Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

https://www.iranrights.org
Omid, a memorial in defense of human rights in Iran
One Person’s Story

Mohammad Naderipur

About

Age: 21
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Unknown

Case

Date of Killing: July, 2009
Location of Killing: Sirjan, Kerman Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Extrajudicial killing
Charges: Unknown charge
Age at time of offense: 21

About this Case

was a  civil engineering student, who was kidnapped and killed following the protests after the presidential election in 2009.

Information regarding Mr. Mohammad Naderipur’s death was announced by Moje Sabze Azadi (September 7, 2009), HRANA- Human Rights Activists News Agency (September 7, 2009 and May 26, 2010), and Association of Iranian Political Prisoners (in Exile) (September 6, 2009). Additional information in this regard was obtained from ISCA News- Iran Student Correspendent Association (April 24 and July 28, 2009), Negarestan Journal in Sirjan (April 24, 2010), Goftareno (April 26, 2010), Fars News Agency (May 25, 2009 and April 30, 2010), ISNA (April 30, 2010), and Kaviran (May 1, 2010 and June 5, 2010).

Mr. Naderipur was born in the village of Khabr, located near Baft, Kerman Provence. According to his family members and friends, he was known as an honest young man and also a well-known and responsible student, who had no personal problems with anyone (Moje Sabze Azadi). According to available information, Mr. Naderipur was a student of civil engineering in the Sirjan Engineering College, a branch of Bahonar University in Kerman, and head of the Student Branch of Mirhossein Musavi’s Election Headquarters in Sirjan.

Mr. Mohammad Naderipur’s Death

On July 1, 2009 around 7:00PM, he was kidnapped by plain-clothes individuals in his car after finishing an exam session. Mr. Naderipur’s body was found in his car, parked somewhere in Sirjan, 48 hours after his kidnapping. Those responsible for his death not only did not take his car, but also did not steal anything from his car. This indicated that the motive for murder had been political and related to Mr. Naderipur’s activities after the election (Moje Sabze Azadi and Association of Iranian Political Prisoners).

Mr. Naderipur’s body was transferred to the forensic medicine office and after autopsy, the cause of death was announced as “severe blow to the back of head” (HRANA). An eye-witness who had seen the body before autopsy and burial stated that even Mr. Naderipur’s shirt was not torn and this indicated that he did not get into a fight or resist his murderer(s) (Moje Sabze Azadi and Association of Iranian Political Prisoners). In addition, it was discovered after investigations that the murderer(s) removed plastic covers on the steering and gear shift to avoid leaving any fingerprints (Moje Sabze Azadi).

2009 Election Background

Election returns from Iran’s June 12th, 2009, presidential election declared Mahmoud Ahmadinejad re-elected with 62.63 percent of the vote.  Following the announcement, citizens disputing these official results demonstrated in the streets.  Text messaging services were disrupted starting at 11:00 p.m. on the night before the election and remained unavailable for nearly three weeks, until July 1st. On Election Day, the deputy chief of Iranian police announced a ban on any gathering of presidential candidates’ supporters throughout the country.  The same evening, security forces made a “show of strength,” increasing their presence in Tehran’s public squares to “reinforce security at polling stations.”  Officials at election headquarters began reporting results soon after midnight, despite a statement from the Minister of the Interior that the first returns would not be announced until after the morning prayer (around 4:00 a.m.).

Many supporters of other presidential candidates came out into the streets on June 13th, once the results were made public, to protest what they believed to be a fraudulent election.  Candidates Mir Hossein Musavi, Mehdi Karubi, and Mohsen Reza’i, Ahmadinejad’s competitors in the race, contested the election, alleging many instances of fraud.  They filed complaints with the Council of Guardians, the constitutional body charged with vetting candidates before elections take place and approving the results afterwards, requesting an annulment and calling for a new election.  Before the Council of Guardians could review their claims, however, the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, congratulated Ahmadinejad on his re-election.  In the meantime, many people active in Karubi’s and Musavi’s campaigns were arrested.

On June 15th, unprecedented demonstrations filled the streets of central Tehran, in which an estimated three million protestors participated, according to statements attributed to the mayor of Tehran.  As the demonstrations were ending, paramilitary forces attacked the marchers, injuring and killing several people.  To prevent such news from being broadcast, the Iranian government expelled foreign journalists from the country and banned news agencies from reporting on the events.  Over the next three days, protesters took part in peaceful demonstrations in Tehran.  The repression entered a new phase on June 19th after Ayatollah Khamenei’s Friday sermon, in which he announced his support for Ahmadinejad and warned protestors that they were responsible for any disorder and its consequences. Amnesty International stated that the speech gave “legitimacy to police brutality.”  The next day and thereafter, police and plainclothes paramilitary groups attacked the protesters.  Public gatherings of any kind were declared illegal, and police, motorcycle-riding special units wearing black uniforms and helmets, and plainclothes agents brutally enforced this restriction.

