Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

M’asumeh Shams Hesari


Age: 31
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Married


Date of Killing: June 21, 2006
Location of Killing: Evin Prison, Tehran, Tehran Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Stoning
Charges: Adultery; Murder
Age at time of alleged offense: 29

About this Case

News of the execution of Ms. Ma’sumeh Shams Hesari was published on the website of Khabaronline on June 22, 2006. Additional information was taken from websites of the Mehr news agency on October 21, 2012, Fars news agency and ISNA (Iranian Students News Agency) on June 20, 2006, the Hamshahri newspaper on January 5 and December 11, 2005, the Iran newspaper on January 5 and February 9, 2005, the Ettela’at newspaper on January 5, 2005, Jamejam on January 3, 2005, and the Sharq newspaper on June 1, 2004.

Ms. Shams Hesari was married with three children, a housewife, and a resident of Pishva near Varamin. Her case, along with three others, including her husband, an Afghan man, and a man from Firuzkuh, was related to the murder of a brother and a sister and two small children in Varamin in September of 2004. This case was the most notorious criminal case of the year.

According to the existing information, Ms. Shams Hesari came to know one of the victims while commuting for her son’s medical treatment. She introduced herself as single and a student. Her husband found out about this relationship, got a new birth certificate for her, and married her to the victim. He introduced himself as Ma’sumeh’s uncle and, in another plot, arranged the marriage of the victim’s sister with another man. He then murdered both brother and sister when opportunity permitted. In addition, he murdered his own two children, 6 and 11, who had been witnessed the murder, in the bathroom of his house.

Arrest and detention

Ms. Shams Hesari was arrested after her husband, Mr. Esma’il Arab Ameri, had been arrested and confessed on September 24, 2004 (ISNA). The circumstances of her arrest and detention are not known.


Branch 71 of the Criminal Court of Tehran, presiding with one judge and four counselors, tried Ms. Shams Hesari and three other defendants in an open session on January 2, 2005. (Jamejam)


According to the Head of the Criminal Court of Tehran, the charges brought against Ms. Shams Hesari were “adultery while married and participation in murdering a brother and sister and her own two young children.” (Iran newspaper on January 5, 2005)    

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 authorities have brought trumped-up charges, including drug trafficking, sexual, and other criminal offences, against their opponents (including political, civil society activists, as well as unionists and ethnic and religious minorities). 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 and executed based on trumped-up charges is unknown.

Evidence of guilt

The evidence presented against Ms. Shams Hesari was the confession of her husband, the first row defendant. However, her husband rejected all his confessions during the trial and claimed that his wife, as a witch, was the plotter and responsible for all murders. (Jamejam)

International human rights organizations have repeatedly condemned the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran for its systematic use of severe torture and solitary confinement to obtain confessions from detainees, and have questioned the authenticity of confessions obtained under duress.


During the trial, Ms. Shams Hesari stated that she was not present at the Varamin crime scene when her new sister-in-law was murdered and she was at their house. In her defense, she accepted all charges but emphasized that her husband, Esma’il, lied. She married one of the victims on his order. However, she knew about her husband’s revenge from her new sister-in-law. Regarding the murder of her two children, she claimed that she was at her mother’s house at the time and was not aware of their murder. She introduced her ex-husband as the plotter and executioner of all murders.


Branch 71 of the Criminal Court of Tehran condemned Ms. Ma’sumeh Shams Hesari to 45 years imprisonment for assistance in four murders, and to death for adultery while married. The Supreme Court confirmed the ruling. She was hanged in the Evin Prison in Tehran on June 21, 2006. Her husband, the first row defendant, was condemned to death, two counts, for murdering a brother and a sister, to paying two Dieh (blood money) for murdering his two children, and to death for adultery. He was executed on January 18, 2006. The third and fourth row defendants were also condemned to 15 years imprisonment each for assistance in a murder. 

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