Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Rostam Nurzehi


Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Unknown


Date of Killing: March, 1989
Location of Killing: Torbat-e Heydarieh, Khorasan\Khorasan-e Razavi Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Drug trafficking; Sedition and/ or threat to public security; Participating in clashes with revolutionary guards and or Bassij brothers; Drug possession

About this Case

News of the execution of Mr. Rostam Nurzahi, along with 80 other individuals who were executed in 27 different cities on one day, was published in the Jomhuri Eslami newspaper on March 11, 1988 quoting Announcement Number 7 from the Headquarters for Combating Narcotics. This execution was reported previously in the same newspaper on March 4. The Announcement No. 7 concludes: “The Headquarters for Combating Narcotics warns traitors and elements of colonialism and imperialism, who are actively involved in importing and distributing destructive narcotics, to stop their wicked activities before they are captured by the claws of Islamic justice, to surrender to the security forces, to provide all information they have on professional smugglers, and help arrest these merchants of death. Certainly, the Islamic Revolutionary Court does not hesitate to uproot corruptors and distributors of narcotics and will issue and execute God’s ruling against them.”

Arrest and Detention

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


No information is available on the defendant’s trial. It took place in the Revolutionary Court of Torbat-e Heidarieh (Khorasan Razavi province).


The charges against Mr. Rostam Nurzehi, along with three other individuals, were announced as “membership in an armed smuggling gang, participation in dealing and distribution of narcotics, specifically 84.3 kilograms of opium, 3.7 kilograms of heroin, and 89 Kalashnikovs, sedition, and causing insecurity area near national borders” (Jomhuri Eslami, Mar. 4).

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 Islamic Republic authorities have brought trumped-up charges against their political opponents and executed them for alleged 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. 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, morphine, or methadone). The exact number of people convicted based on trumped-up charges is unknown.

Evidence of Guilt

According to the Headquarters for Combating Narcotics, “4 combat weapons were discovered in the possession of the defendants.”


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


Based on the court’s ruling, Mr. Rostam Nurzehi was hanged in Torbat-e Heidarieh.

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