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

Arman Bahr Asemani

About

Age: 20
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Single

Case

Date of Killing: January 15, 2017
Location of Killing: Central Prison, Kerman, Kerman Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Murder
Age at time of offense: 16

About this Case

Arman Bahr Asemani was found guilty of murdering his cousin at 16. When a legal reform could have spared his life, why did judiciary officials insist on hanging him?

News of Mr. Arman Bahr Asemani’s execution was published by HRANA (January 17, 2017) and the Iran Human Rights Organization’s website (January 26, 2017). Additional information about this case was obtained from Mr. Mohammad Ali Jedari Forughi’s Facebook page (January 14, 2017) and from an ILNA News Agency report (January 14, 2017).

Mr. Arman Bahr Asemani was 20 years old, born on February 11, 1979, and resided in the town of Jiroft in Kerman Province.

Mr. Bahr Asemani’s case is related to the murder of his cousin in Jiroft, Kerman Province. Mr. Bahr Asemani was 16 years old at the time of the event in question. 

Arrest and detention

The circumstances of Mr. Bahr Asemani’s arrest and detention are not known. Because Mr. Bahr Asemani was under the legal age limit, he was transferred to the Correction and Education Center for juvenile offenders after his arrest. During his detention at the Center, he obtained numerous athletic and cultural certificates of recognition (Mr. Mohammad Ali Jedari Forughi’s Facebook page, January 14, 2017).

Trial

No information is available on Mr. Bahr Asemani’s trial.

Charges

Mr. Bahr Asemani was charged with “intentional murder and consumption of alcoholic beverages”. He was accused of having murdered his cousin in November 2012 while inebriated.

Evidence of guilt

The report of this execution does not contain information regarding the evidence provided against the defendant.

Defense

The court did not pay attention to the fact that Mr. Bahr Asemani was sixteen years old at the time of the murder and under the legal age limit. Based on available information, Mr. Bahr Asemani was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the event. No information is available on Mr. Bahr Asemani’s defense.

A Summary of the Defects of Mr. Bahr Asemani’s Legal Proceedings

Arman Bahr Asemani was 16 years old at the time he allegedly committed murder. Although the age of criminal responsibility in Iranian law is the age of puberty and Arman had already reached puberty at the time of the murder, modifications made in the Islamic Penal Code in 2013 provided for the possibility of young adults under the age of 18 not being subject to the death penalty. Pursuant to Islamic Penal Code Article 91 “[i]n crimes requiring Hadd or Qesas, if the individuals under the age of 18 who have attained puberty cannot comprehend the nature of the crime or the prohibition thereof, or if there is doubt as to their mental development [and capacity] and maturity, they will be sentenced to the punishments prescribed in this chapter on a case by case basis. Note: In order to ascertain mental development and maturity, the court may obtain the medical examiner’s opinion, or utilize any other method it deems appropriate.” Judicial authorities apparently believed that Arman was mentally developed and mature at the time of the murder. Generally speaking, however, an individual at the age of 16 could hardly be capable of comprehending the nature of his/her actions as an adult would. Now that the new law has provided for the possibility of saving the lives of individuals under 18 who have been sentenced to death, why are some young people not covered by this law while others’ lives have been spared utilizing the provisions of this Article? 

Judgment

Mr. Bahr Asemani was sentenced to death (Qesas of life, “taking of life as retribution”) and 74 lashes for consuming alcoholic beverages. Based on available information, Mr. Bahr Asemani’s defense attorney pointed to the contradictions in the court’s ruling and stated: “If the Court believes my client was drunk, then the murder cannot be found to have been intentional, and if he was not drunk, then why the flogging sentence?” (Iran Human Rights Organization website, January 26, 2017).

According to Mr. Bahr Asemani’s brother, on January 12, the defendant was transferred from prison for the sentence to be implemented; however, the family was given one week to obtain the next of kin’s forgiveness while the legal formalities were being completed. Based on available information, Mr. Bahr Asemani’s family asked two other lawyers to assist them in obtaining the murder victim’s family’s forgiveness (ILNA, January 14, 2017). Based on available information, between two and four o’clock in the morning of January 15, 2017, as part of their ongoing efforts, the attorneys conducted a settlement meeting in one of the attorney’s homes with members of the defendant’s and the victim’s families and other well-meaning individuals, hoping they would be able to obtain the next of kin’s forgiveness. According to individuals present at that meeting, negotiations to obtain forgiveness and settle the matter were also being conducted between the families at another location. At 4 AM, the lawyers went to Kerman Prison. At around 6 AM, another settlement meeting took place at Kerman Prison with the consent of judicial authorities, in the presence of other judges and local judicial authorities and a number of other benevolent and well-meaning individuals, one of whom was in the service of the Shiite Eighth Imam’s shrine. At that meeting, according to an eyewitness, the murder victim’s brother who was very angry and demanded Qesas, calmed down a bit. One of the participating judicial authorities was optimistic that certain conditions would occur at the gallows that would stop the hanging (Mr. Mohammad Ali Jedari Forughi’s Facebook page, January 14, 2017).

Based on available information, the attorneys were prevented from participating in the final phase of negotiations at the gallows, and even Mr. Bahr Asemani’s attorney, who had represented him all those years, was not allowed to attend the final phase (Mr. Mohammad Ali Jedari Forughi’s Facebook page, January 16, 2017).

Based on available information, a large number of locals had gathered in front of Kerman Prison at dawn and were reciting the Koran and praying that the lives of Mr. Bahr Asemani and another prisoner who was to be hanged at the same time, be spared. At 7 AM, one of the attorneys addressed the crowd of people and, quoting a judicial official, expressed optimism that certain conditions would occur at the gallows that would lead to a temporary reprieve and another opportunity to obtain the next of kin’s forgiveness (Mr. Mohammad Ali Jedari Forughi’s Facebook page, January 16, 2017).

Mr. Arman Bahr Asemani was hanged in the Kerman Prison courtyard between the hours of 7 and 8 AM on January 15, 2017 (Mr. Mohammad Ali Jedari Forughi’s Facebook page, January 16, 2017).

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