Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Karimbakhsh Esma'ilzehi


Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim


Date of Killing: May 10, 1987
Location of Killing: Zahedan, Sistan Va Baluchestan Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Unspecified execution method
Charges: Drug trafficking; Drug possession; Possession of arms

About this Case

About this Case

The execution of Mr. Karimbakhsh Esma’ilzehi, a resident of Khash (Sistan and Baluchestan province), along with another defendant, was announced in the communiqué of the Islamic Revolutionary Public Prosecutor’s Office of Sistan and Baluchestan, published in the Kayhan newspaper on May 10, 1987. The communiqué states: “The only punishment of those who rise against God and His Prophet and spread corruption on earth is death. Praise God that two of the drug smugglers have been arrested by the courageous brothers of the Revolutionary Guards”.

Arrest and detention

The circumstances of Mr. Esma’ilzehi’s arrest and detention are not known.


There is no information regarding this trial, other than Mr. Esma’ilzehi was tried at the Islamic Revolutionary Tribunal of Zahedan.


The newspaper report refers to Mr. Esma’ilzehi as “an international drug smuggler.”

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

According to the communiqué, the Revolutionary Guardsmen, at the time of arrest of the defendants “during an armed clash… discovered 1.3 tons of opium, as well as a considerable amount of ammunition and weapons.”


No information is available concerning Mr. Esma’ilzehi’s defense.


The Islamic Revolutionary Tribunal of Zahedan sentenced Mr. Karimbakhsh Esma’ilzehi to death. The Supreme Judicial Council approved the sentence and Mr. Esma’ilzehi was executed in Zahedan on May 10, 1987.

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