Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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

Ramin Aqazadeh Qahremani


Age: 30
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Unknown


Date of Killing: July, 2009
Location of Killing: Tehran, Tehran Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Death in custody
Charges: Unspecified offense

About this Case

Mr. Aqazadeh Qahremani’s family described him as “calm and harmless, … [and] dependent on the family.”  For him, there would be no trial.

Information about Mr. Ramin Aqadzadeh Qahremani’s death in detention was taken from websites of the Noruz Information Base on July 27 and 31, HRANA (Human Rights Activists News Agency) on July 24 and October 2, Pilam and Aseman Daily News on July 23, and Ayandeh News on September 16, 2009. Additional information regarding detainees transferred to the Kahrizak prison was taken from an interview by ABF with an eyewitness. According to the family of Mr. Ramin Aqadzadeh Qahremani, “he was a non-political young man, very calm and harmless, and dependant to his family.”

Arrest and detention

Mr. Ramin Aqadzadeh Qahremani was arrested in July of 2009. The exact date of his arrest is unknown but it had been before July 9. After agents went to his house, he, along with his mother, went to an unknown location and reported to officials. He was then transferred to the Kahrizak prison.

Mr. Aqadzadeh Qahremani was detained for 15 days. He was released with apparent torture marks on his body. He had told his mother that he had been hung from his feet in Kahrizak (Noruz News Agency). According to an eye-witness, who was arrested on July 9 and interviewed by ABF, when he and other detainees reached the Kahrizak prison, the prisoners were very thin and hungry and he witnessed the death of a prisoner. He was also hung by his feet and beaten with a hose. This person described his observations as follows:

“[When entering Kahrizak], they searched us, and then we entered the courtyard. They took our names and made us take all our clothes off. We were all naked. They forced us to throw our clothes in a garbage bin. After keeping us naked for 30 minutes in the courtyard, they started beating us. They had thick hoses and batons… It hurt a lot. Around 6:00 or 7:00 p.m., they took us to Qaran [Ward] 1. We were able to grab a piece of clothing, anything we could put our hands on, and put it around our waists. There were already people there. Some of them looked like people [who had starved in] Biafra. They were thin and hungry. There were so many of us. The place was [meant for about] 20 people, but we were about 160. So we couldn’t sit down. We had to sleep standing up. Half of us sat, and half of us stood. We were not allowed to go to the toilet. Each of us passed out numerous times. It was very hot. There was a very small air vent, and at night the smell of gasoline came in. There were no windows. We banged on the door to get air, and instead, we had gasoline through the vent… Detainees asked for water, but we only got one or two glasses of water a day… We got a little piece of bread and less than a quarter of a potato, once each day. During the time we were in Kahrizak, they would storm in sometimes at 4:00 a.m. and push us into the courtyard and beat us with the hoses… The third or fourth day [July 13th or 14th], around 12:00 p.m., they took us to the courtyard. They made half of us crawl on our hands and knees around the courtyard while carrying the other prisoners on our backs. We had to carry them in a circle around the courtyard. The ground was so hot, we were burning. After five minutes, I only saw blood on the ground from other people’s knees and hands… We circled the courtyard maybe twenty or twenty five times. If we stopped, they beat us. Everyone had fractured bones and injuries in different parts of their bodies. The environment was so dirty and hot that any injury got infected immediately. Everyone had infections. [The guards] had to use masks because of the smell… In Kahrizak, several people were unconscious. Officials could see that we may not survive. When detainees of July 9 entered the prison, a Kahrizak official reminded them, ‘This place is called Kahrizak. Kahrizak means the end of the world. Here, you will soon behave as wild beasts. No one leaves this place alive.’”


Mr. Aqadzadeh Qahremani was never tried.


Agents who went to Mr. Aqadzadeh Qahremani’s house to arrest him stated his charge as “breaking a bank’s windows” (Noruz).

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

Official agents mentioned the reason for the arrest of Mr. Qahremani as, “participation in a demonstration and being identified by a bank closed circuit camera.”


No trial took place to investigate charges against Mr. Qahremani and he was denied the right to defend himself. According to existing reports, Mr. Qahremani’s mother, who went along with her son to the detention place to prove his innocence, said that her son did not do anything but peaceful protest.


The media published various reports regarding Mr. Qahremani’s date and place of death. According to HRANA, forensics reports indicated the cause of death as infection resulting from beating.

Mr. Qahremani’s family was pressured severely not to spread news of their son’s death. He was buried under intense security precautions. Authorities warned the family not to cry and mourn loudly over their son’s grave.