Individuals in civilian clothing, commonly referred to as plainclothes forces, are used in the Islamic Republic to disrupt political and trade union activities, student events and gatherings, electoral initiatives, and protests.  Armed with sticks and clubs, and sometimes with chains, knives, batons, or firearms, they emerge when the state decides to suppress dissent.  These plainclothes forces move about freely, violently beating protesters and arresting them, while the police passively look on or actively cooperate with them.

There is little information on the command structure and organization of such groups, whose members wear ordinary clothing rather than official uniforms and may be affiliated with the ministry of information, influential political groups, or the armed forces. Following the post-election demonstrations in June 2009, pictures of some plainclothes agents were posted on internet websites.  Internet users helped to identify some of them and provided evidence that these individuals were affiliated with the Basij paramilitary groups, the Revolutionary Guard Corps, and state intelligence forces. On September 16, 2009, a deputy commander of the Revolutionary Guards Corps of the Province of Tehran confirmed the active and decisive role of Basij forces in the repression of the demonstrations, saying, “Basijis, through their presence in recent events, have blinded the eyes of the conspirators, and they should be appreciated… The enemies of Islam wanted to make the air dusty and to exploit the recent events, but thank God, through the enlightenment of the Honorable Leader we were victorious against this conspiracy.” He also emphasized, “The zealous youth of [the] Basij, believers in the Guardianship of the Jurisprudent, are the second and third generations of the Revolution.  They have been successful in this stage and victorious on this battlefield.”

When personal property was damaged during the protests, government authorities and state-run radio and television programs accused the demonstrators of vandalism and justified the repression.  At the same time, however, footage posted online showed security forces destroying and damaging property on side streets and in uncongested areas away from the protests.  Moreover, in a public gathering in Tehran on October 20th, the chief of Iranian police conceded that police had destroyed and damaged property and accepted responsibility for it.

The precise number of citizens injured, killed, or disappeared in the post-election violence is not known.  According to various reports, there were hundreds of victims in demonstrations throughout the country.  More than seventy names have been reported.  It is said that officials have threatened victims’ family members, demanding their silence and that they refrain from giving interviews.  Reports also allege that returning a victim’s body to a family has been made conditional upon their agreement to change the cause of death listed on the coroner’s certificate to that of a heart attack or some other natural cause — thus foregoing the right to file a complaint — as well as the family's agreement not to hold memorial services for the loved one.

According to government statements, more than 4,000 people were arrested throughout Iran in the weeks following June 12th. Many have been held at the Kahrizak Detention Center, where prisoners’ rights and minimum hygiene standards were typically ignored.  Numerous reports of violence, including the torture and rape of detainees, have been published.  State reports and testimonies confirm that a number of detainees at Kahrizak died in custody due to beatings, difficult and unbearable prison conditions, and torture.

Officials’ Reaction

During the first month after the murder, officials did not react to Mr. Naderipur’s death (HRANA). The Intelligence Police in the city asked the family to bury the body immediately (Moje Sabze Azadi and Association of Iranian Political Prisoners).

According to a reliable source, the security forces burned Mr. Naderpour’s clothes and the blanket that covered his body before delivering the body to his family in order to destroy evidence. This source, who participated in Mr. Naderipur’s burial ceremony in Khabr village, stated that some unknown and plain-clothes individuals, who seemed to be security agents, participated in the ceremony (Moje Sabze Azadi). 

Months after this murder, the Public Prosecutor of Sirjan announced in an interview that the murder of this student had a personal motive, not a political one. Farajollah Kargar, the Public Prosecutor of Sirjan, explained: “After a series of investigations by police, judicial, and intelligence officials, three suspects were arrested and one of them confessed to murdering the victim (Mohammad Naderi) for revenge: Mohammad had a relationship with a female student who the confessed killer had an interest in. Two other suspects, a man and a woman, have been imprisoned for hiding and carrying the body” (HRANA).

Family’ Reaction

According to a reliable source who cited one of Mr. Naderipur’s close relatives, they remained silent fearing that other members of their family, especially their daughter who is a student in Zahedan, might be kidnapped (Moje Sabze Azadi).

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