Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Morteza Tavakolian


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


Date of Killing: July 21, 1980
Location of Killing: Esfahan Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Fatal
Charges: Drug trafficking

About this Case

The execution of Mr. Morteza Tavakolian (son of Hassan, born in Ahvaz and a resident of Esfahan) and three other individuals was reported in the Jomhuri Eslami newspaper (July 22 and 24, 1980).

Arrest and detention

The circumstances of this defendant’s arrest and detention are not known.


No information is available on the defendant’s trial.


According to the July 22 report, Mr. Tavakolian was charged with “carrying and keeping 49 grams and 70 centigrams of heroin and intending to sell 28 grams and 50 centigrams of that amount.”

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’s authorities have brought trumped-up charges against their political opponents and executed them for drug trafficking, sexual, and other criminal offences. Thousands of alleged drug traffickers have been sentenced to death following judicial processes that fail to meet international standards. The exact number of people convicted based on trumped-up charges is unknown.

Evidence of guilt

The newspaper report mentioned that Mr. Tavakolian was arrested on his way to where he intended to sell heroin to another person. He, then, allegedly led the police officers to his house and permitted them to search the place, where they discovered 1 gram and 20 centigrams of heroin hidden in a crevice inside a wall crack in his bedroom. The report also referred to complaints and the witnesses’ testimonies.


Based on the news story, Mr. Tavakolian was given a chance to defend himself at the court. However, no specific information about the circumstances of the defense is available.


The Special Court for Combating Drugs and Narcotics declared Mr. Morteza Tavakolian a “corruptor on earth” and an “enemy of God and his Prophet” and sentenced him to death. He was executed in Esfahan at dawn of July 21, 1980. He was 28 years old.

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