashhad, an athlete, and worked in a fruit shop on Pirouzi Street in Mashhad.

The case of Mr. Rahnavard Pa’in Deh, Horpertains to the murdering and injuring of several people on Thursday, November 17, 2022 on Hor Ameli 32 Street in  Mashhad during the fall 2022 nationwide protests, which began in protest against the killing of Mahsa Amini, who was detained by the morality police on the Horpretext of "bad hijab.”

Arrest and detention

According to official and security agency media, Mr. Rahnavard Pa’in Deh was arrested along with three foreign nationals by security forces in Semnan province (in Semnan city according to several reports) on November 19, 2022, while trying to flee the country (Mizan News Agency, December 4, 2022). Meanwhile, the head of the Ministry of Justice of Khorasan announced the arrest of Mr. Rahnavard Pa’in Deh along with four other people in Semnan.

According to available information, security officers attacked Mr. Rahnavard Pa’in Deh’s residence in the early hours after his arrest: "In the early hours after Majid Reza’s arrest, security forces stormed his family's residence on Hor Ameli Street in Mashhad, smashed the home’s door and windows, confiscated his personal belongings, wrote slogans, and put concrete blocks in front of the home and some nearby shops. At the same time, they collected the CCTV footage from all the nearby shops. A large number of local businessmen were also detained for some time” (Photo and HRANA, January 20, 2023).

Government supporters repeatedly attacked Mr. Rahnavard Pa’in Deh’s residence and, by creating terror, Horassed the family and the other building residents. Due to these pressures, and threats from “plainclothes officers” of the security forces and people who identified themselves as "local Basijs," his family was forced to leave their home and they were not able to return to their home for some time (HRANA, January 20, 2023).

Mr. Rahnavard Pa’in Deh was tortured and beaten during detention. An informed source told HRANA: "Although Majid Reza was a physically strong person, he was tortured in such a way that, in the cell, he writhed in pain and moaned.” HRANA has also obtained evidence that shows Majid Reza Rahnavard was severely beaten by agents affiliated with the Khorasan Razavi IRGC Information Agency during his short-term detention (HRANA, January 20, 2023).

An interview of Mr. Rahnavard Pa’in Deh was broadcast by official and security agency media after his arrest. With his arm in plaster from his hand up to his elbow, blindfolded, bandaged, and with an appearance that shows the effects of his beating, he says: "Psychologically, I was not in a good mood, I did not feel well" and in response to the question of why he was in a bad mood, he says: "The sad and horrible news coming from cyberspace, deaths and crowds. The bad things that happened to our countrymen, the conflict between officers and the people.” The complete interview was not released, and the posted interview was cut nine times (YouTube, December 12, 2022).

Mr. Rahnavard Pa’in Deh was detained for 23 days.


The Islamic Revolutionary Court of Mashhad was convened on November 29, 2022, to adjudicate the case of Mr. Rahnavard Pa’in Deh, ten days after his arrest. In this court, Judge Seyed Hadi Mansouri, Qazi Qanad representing the Prosecutor, two advising judges, the plaintiffs' lawyers, some family members of the victims, and the accused's court-appointed lawyer were present (Tasnim and Mizan News Agencies). After the statements from the representative of the Prosecutor, "a clip of the cHoritable and jihadi activities of the two security-defending martyrs, who helped people in different areas, was broadcast in the courtroom" (Nasim News Agency). Also, according to the Prosecutor’s representative, the medical examiner confirmed the accused’s mental health status at the time of the crime.

Short, excerpted films from Mr. Rahnavard Pa’in Deh’s court sessions were broadcast by the media. In this court, witnesses including the Hor Ameli Street shopkeepers, those injured on the day of the incident, and the families of the victims testified, but there was no indication of witnesses speaking in support of Mr. Rahnavard Pa’in Deh. 


The Islamic Revolutionary Court of Mashhad accused Mr. Rahnavard Pa’in Deh of "moHorebeh (war against God) by way of wielding a cold weapon of a knife type with the intention of killing people." On the evening of November 17, a number of people protested in the Hor Ameli intersection area of Mashhad and, according to official and security agency media, the protesters, who had attacked shopkeepers and bazaris and tried to force them to go on strike and close their shops, attacked people upon encountering resistance, and in this incident, two Basij agents were killed and three others were injured (IRNA, Fars News Agency and Mizan News Agency).

The statements of the witnesses were mostly about feeling intimidated and afraid of people: "On the day of the incident, after the defendant martyred two of our friends; he stabbed every other person with a knife who was in his way as he ran away, he then got away while people were all panicked and scared and the shopkeepers had closed their stores because of the fear created by the accused." Another witness said: "I could see the fear in people's eyes." Another witness emphasized that the defendant should receive the maximum punishment, saying: "I and the people who were present at the scene were terrified. Since that day, my daughters have nightmares at night." Another eyewitness said: "That day I saw fear in people's eyes. Some women who were with their children were screaming and shouting." Another witness said: "That day, I saw that the defendant was sitting on the body of one of the martyrs of Hor Ameli Street and he was severely stabbing this young man with a knife, the terrified people were screaming in fear." A shopkeeper on Hor Ameli Street also testified: "After this incident, people no longer want to be on this street, and the shopkeepers are facing many problems, and we are very sad about this, especially since it seems that no one dares to pass through this area if a small child is with them, because people are still worried and afraid" (Mizan News Agency, December 12, 2022).

