Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Mohammad Ali Afsaneh

About

Age: 47
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Married

Case

Date of Killing: December 12, 2006
Location of Killing: Jahrom, Fars Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Murder
Age at time of offense: 46

About this Case

News of the execution of Mr. Mohammadali Afsaneh, son of Haj Abbas, was announced by Iran daily (December 13, 2006) and the website of Khabar-e Jonoub (December 5, 2006). Additional information on this case was obtained from Islamic Republic daily (March 1, 2005), the websites of Khabar-e Jonoub (June 13, 2006) and the Iranian Students’ News Agency – ISNA (July 2, 2006); and Kayhan daily (December 12, 2006), citing the Public and Revolutionary Prosecutor of Jahrom County.

Mr. Afsaneh, from Jahrom, was married and had three children. His case and that of three other individuals pertains to the murder of 12 people in his brother’s orchard in Jahrom County on February 24, 2006. A few years before that incident, Mr. Afsaneh had killed an Afghan who had broken his ass’s leg, for which Mr. Afsaneh had spent some time in prison. 

Arrest and detention

Mr. Afsaneh was arrested by agents of the central command of the judiciary police of Fars Province in the Mahkuyeh Cavern of Firouzabad County of Fars Province, on April 14, 2006. His sons, who had accompanied him on the day of the incident,  turned themselves in to the authorities of the provincial Ministry of Justice office on the same day, and the fourth defendant was arrested on February 25, 2006.

Mr. Afsaneh fled the scene after the incident, and for 52 days lived in a cavern under the protection of his friends. He spent eight months in prison after arrest, and his last meeting with his family occurred on December 12, 2006. 

Trial

Branch Five of the Public Court of Fars Province tried Mr. Afsaneh, and three other defendants, on June 12, 2006 in the presence of the judge, the judiciary deputy of the provincial Ministry of Justice office of Fars Province, and the government-appointed defense lawyer for the defendants. The court proceedings were open to the public. 

Charges

Mr. Afsaneh was charged with “12 counts of murder with heavy firearms.” According to the available information, after having a dispute with his brothers over financial issues, Mr. Afsaneh, on the day of the incident, along with his sons and one of his manual workers, opened fire on and killed 6 women and 5 men, in addition injuring 4.

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

“Confessions of the defendants, complaints of the families, testimonies of the eyewitnesses, discovery of firearms, report of the firearm experts and statement of the forensic office” were entered as evidence of guilt against Mr. Afsaneh.

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

During the court proceedings, Mr. Afsaneh defended himself by stating that he had been taking pills for his mental disorder for the past 25 years, and that during the day of the incident  he had not been of sound mind, because he had taken 30 pills as well as 3 cubes of opium. He added that prior to what happened, he had done everything to solve his financial problem. The creditors had overwhelmed him. His brothers would not give him his share of the common property, either. Mr. Afsaneh said in his defense, “I am crazy. I did this thing, but I brought the firearm from Estahban with the help of my elder brother. I wanted to sell my share of the orchard, but my other brother would not let me. My elder brother is the cause of all my misery. I take pills; I take opium. I am a wretched person. I know. I only remember the killing of my elder brother. I have no idea what happened next. It was not premeditated at all.”

Mr. Afsaneh’s lawyer added, in his defense, that “The fact that the defendant said in his statement that he had been in debt and that the others did not give him his due, these can’t be taken as a strong motivation for murder. As such, I request that in view of the lack of proportionate motivation, as well as the statements of Alimohammad Afsaneh regarding his mental disorder, the honorable court convene a medical commission to conduct research in order to ascertain everything before the verdict is issued” (Khabar-e Jonoub).

In addition, during an interview Mr. Afsanehsaid said, “My elder brother gave me the gun and provoked me to kill my other brothers to level my credit. He said he would satisfy the first-degree blood relatives of the victims if I did that. I was not in a natural state on the day the incident occurred. That day I was picking fruit. I was angry with my brothers and, all of a sudden, decided to do what he said. I was an uneducated individual, and nobody would listen to me” (Khabar-e Jonoub). 

Judgment

Branch Five of the Public Court of Fars Province sentenced Mr. Mohammadali Afsaneh to 10 times of execution on the charge of murdering 12 individuals. The verdict was validated by Branch 32 of the Supreme Court on October 11, 2006, and by the head of the Judiciary on December 6, 2006. Mr. Afsaneh was publicly hanged on a crane at the Khayyam Crossroads of Jahrom, on December 12, 2006.

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