Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Rostam Tajik


Age: 20
Nationality: Afghanistan
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Unknown


Date of Killing: December 10, 2005
Location of Killing: Esfahan, Esfahan Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Murder
Age at time of alleged offense: 16

About this Case

The information about Mr. Rostam Tajik, a citizen of Afghanistan, has been gathered from the following sources: the website of the Kayhan newspaper (Dec. 6, 2005), the Aftab website referring to the Hamshahri newspaper (Dec. 7, 2005), correspondence of United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Philip Alston, dated December 8, 2005 (published on Mar. 12, 2007; A/HRC/4/20/Add.1), the websites of the Javan and the Hamshahri newspapers (Dec. 11, 2005) and the website of Amnesty International (Dec. 12, 2005).

In his report, the United Nations Special Rapporteur “regrets that the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has failed to cooperate with the mandate” and “reiterate[s his] requests for a comprehensive and detailed indication of the details of individuals who have been sentenced to death for crimes committed when they were less than eighteen years of age.” He also regrets that he has not received any response for his correspondence about the cases of at least 30 under-aged individuals condemned to death. He notes that “the execution of Rostom Tajik and any further executions of juvenile offenders are incompatible with the international legal obligations of the Islamic Republic of Iran... The right to life of persons below eighteen years of age and the obligation of States to guarantee the enjoyment of this right to the maximum extent possible are both specifically expressed in Article 6 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Besides, Article 37(a) expressly provides that capital punishment shall not be imposed for offences committed by persons below eighteen years of age. In addition, Article 6(5) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights provides that the death penalty shall not be imposed for crimes committed by persons below eighteen years of age.”

Mr. Alston points to “a note verbale from the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran on 8 March 2005 to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in which it was stated: ‘In recent years the enactment of the death penalty for individuals aged under 18 has been halted and there has been no instance of such punishments for the category of youth. The legal ban on under-aged capital punishment has been incorporated into the draft Bill on Juvenile Courts, which is at present before parliament for ratification.’”

Arrest and Detention

According to the available information, Mr. Tajik became a fugitive subsequent to the alleged murder in Esfahan. The police arrested him in Qazvin on May 19, 2001.


No information is available on the defendant’s trial, other than he was tried at Branch 9 of the General Court of Esfahan.


The charge against Mr. Rostam Tajik is reported differently by the media. Javan reports that he murdered another Afghan citizen in the Baqushkhaneh district of Esfahan in 2001, but according to the Hamshahri and Kayhan newspapers, he murdered a young woman named Nafiseh Rafi’i during an attempted robbery of her house on May 13, 2001. She was the wife of Mr. Tajik’s employer. Mr. Tajik was 16 years old at the time of the alleged crime (Amnesty International).

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. 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 Kayhan newspapers, the eleven year old daughter of the victim was also injured during the robbery in which her mother was killed. The girl was hospitalized and she later recovered. She was able to identify her mother’s murderer. There is no more information regarding the evidence provided against the defendant.


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


Branch 9 of the General Court of Esfahan condemned Mr. Rostam Tajik to death. Branch 9 of the Supreme Court approved the death sentence. Mr. Rostam Tajik was hanged in public on December 10, 2005 at the Baqushkhaneh Park in Esfahan. The Hamshahri reports: “people shouted ‘God is great’ and enthusiastically demanded the execution. A young physician visited Rostam and declared that he was healthy and ready for the execution. Then, two officials took him to the place of his execution and people expressed their approval by shouting ‘Thank you! Thank you!’”

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