Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Esmai'l Arab Ameri


Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Married


Date of Killing: January 18, 2006
Location of Killing: Evin Prison, Tehran, Tehran Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Murder

About this Case

Mr. Esmail Arab-Ameri claimed his wife was a sorceress who promised to resurrect his children if he murdered them.

News of Mr. Esmail Arab-Ameri’s execution along with two other individuals, was published by Javan newspaper and Iran newspaper websites (January 21, 2006). Additional information was obtained from Sharq newspaper (May 31, 2004), Iran newspaper (February 4 and 9, 2005), Ettela’at newspaper (January 5, 2005), Hamshahri newspaper (January 5 and December 11, 2005), and Jam-e Jam (January 4, 2006).

Mr. Esmail Arab-Ameri was married and had three children, was a motorcycle mechanic and resided in the city of Varamin’s Pishva neighborhood. His case, along with the case of three other people, is related to the murder and rape of a woman and the murder of her brother in August 2003 in the mountains surrounding the village of Gacheh, as well as the murder of the his own two children on August 25, 2003, in the city of Varamin. This case gained notoriety as the year’s most egregious.

Based on available information, Mr. Arab-Ameri’s spouse, Ms. Massumeh Shams Hessari, met one of the murder victims on the route she took to her son’s medical treatment, and introduced herself to him as a student and a single woman. Her husband found out about the affair after a while and forced her to marry the man by obtaining a new identity card for her.

Arrest and detention

After these events, Mr. Arab-Ameri fled to Iraq, and upon return to Iran, he was arrested by police officers on February 5, 2004, in a motorcycle repair shop in the city of Kermanshah.


Tehran Province Criminal Court, Branch 71, tried Mr. Arab-Ameri. The first court session convened on January 2, 2005 under the authority of the presiding judge and four member judges, and in the presence of four defendants. His attorney was also present, but no further information is available regarding the trial session/s.


The Tehran Province Criminal Court presiding judge stated the charges against Mr. Arab-Ameri as being “four counts of murder, and rape”.

The validity of the criminal charges brought against this defendant cannot be ascertained in the absence of the basic guarantees of a fair trial.

Evidence of guilt

The evidence presented against Mr. Arab-Ameri was stated to be “the defendant’s confessions, several videotapes of the wedding and engagement ceremonies”. Upon being arrested, during interrogations, he also confessed to the murder of a brother and sister. He denied all his confessions at the trial session, however, and stated that his spouse was the principal actor in the murders (Jam-e Jam).

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.


Denying his previous admissions in court, Mr. Arab-Ameri stated that his spouse had destroyed their lives and had robbed him of his faculty of thought by reciting incantations and putting a spell on him. He stated that she was a witch who had planned the murders and bore responsibility for them. He also stated that an Afghan man had committed the murder of his spouse’s second husband. He further said that he had no knowledge of his spouse’s second marriage, and said that he was simply working as a laborer at his spouse’s wedding. Regarding the murder of his two children, he stated that it was upon the orders of his spouse, and that she had said if he sacrificed them, they would be resurrected. His attorney presented a defense but there is no information regarding the details.


Tehran Province Criminal Curt, Branch 71 sentenced Mr. Esmail Arab-Ameri to two death sentences for the murder of a brother and sister, to payment of two full Diahs (“blood money”) for the murder of his two children, and to death for rape. These sentences were upheld by Supreme Court Branch 33 and approved by the Head of the Judiciary Branch. He was hanged in the Evin Prison courtyard on Wednesday, August 19, 2005. His spouse was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment for being an accomplice in the murder of her second husband, to 15 years’ imprisonment for being an accomplice in the murder of her two children, and to death for adultery. The other two defendants in the case were sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment each, for being accomplices in murder. His spouse, Ms. Shams Hessari, was also executed on June 21, 2006.

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