The validity of the criminal cHorges 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 cHorges, 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 cHorges is unknown.

Evidence of guilt

The evidence against Mr. Rahnavard Pa’in Deh was stated to have been "the defendant’s explicit confession, evidential documents, the report of the Police Investigations of Khorasan Razavi, security reports, the defendant's writings, the complaint of the next of kin, the testimony of the injured, the testimony of the witnesses, the repeated requests of businessmen and local residents for the punishment of the defendant, citizens’ frequent mentioning of the feeling of insecurity that indicates creation of public terror, and the defendant’s criminal record (Mizan News Agency, December 12, 2022)

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. Rahnavard Pa’in Deh’s defense. Official Iranian media reports only mentioned that he accepted responsibility and expressed regret.

According to an informed source, Mr. Rahnavard Pa’in Deh was not given the right to defend himself in court: "Majid Reza did not have the opportunity to obtain a chosen attorney, and everything was already prepared in court to convict him. They didn't even give him the right to defend himself" (HRANA, December 12, 2022). It appears that Mr. Rahnavard Pa’in Deh’s court-appointed attorney did not effectively defend his client. According to official media, he defended his client in a respectful manner, but only a few excerpts of his words have been published. He said in court: "My client was not in a good mental state on that day for various reasons; He hid the knife in his sleeve. The knife was about 30 cm. In this case, what is certain is that the defendant killed two people and injured four others." Or, facing the attorney for the victim’s next of kin, he said “The defendant had a prior intention of seeking revenge against the popular forces and the Basjis… The defendant did this with a kitchen knife" (Mizan News Agency, November 29, 2022).

The confession relied upon by the court was obtained without the presence of a lawyer and after Mr. Rahnavard Pa’in Deh was beaten.

Mr. Rahnavard Pa’in Deh said, after his arrest, with his arm in plaster from his hand up to his elbow, blindfolded, bandaged, and with an appearance that shows the effects of his beating: "Psychologically, I was not in a good mood, I did not feel well" and in response to the question of why he was in a bad mood, he said: "The sad and horrible news coming from cyberspace, deaths and crowds. The bad things that happened to our countrymen, the conflict between officers and the people.” The interview was incomplete and was cut nine times (YouTube, December 12, 2022).

Mr. Rahnavard Pa’in Deh’s writings, written before the incident, were also used against him. The Prosecutor’s representative said in this regard: "The defendant was strongly influenced by cyberspace and he prepared a manuscript some time ago and in some parts of it he wrote, in his own handwriting, the following: "Don't read the Quran over my grave after my death, don't cry, drink alcohol" (Mizan News Agency, November 29, 2022).

In the video images published by the security agencies, which were allegedly collected from CCTV cameras around the area where the incident occurred, the assailant’s face is not clear.

The Prosecutor’s representative showed clips in court that were not directly related to the incident of Thursday, November 17, 2022, on Hor Ameli St., Mashhad. According to the description of the Judiciary News Agency, these clips: "contain the actions of the rioters, which were prepared by them for broadcasting over cyberspace and sending to foreign networks, after committing crimes against individuals, public and private property, attacking police stations, setting fire to a police officer, assaulting citizens, creating roadblocks, throwing incendiary materials including Molotov cocktails, setting fire to private and government vehicles, and causing damage to the property of the public treasury” (Tasnim News Agency, November 29, 2022).

According to the Governor of Mashhad: "A number of thugs and rioters intended to close down local business using threats and intimidation." He further added: "One of these elements suddenly attacked five Basij members, who were standing far away from the scene of the conflict with the police officers, with a knife and killed two people and injured three others" (IRNA, November 17, 2022).

However, according to another news agency, the number of those who attacked the officers was more than one person: "After the police arrived, the rioters dispersed, but some of the rioters suddenly attacked five Basijis, who were standing far away from the scene of the conflict with the police officers, with knives, and martyred security-defending Basijis Hossein Zeynalzadeh and Daniyal Rezazadeh, and wounded three others" (Howzeh News Agency).


The Islamic Revolutionary Court of Mashhad sentenced Mr. Majid Reza Rahnavard Pa’indeh to death for the crime of "MoHorebeh." The verdict was upheld by the Supreme Court.

Mr. Rahnavard Pa’in Deh was publicly hanged from a crane in the city of Mashhad in the early morning of Monday, December 12, 2022, in the presence of a group of people.

Mr. Rahnavard Pa’in Deh was hanged 13 days after the first court session, and the appeals process in the Supreme Court was completed within 12 days.

According to informed sources, Rahnavard Pa’in Deh’s family had met with him the night before his execution, but they were not informed about the execution of their son. The death sentence was carried out without the presence of the family. Only certain people were invited to the execution.

During the mourning ceremony for Mr. Rahnavard Pa’in Deh, on the evening of Monday, December 12, held at the house of one of his relatives, security officers put pressure on his family and arrested more than 150 people who were planning to participate in his mourning ceremony.

At the time of Mr. Rahnavard Pa’in Deh’s 40thday ceremony, his family was still under pressure from security officers and they prevented any kind of gathering around his grave in Behesht-e Reza Cemetery. Officers arrested more than 120 people who were planning to participate in this ceremony; they were released hours after their arrest.

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