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

Abdollah Diargard

About

Age: 29
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Unknown

Case

Date of Killing: September 21, 2006
Location of Killing: Bafq, Yazd Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Drug trafficking
Age at time of offense: 28

About this Case

News of the execution of Mr. Abdollah Diargard, son of Gholam, his brother, and one other individual was published on the IRNA website (September 21, 2006), in Etemed-e Melli newspaper and on Yazd-e Farda website (September 22, 2006), as well as on the country’s Prosecutor General website (October 4, 2006), quoting the Bafq County General and Revolutionary Prosecutor. Additional information about this case was obtained from Yazd-e Farda website (September 29, 2005, and February 6, 2006) and Khatam newspaper (February 21 and 25, 2006).

Mr. Diargard was born and resided in [the city of] Zabol. His case and the case of 6 other individuals was related to drug crimes, armed skirmish, and the killing of two persons on September 24, 2005, in the Bafq to Yazd road.

Arrest and detention

Mr. Diargard was arrested in Khomeini Shahr in Esfahan [Province] by Esfahan police officers. He spent one year in prison. He was tortured while undergoing interrogations in Yazd and Esfahan prisons. (Khatam newspaper).

Trial

Yazd Province Criminal Court, Branch One, comprised of four judges and a presiding judge, tried Mr. Diargard and six other defendants at the Yazd County Judiciary [Complex]. The first public trial session convened on Sunday, February 5, 2006. More than five sessions were conducted in trying the defendants. The defendants’ attorneys were present at trial.

Charges

The charges against Mr. Diargard were stated to have been “armed traffic of narcotic drugs, transportation and possession of narcotic drugs, addiction to narcotic drugs”. (State Prosecutor General). According to available information, on the day of the events, several individuals transporting narcotics engaged in skirmishes with [law enforcement] officers during a chase, in the course of which two officers were killed and another individual was injured. (Yazd-e Farda website).

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 Islamic Republic authorities have brought trumped-up charges against their political opponents and executed them for alleged drug trafficking, sexual, and other criminal offences. Thousands of alleged drug traffickers have been sentenced to death following judicial processes that fail to meet international standards. Scores of them were executed based on a 1989 law imposing mandatory death sentences on drug traffickers found in possession of specified amounts of proscribed narcotics (5 kg of hashish or opium, and more than 30 grams of heroin, codeine or methadone). The exact number of people convicted based on trumped-up charges is unknown.

Evidence of guilt

The evidence presented against Mr. Diargard and the other defendants was stated to have been “possession of 540 kilograms of opium and 135 kilograms of hashish and morphine, the defendants’ confessions, testimony of eyewitnesses, and a firearm”.

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. Diargard stated in his own defense that he had played absolutely no role in the events and that he was only accompanying [the traffickers] as a passenger. In defense of Mr. Diargard and of the other defendants, his attorney stated that the traffic of narcotic drugs was carried out by professional drug traffickers and that the defendants had cooperated in that exercise but that another individual had played the main role. He asked for an expert’s opinion and for the presence of a communications expert in court to provide his opinion regarding the cell phones and the reports of the Communications [Ministry]. He also asked the court that an expert analysis be conducted regarding the speed of the defendants’ automobile which was carrying 500 kilos of cargo and three passengers, and had a flat tire. He stated: “It is not possible for a car in such conditions to move at a speed of 200 kilometers (120 miles) per hour.” (Khatam newspaper).

Summary of the defects of Mr. Abdollah Diargard's legal proceedings  

What can be observed in this case is that there were multiple defendants and it is not exactly clear which one committed what crime. In other words, the investigations conducted by the prosecutor’s office and the court were not able to establish the extent of each of the defendants’ role in committing murder and transporting narcotic drugs. It appears that this was the main reason for convening at least five trial sessions at the Yazd Province Criminal Court. The statements made by the prosecutor’s representative and the defendant’s attorney indicate that sufficient investigations were not conducted at the prosecutor’s office. Case in point: The defendant’s attorney objected to the lack of field investigations but the prosecutor’s representative responded by stating that the prevalence of evidence was such that there was no need to conduct field investigations, whereas, the nature of the events was such that field investigations [were warranted and] could have greatly helped in discovering the truth of what happened in this case.

Another issue that demands attention is the defendants’ confessions. All of the defendants denied the charges in court and stated that the confessions they had made in the preliminary investigations phase were obtained under torture. 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 Note to Article 59 of the General and Revolutionary Courts Rules of Criminal Procedure provides: “In cases where the defendant’s confession, a witness’ testimony, and/or testimony to a witness’ testimony constitute the basis for the court’s decision, the judge making the decision in the case must personally hear [such confession and/or testimony].” 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. In the present case, the defendants declared that they had been forced to confess under torture by law enforcement officers and because of pressure exerted on their families by one of the people who had [actually] committed the crime[s]. It was necessary for the court to order further investigations into the allegations of torture at this stage because pursuant to Iranian law, torture and duress of the defendant is illegal and considered to be a crime, and confessions obtained in this manner are without legal credence. Principle 38 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, as well as other Iranian laws and international documents to which the Iranian government is a signatory, expressly state that a confession made under duress has no validity whatsoever and even consider the extraction of an admission through torture to be a crime and those who commit such an act, criminals.

Judgment

Yazd Province Criminal Court, Branch One, sentenced Mr. Abdollah Diargard to death. The ruling was upheld by the Supreme Court. He and his brother were hanged in public on Thursday, September 21, 2006, at the city of Bafq’s Edalat Square.

Their bodies were brought down from the gallows after an hour and were turned over to the Medical examiner’s Office, Yazd Center.

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