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

Zabihollah Naru’i

About

Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Unknown

Case

Date of Killing: May 30, 2009
Location: Zahedan, Sistan Va Baluchestan Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Corruption on earth; Acting against state's security; War on God

About this Case

Zabihollah Narue’ei was tried and sentenced to death in a mass trial that took only 30 hours. What did judicial officials pursue: justice or revenge?

News of the execution of Mr. Zabihollah Naru’i, child of Rassul, and two other defendants in the case, was published by numerous sources including Sistan and Baluchestan Province Judiciary’s website (June 1, 2009); Islamic Republic of Iran Police Force news website (May 30, 2009); Iranian Students News Organization (ISNA), Fars News Agency, and Taftan News Agency (June 1, 2009). Additional information about this case was obtained from Iran newspaper, Jam-e Jam online, and Radio Farda (May 30, 2009), and from other sources. *

Mr. Naru’i was a member of the cultural wing of the Iran Popular Resistance Movement (Jondollah)**, and was active in the distribution of CDs, film, announcements, and flyers for the Movement (Taftan News Agency, May 29, 2009).

Based on available information, Mr. Naru’i’s case was related to an explosion at the Imam Ali Mosque*** in the city of Zahedan on May 28, 2009.

Arrest and detention

Information Administration agents arrested Mr. Naru’i at Zahedan’s Imam Ali Mosque on May 26, 2009 (BBC Persian and Jam-e Jam online, June 1, 2009, and Donyaye Eghtessad newspaper, May 31, 2009). No information is available about the details of his arrest and detention.

Trial

Mr. Naru’i and his co-defendants were tried between the night of Thursday, May 28, and the morning of Saturday, May 30, 2009. The trial took place in the presence of his court-appointed attorney and the session was videotaped (ISNA, May 30, 2009). No information is available about the details of the trial session/s.

Charges

Mr. Naru’i’s trial was a mass trial with the other defendants in the case in which they were charged with “complicity in the bombing of Zahedan’s Imam Ali Mosque, complicity in the bombing of the Sarallah bus in 2006-07, complicity in the bombing of University Boulevard in 2006-07, attempted unsuccessful bombing of the February 10, 2009 demonstrations, explosion of a bomb in Zahedan’s Alghadir Mosque in February 2009, complicity in the March 2009 operations in the Lar region, complicity in four counts of armed hostage-taking for purposes of extortion on behalf of the Rigi gang, planning eight counts of unsuccessful terrorist and hostage-taking operations, and procuring a team house in Zahedan to carry out various operations” (Sistan and Baluchestan Province Judiciary, June 1, 2009). No information is available about charges brought individually against Mr. Naru’i.

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 cite reports according to which, in certain cases, officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran bring false charges against their opponents (including political, civil, and union activists, as well as ethnic and religious minorities) such as drug trafficking or commission of public or sexual crimes, and execute them along with other regular criminals. Hundreds of people are sentenced to death in Iran every year; however, the number of those who are sentenced to death based on these false charges is not known.

Evidence of guilt

Mr. Naru’i’s confession was the basis of his conviction and sentence (Iran-e Asr, May 30, 2009). The security forces’ investigations and reports were also among evidence presented against him.

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.

Defense

Mr. Naru’i had been arrested two days prior to the bombing. Furthermore, based on published reports, the perpetrator of the bombing was killed in the explosion (Iran newspaper, May 30, 2009).

Following the bombing, the Baluchestan Popular Movement (Jondollah) issued a statement claiming responsibility and stated that Mr. Naru’i had only cooperated with Jondollah in cultural areas such as distributing CDs, film, announcements, and flyers, and had played no role in the Imam Ali Mosque bombing (Taftan, May 30, 2009).

Mr. Naru’i’s case was adjudicated within 30 hours after the explosion and his trial took place outside the normal and legal framework of adjudication procedures. He was denied an attorney of his choosing and was not given sufficient time to prepare a defense. No information is available on Mr. Naru’i’s defense at trial.

A Summary of the Defects of Mr.Naru’i’s Legal Proceedings

It can be said with utmost certainty that Mr. Naru’i’s is a flagrant case of disregard for the principles of fair trial. The defendant in the case was arrested on May 26, 2009. The bombing occurred on May 28, and the defendants were executed on May 30. The judicial authorities charged the defendants with “complicity in the bombing of Zahedan’s Imam Ali Mosque, complicity in the bombing of the Sarallah bus in 2006-07, complicity in the bombing of University Boulevard in 2006-07, attempted unsuccessful bombing of the February 10, 2009 demonstrations, explosion of a bomb in Zahedan’s Alghadir Mosque in February 2009, complicity in the March 2009 operations in the Lar region, complicity in four counts of armed hostage-taking for purposes of extortion on behalf of the Rigi gang, planning eight counts of unsuccessful terrorist and hostage-taking operations and procuring a team house in Zahedan to carry out various operations”. Every single one of these charges carries a very harsh penalty, and investigating and adjudicating each one requires a fairly long time. The judicial authorities, however, by their own admission, tried the case, issued the death sentence, and carried it out, all within 30 hours. The process normally includes preliminary investigations, original trial, appellate hearing, obtaining permission to carry out the death sentence from the proper authorities, and conducting the formalities of sentence implementation. It is not at all credible that all these steps were taken in such a short time, especially given that judicial proceedings in much smaller cases take years in Iran.

Another important issue is that the defendants in this case were arrested two days prior to the bombing and were in detention when the bombing actually took place. It is therefore evident that these defendants played no role in carrying it out.

The unreasonable speed with which the proceedings were carried out, as well as the defendants’ arrest prior to the bombing, makes it perfectly clear that the judicial authorities executed these defendants simply to take revenge and with utter disregard for the principles of fair trial and due process.

Judgment

The court sentenced Mr. Zabihollah Naru’i to death for “Moharebeh and Efsad fel-Arz (“spreading corruption on Earth”) and “acting against national security”.

According to published reports, Mr. Naru’i’s request for an appeal was granted but there is no information as to the results thereof; (ISNA, May 30, 2009).

At 7:15 in the morning of Saturday, May 30, 2009, Mr. Naru’i and two of his co-defendants were hanged in public in front of Zahedan’s Imam Ali Mosque in the presence of the Zahedan prosecutor, families of the victims, and the general public.

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*Other sources: Taftan Neews Agency (May 29 and 30, 2009), Iran newspaper (May 30, 2009), Fars News Agency (May 28 and 29, 2009), Donyaye Eghtesad (May 31, 2009), Mehr News Agency (May 29, 2009), Jahan News (May 29, 2009), and BBC Persian (June 1, 2009).

**Jondollah (Iran Popular Resistance Movement) is a militia established in August of 2003 in southeastern Iran. This group called itself the protector of the Baluch people, an ethnic minority in southeastern Iran, and identified as its goals the defense of the Baluch people’s culture; improvement of Sistan and Baluchestan Province’s social conditions; and protecting the religious rights of the adherents of the Sunni faith from the Shiite regime of Iran; among others. The group resorted to armed struggle in order to achieve its goals and was therefore considered a terrorist group. Abodolmajid (Abdolmalek) Rigi was the leader of the group from the time it was established until his execution.

***The bombing of Zahedan’s Imam Ali Mosque, which is one of the most important mosques in the Sistan and Baluchestan Province, occurred on May 26, 2009, at the time of the evening mass prayers, and resulted in the killing of 20 individuals, including 3 children, and the injuring of 120 other persons.

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