Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Sasan Al-e Kan'an


Age: 37
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Non-Believer
Civil Status: Unknown


Date of Killing: February 19, 2003
Location of Killing: Sanandaj, Kordestan Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Unspecified counter-revolutionary offense; Sympathizing with anti-regime guerilla groups; Acting against state's security

About this Case

Things were not entirely easy in Iranian Kordestan in the early 2000’s.  Young Mr. Al-e Kan’an had friends who opposed the regime.  His mother did what she could to secure his safety.

The news of the execution of Mr. Sasan Al-e Kan'an was published by the Amnesty International Organization on February 21, 2003, by the web editions of Kanoon Zendanian and Peyke Iran on September 28, 2005 which quoted the Kurdistan Human Right Organization. In the Peyke Iran, Mr. Al-e Kan’an’s name is spelled Ali Kan’an. In its report to the 59th session of UN Human Rights Commission about the status of Human Rights in Iran, the Society to Defend Human Rights in Iran referred to the execution of over 475 people in the past year. Among them were political prisoners such as Mr. Al-e Kan'an.

Arrest and detention

The circumstances of this defendant’s detention are not known. According to the report by Kurdistan Human Right Organization, Mr. Sasan Al-e Kan'an was arrested on 2002.


The ruling was issued by the Branch One of Sanandaj Revolutionary Court and The Supreme Court confirmed it. According to the Kanune Zendanian report, Mr. Al-e Kan'an was denied the right to appeal and his lawyer was kept uninformed about the confirmation process of the ruling.


According to an Agence France Presse (AFP) report quoted by Amnesty International, the charges against Mr. Sasan Al-e Kan'an was announced as “sheltering and hiding members of the unauthorized Komela party in the basement of a house in Sanandaj and Moharebeh (enmity against God)". According to the Kanoone Zendanian web site, the Islamic "Revolutionary" Court in Sanandaj sentenced Mr. Al-e Kan’an to death on various charges, including "acting against state security" and "supporting the Komela Organisation.”

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. 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 based on trumped-up charges is unknown.

Evidence of guilt

According to the Kanune Zendanian web site, on January 16, 2003, “a well informed judicial official in Sanandaj announced that two armed members of Komela visited Sasan while they were in town. He added that they were about to be arrested but had escaped with the help of Sasan and two of others.”


According to the Kanune Zendanian web site, Sasan denied all the charges during his interrogation and hearing.


On January 5, 2003, the Branch One of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Sanandaj sentenced Sasan Al-e Kan’an to death. The sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court on February 10, 2003. Mr. Al-e Kan’an was hanged in the Sanandaj prison at 4 am on February 19. The officials did not inform his family. According to the Amnesty International report: “Several days earlier Sasan Ale Kan’an’s mother had visited the capital, Tehran, to seek a meeting with a visiting delegation of the UN’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD), at which she reportedly intended to raise the case of her son’s arrest and sentencing. She arrived at Sanandaj prison to visit her son after 10pm on February 19th and was told to go to the judiciary’s local offices. There she learned that her son had been executed earlier that morning. She was told not to make a "fuss" and to bury him quickly. Sasan Al-e Kan’an was reportedly buried at 2am on February 20th in the Behesht-e Mohammadi cemetery in Sanandaj.

Amnesty International reminded the Iranian authorities that the death penalty is in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Iran is a state party. Also, the Organization emphasized that Sasan Al-e Kena’n did not face charges that involved "intentional crimes with lethal or other extremely grave consequences", limits to the death penalty set out in the UN’s "Safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty", which are intended to limit the use of the death penalty. Finally, AI urges the authorities to urgently review sentencing procedures in connection with charges of moharebeh ba khoda ('enmity with God'), with a view to bringing them in line with international standards as set out in the of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Iran is a state party.

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