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

Mojtaba Qorbanzadeh

About

Age: 28
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Married

Case

Date of Killing: April 10, 2018
Location of Killing: Rasht Prison (Lakan), Rasht, Gilan Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Murder
Age at time of offense: 27

About this Case

News of Mr. Mojtaba Qorbanzadeh’s execution was published on the website of Mizan News Agency and ISNA News Agency, and in Iran newspaper. (April 10, 2018). Additional information about this case was obtained from IRIB-Gilan Province website (October 17, 18, and 22, 2017; November 23, 2017; January 16, and 28, 2018; February 6, 2018); Sarpush (November 29, 2017); Aftab News (October 18, 2017); Gil Negah (November 29, 2017); ISNA (October 18, and 21, 2017); and Borna News Agency (November 19, 2017).

According to available information, Mr. Qorbanzadeh was 28 years old, married, with one child from his first marriage. He was employed at a pharmacy in the city of Rasht. His case is related to sex crimes, pedophilia, and murder on October 14, 2017, in Rasht.

Arrest and detention

Mr. Qorbnzadeh was arrested in Rasht’s Lakan region by the Police within the first moments after the incident. He spent six months in prison. According to the Defendant, he was tortured while undergoing interrogations. (Gil Negah website, November 29, 2017).

Trial

Gilan Province Criminal Court One tried Mr. Qorbanzadeh on November 29, 2017, after 43 days spent in detention, with a single judge, and in the presence of his court-appointed attorney. The court convened two public sessions for the charge of murder, and one closed door session for the charge of pedophilia.

Charges

The charges brought against Mr. Qorbanzadeh were “intentional murder, forcible Tafkhid (sodomy without penetration), molesting a child, and drinking alcohol”. After molesting the child, the defendant banged the child’s head against the wall, thereby causing the two years and eight months old child’s death. Mr. Qorbanzadeh was the child’s stepfather.

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 used against Mr. Qorbanzadeh was “the child’s death due to blunt force to the head; the Defendant’s confession; signs of injury to the child’s head, ear, bruised chin, testicles, and anus; the Medical Examiner’s report; the child’s parents’ complaint; and the testimony of eyewitnesses”. In his confession, Mr. Qorbanzadeh stated that Satan had taken him over at the time of the commission of the crime, and he expressed regret and remorse. (IRIB-Gilan Province website, October 18, 2017).

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

In his defense, Mr. Qorbanzadeh stated that he did not accept the charges. He continued: “I was traumatized and I had been tortured so much that I had to confess. What do you think, that I’m not a human being? That I do not have a shred of human decency? I do, and I was raised well by my parents; I would never rape a child. I was severely beaten the first eight nights I spent in detention at the Criminal Investigations Bureau. They refused to even give me water for three days. They would tell me they would turn me over to the angry mob of people if I didn’t confess, and that the mob would do what was necessary and take care of me.” (Gil Negah website, November 29, 2017). He stated that he was the one who had taken the child to the hospital, and had refused to flee like Ahura’s mother’s had suggested, because he believed he had done nothing wrong. In Mr. Qorbanzadeh’s defense, his attorney stated that the murder of the child was unintentional and asked for forgiveness. He also made a request to the court asking that his client’s statements be viewed as admissions under duress. (Gil Negah website, November 29, 2017).

Judgment

On December 7, 2017, Gilan Province Criminal Court One sentenced Mr. Ali Qorbanzadeh to death for murder, to 100 lashes and 2 years exile on the charge of forcible Takhfid (sodomy without penetration), to 6 months in prison for child molestation and payment of Arsh*, and to 80 lashes on the charge of drinking alcohol. The sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court and approved by the Head of the Judiciary Branch on February 6, 2018. Mr. Qorbanzadeh was hanged at Rasht Prison in the morning of April 10, 2018.

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*Arsh is a type of Diah (“blood money”) that has not already been prescribed in the law. Pursuant to Article 367 of the Islamic Penal Code of February 4, 1995, in the event that a crime is perpetrated on a person’s body for which Islamic Law has not already prescribed a specific amount as Diah, the perpetrator of the crime must pay Arsh on the basis of [the number of] ostriches. 

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