Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Ali Feizollahi


Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Unknown


Date of Killing: June 7, 2014
Location of Killing: Central Prison, Tabriz, Azarbaijan-e Sharqi Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Murder

About this Case

News of the execution of Mr. Ali Feizollahi, along with another person, was published on the website of Oyannews on June 13, 2014. According to the existing information, he was from Meshkin Shahr and his case was related to a murder in 2008.

Arrest and detention

Mr. Feizollahi was detained for 6 years in Tabriz Central Prison. The circumstances of his arrest and detention are not known.


No other information is available on his trial. 


The charge brought against Mr. Feizollahi was announced as “murder.”   

According to the report, since there was not enough evidence presented against Mr. Feizollahi, the court found the case to be “lowth”. Pursuant to the judges’ request, the plaintiff introduced 50 people to the court, all of whom swore “qassameh” *oaths to prove Mr. Feizollahi’s murder charge.


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


On the basis of “qassameh” alone, the judges issued a death sentence (“qesas-e nafs”) for Mr. Ali Feizollahi. Accordingly, Mr. Ali Feizollahi was hanged at the Tabriz Central Prison yard on June 7, 2014. 


* “Qassameh” means an oath taken by a group of people. It is one of the ways that a defendant’s guilt or innocence can be proven for both intentional and non-intentional offenses. Per Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, “qassameh” is carried out in instances where a crime has occurred and no convincing evidence or witnesses exist which could prove the defendant’s guilt, and where a judge has doubt about the defendant’s guilt based solely on circumstantial evidence – a circumstance referred to in religious jurisprudence as “lowth.” Where “lowth” obtains, the judge is bound to ask the defendant to produce evidence disproving the charge. If the defendant demonstrates his innocence in this way, he is acquitted. Failing this, the plaintiff may perform “qassameh” in order to prove the defendant’s guilt, or request that the defendant perform “qassameh” to disprove the charges. This procedure, which requires a defendant to prove his innocence, is contrary to the principle of presumption of innocence and violates the defendant’s right to remain silent. The principle of the presumption of innocence - recognized in Iran’s constitution, Code of Criminal Procedure, and international agreements to which Iran is signatory – holds that all persons are to be considered innocent until proven guilty. A defendant should not be made to prove his own innocence. Proving the charges made against the defendant by presenting adequate evidence and witnesses is the duty of the prosecuting authority (in the Iranian context, the public prosecutor or a private plaintiff.) The right to remain silent is among the defendant’s rights of defense, affording him the right to refrain from answering questions regarding the charges entered against him. Such silence may not be treated as an indication or evidence of guilt or innocence.
In order to substantiate a charge of homicide through “qassameh,” an oath is required from 50 male relatives of the plaintiff. For the charge to be dismissed, fifty male relatives of the defendant must swear to his innocence. Should the number of male relatives taking the oath be less than 50, the defendant may repeat the oath himself in order to meet the required number of swears. In homicide cases, it is not possible for a plaintiff to repeat the oath in this way.
It is not necessary for those taking the oath to have witnessed the commission of the crime themselves.
In Hanafi jurisprudence, “qassameh” can only be carried out to disprove charges against a defendant, and a plaintiff may not use it to substantiate a defendant’s guilt. In Shi’a jurisprudence, however, “qassameh” is carried out in the first stage by the plaintiff to prove the charges against the defendant. Only where the plaintiff foregoes “qassameh” and requests that the defendant perform it himself, can the defendant use “qassameh” to see his charges dismissed.

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