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

Seyed Iman Hosseini Moqadam

About

Age: 35
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Unknown

Case

Date of Killing: April 30, 2018
Location of Killing: Central Prison (Nedamatgah), Karaj, Alborz Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Corruption on earth; Rape
Age at time of offense: 30

About this Case

News of the execution of Mr. Seyed Iman Hosseini Moqadam, child of Seyed Reza, was published on the websites of Mizan News Agency, HRANA (the news arm of the Human Rights Activists in Iran), and Fars News Agency. (April 30, 2018). Additional information about this case was obtained from Mr. Hosseini Moqadam’s interview with Iran Human Rights Organization and from his mother’s letter published in the Iran Human Rights Organization website (November 27, and December 3, 2017), Fars News Agency website (February 2, 2016), IRNA (the Islamic Republic of Iran News Agency) (February 2, 2016), and Mizan News Agency (March 3, 2015).

Mr. Hosseini Moqadam had two wives and two children and was involved in construction and car sales. His case, known as the case of “the fake mailman”, is related to sexual offenses and theft in June-July 2012.

Arrest and detention

At 10 PM on December 30, 2013, the detectives from Greater Tehran’s Criminal Investigations Bureau’s 16th Precinct arrested Mr. Hossini Moqadam at her mother’s home located in a village in [the town of] Some’ehsara in Gilan Province. He was then taken to Shapur [Precinct] Criminal Investigations Bureau [in Tehran]. (Fars News Agency, April 30, 2018).

According to available information, Mr. Hosseini Moqadam was sought out after complaints were lodged by a number of women to the effect that they had been sexually assaulted and robbed.

As the police were taking action across the city of Tehran in order to find and arrest Mr. Hosseini Moqadam, a young woman called the Police 110 (the equivalent of 911) and stated that she had seen the defendant at a recreational center in Tehran. She also stated that the defendant had sexually assaulted her under the pretext of delivering a postal package. Looking at footage from closed circuit cameras around the young woman’s residence, the detectives were able to see the defendant’s motorcycle as he was fleeing the scene and determine the identity of the last owner, who turned out to be the defendant. (Fars News Agency, April 30, 2018).

According to Mr. Hosseini Moqadam, he was tortured for 70 days at the Shahpur Criminal Investigations Bureau. He weighed 123 kilograms (271 pounds) when he was taken to the Criminal Investigations Bureau and weighed only 78 kilograms (171 pounds) when he left there and was transferred to prison. He stated: “The torture was so awful that if you look at the video of me talking when I was at the Criminal Investigations Bureau, you will notice that I passed out several times and slipped from my chair. I was delirious.” (Iran Human Rights Organization, January 26, 2018). Furthermore, his mother’s letter states: “The torture was so intense that when my son was at Tehran Prosecutor’s Office Branch 21, he wanted to jump from the building to free himself from the torture, but the officers saved him at the very last minute.” (Mr. Hosseini Moqadam’s mother’s letter, Iran Human Rights Organization, December 3. 2017).

Mr. Hosseini Moqadam spent 5 years in prison. On April 22, 2018, he was transferred from Gohardasht Prison’s (Rajaishahr Prison) Ward 1 to a solitary confinement cell. (HRANA, April 30, 2018).

Trial

Tehran Islamic Revolutionary Court, Branch 15 tried Mr. Hosseini Moqadam in several sessions in the presence of the judge and his defense attorney. The first trial session took place on October 28, 2014 (IRNA, February 2, 2016)

Charges 

The charge brought Mr. Hosseini Moqadam was “30 counts of forcible rape”.

According to the contents of the case file, several women went to Shohada [District] 110th Police Precinct and stated that a person who identified himself as a mailman had rung their doorbell under the pretext of delivering a package, and had subsequently stolen their necklaces and other personal items by threatening them with a knife or a carpet cutting blade; some also stated that he had sexually assaulted them. Several of the women also stated that he had fled the scene on a black motorcycle.

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 have drawn attention to reports indicating that the Islamic Republic authorities have brought trumped-up charges, including drug trafficking, sexual, and other criminal offences, against their opponents (including political, civil society activists, as well as unionists and ethnic and religious minorities). Each year Iranian authorities sentence to death hundreds of alleged common criminals, following judicial processes that fail to meet international standards. The exact number of people convicted and executed based on trumped-up charges is unknown.

Evidence of guilt 

The evidence used against Mr. Hosseini Moqadam were said to have been “the complaints of 40 plaintiffs, identification of the defendant subsequent to publication of his picture in the media by the plaintiffs, and the defendant’s confession during various phases of the investigation”. According to available information, the defendant faced his accusers (the plaintiffs) and accepted the charges brought against him and stated that he had been under the influence of methamphetamine and did not remember what had transpired. (IRNA, February 2, 2016).

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. Hosseini Moqadam considered the entire process of his arrest and trial as unfair and not transparent. In his opinion, his attorney was not served a notice to appear in court for his defense and the court did not listen to his attorney’s defense of his client. He and his attorney appealed the court’s ruling; a brief was written and the case was submitted to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court pointed to defects in the case on several occasions, remanding the case back to the Revolutionary Court. “One of the defects in this case, which the judges had overlooked several times, was that some of the plaintiffs had stated that the person who intended to rape them was 170 centimeters (5 feet 7 inches) tall, while another had said that he was 190 centimeters (6 feet 2 inches) tall. One plaintiff had said he was 22 years old, another had said that he was 40.” In his opinion, this case had different defendants and “they put everything on me because of the Criminal Investigation Bureau’s shortcomings. I have lost my reputation. People believe what they read in newspapers. They don’t know what lies these [allegations] can be. We had 147 reasons based on tangible evidence that proved my innocence but they didn’t take any of them into consideration.” He continued: “I would produce documentation that I was not in Tehran at the time Plaintiff X claimed [I had committed the crime] and that I was in Some’ehsara, but the judge would not accept [the proof]. They had a total of 40 plaintiffs who had lodged complaints against me, only 16 of whom appeared in court, and of these 16 people, some claimed theft and others claimed sexual assault.” (The defendant’s interview available on the Iran Human Rights Organization’s website, November 27, 2017).

Mr. Hosseini Moqadam appealed the ruling issued by Tehran Islamic Revolutionary Court, Branch 15. Supreme Court, Branch 41 did not uphold the ruling and asked for further investigations. The order for further investigations was sent to another trial court, Tehran Islamic Revolutionary Court, Branch 28.

When Mr. Hosseini Moqadam’s sentence became final, his family and friends gathered in front of the Justice Ministry (Judiciary) Building in Tehran on November 27, 2017, and demanded a fair adjudication of his case. His brother, who was at the gathering, stated that for three billion Tumans, several governmental organs had set his brother up in cooperation with one of his wives.

A Summary of the Legal Defects in the Adjudication of Mr. Seyed Iman Hosseini Moqadam’s Case

What can be easily observed in this case is that the plaintiffs’ statements are contradictory, a fact that the Supreme Court also demanded that it be rectified. According to available information and Judge Moghisseh’s statements, there were 40 plaintiffs in this case, only 16 of whom appeared in court. The statements of these individuals regarding the physical characteristics of the perpetrator were different. Additionally, an individual who resembled the defendant was also identified and found but the court did not summon him. In accordance with the law, investigations must be conducted in a thorough manner and in such a way so as not to leave any doubt as to the facts of the case. In the present case, investigations were flawed and incomplete, and the investigating authorities could have obtained more complete information had they examined the cameras at the location or carried out field investigations. The fact that the Supreme Court overruled Branch 15’s rulings on two separate occasions indicates the lack of attention and serious flaws in the investigations and at trial.

According to available information and the defendant and his mother’s statements, Mr. Hosseini Moqadam had been forced to make a self-incriminating confession under duress and torture at the Criminal Investigations Bureau. Subjecting a defendant to torture and duress is illegal under Iranian laws and considered to be a crime. Furthermore, any confessions or admissions so obtained are without legal credence. Principle 38 of the Iranian Constitution, as well as certain Iranian laws, expressly so provide. Additionally, similar to the Constitution, the Law for Respecting Legitimate Freedoms and Safeguarding Citizens’ Rights of 2004, Paragraph 9 provides: “All forms of torture of the defendant for the purpose of extracting confession or forcing him/her to do other acts are prohibited and confessions obtained in this way are devoid of legal and religious credence.” Article 169 of the Islamic Penal Code of 2013 also provides: “Confessions obtained under duress, force, torture, and/or physical or psychological harm shall have no value and credence, and the court shall conduct renewed interrogations of the defendant.” Accordingly, the court’s reliance on a confession obtained under duress and torture was thoroughly against the law. It was necessary for the court to conduct investigations in that regard, and then rely on a confession as the basis of its ruling.

Furthermore, pursuant to Iranian law, including the Islamic Penal Code and the Law on General and Revolutionary Courts Rules of Criminal Procedure, admissions and confessions are legally valid only when made before the trial judge. The Law on General and Revolutionary Courts Rules of Criminal Procedure, Note to Article 59 provides: “In cases where the court issues a ruling based on the defendant’s confession, or a witness’ testimony, or a testimony about a witness’ testimony, it is mandatory that such confession and/or testimony be made before the court.” Further, pursuant to Article 218, Note 2, of the Islamic Penal Code, “A confession is valid in accordance with the Shari’a only when it is made before the trial judge”. In other words, although confessions made before a person who is not a judge is considered a type of evidence, it is necessary, however, that it be made before the judge and for the judge to hear it for himself if the court cites it as the basis for its ruling. Therefore, confessions made before the investigating judge or law enforcement officials cannot be cited as evidence in the judge’s ruling.

According to available information, Revolutionary Court judges have [routinely] refrained from serving notices of the dates of the proceedings on attorneys, thereby violating the defendant’s right to legal representation and the attorney’s right to defend his/her client. According to existing laws, service of judicial papers and documents [including dates of the proceedings] on the attorney in the case is mandatory; without such service, court sessions are without legal credence and effect.

Judgment 

Pursuant to Article 286 of the Islamic Penal Code, Tehran Islamic Revolutionary Court, Branch 15, found Mr. Seyed Iman Hosseini Moqadam “Mofsed fel-Arz” (“one who spreads corruption om Earth”) and sentenced him to death. This ruling was upheld by Supreme Court Branch 41 and by Tehran Islamic Revolutionary Court, Branch 28. On April 30, 2018, Mr. Hosseini Moqadam was hanged at the city of Karaj’s Gohardasht (Rajaishahr) Prison.

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