According to the existing information, no official ruling was issued against Mr. Qahremani. Transferring to the Kahrizak prison in which many prisoners lost their lives due to abuse, torture, heat, and non-standard health conditions during recent years, indicated that the judicial and security officials condemned Mr. Qahremani and other detainees without interrogation and trial, and deliberately exposed them to serious danger, including death. Official treatment of detainees at the time of arrival, statements by the judicial and security officials in this regard, lack of serious judicial investigation, and the fact that the person in charge of transferring detainees to Kahrizak still holds his judicial position, confirms the official decision to confront protesters decisively.

The death of several detainees in July of 2009, including the son of a high ranking official of the Islamic Republic, highlighted the appalling detention conditions in Kahrizak. Some officials characterized the sending of protesters, especially students, to Kahrizak as a mistake and the Islamic Republic Leader ultimately ordered the closure of the detention facility. Before television cameras, officials talked about “offering sympathy” and paying compensation to those who were sent to Kahrizak, and the Judicial Organization of the Armed Forces encouraged detainees to file complaints against Kahrizak officials. A parliamentary special committee issued a report about this issue.Yet in a letter to the Head of the Parliament on January 16, 2010, Judge Sa’id Mortazavi, the Revolutionary and Public Prosecutor of Tehran at the time, condoned the transfer of detainees to Kahrizak and rejected any wrongdoing by the Public Prosecutor’s Office.

In response to the parliamentary special committee for Kahrizak prison, the Revolutionary and Public Prosecutor of Tehran at the time rejected criticism about the lack of space in Kahrizak and the persistence of the judge in accepting them. He noted that 147 of the 380 detainees arrested in front of Tehran University on July 9 were sent to Kahrizak. He insisted that the decision was made in coordination with officials from the detention center and “the security forces of greater Tehran” who had announced Kahrizak’s capacity to hold 400 new prisoners. Mortazavi emphasized that the transfer order was legal and signed by an official of the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Tehran. “From a legal point of view,” he wrote, “since this detention center is an official and legal place, [transferring detainees] was not a violation of regulations.”

Months before these statements, security officials intimidated any who, encouraged by the Armed Forces Judicial Organization, had filed complaints against the prison officials, with the threat of re-arrest and, sometimes using violence, caused most of them to withdraw their complaints.


Election returns from Iran’s June 12th, 2009, presidential election declared Mahmoud Ahmadinejad re-elected with 62.63 percent of the vote. Following the announcement, citizens disputing these official results demonstrated in the streets. Text messaging services were disrupted starting at 11:00 p.m. on the night before the election and remained unavailable for nearly three weeks, until July 1st. On Election Day, the deputy chief of Iranian police announced a ban on any gathering of presidential candidates’ supporters throughout the country. The same evening, security forces made a “show of strength,” increasing their presence in Tehran’s public squares to “reinforce security at polling stations.” Officials at election headquarters began reporting results soon after midnight, despite a statement from the Minister of the Interior that the first returns would not be announced until after the morning prayer (around 4:00 a.m.).

Many supporters of other presidential candidates came out into the streets on June 13th, once the results were made public, to protest what they believed to be a fraudulent election. Candidates Mir Hossein Musavi, Mehdi Karubi, and Mohsen Reza’i, Ahmadinejad’s competitors in the race, contested the election, alleging many instances of fraud. They filed complaints with the Council of Guardians, the constitutional body charged with vetting candidates before elections take place and approving the results afterwards, requesting an annulment and calling for a new election. Before the Council of Guardians could review their claims, however, the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, congratulated Ahmadinejad on his re-election. In the meantime, many people active in Karubi’s and Musavi’s campaigns were arrested.

On June 15th, unprecedented demonstrations filled the streets of central Tehran, in which an estimated three million protestors participated, according to statements attributed to the mayor of Tehran. As the demonstrations were ending, paramilitary forces attacked the marchers, injuring and killing several people. To prevent such news from being broadcast, the Iranian government expelled foreign journalists from the country and banned news agencies from reporting on the events. Over the next three days, protesters took part in peaceful demonstrations in Tehran. The repression entered a new phase on June 19th after Ayatollah Khamenei’s Friday sermon, in which he announced his support for Ahmadinejad and warned protestors that they were responsible for any disorder and its consequences. Amnesty International stated that the speech gave “legitimacy to police brutality.” The next day and thereafter, police and plainclothes paramilitary groups attacked the protesters. Public gatherings of any kind were declared illegal, and police, motorcycle-riding special units wearing black uniforms and helmets, and plainclothes agents brutally enforced this restriction.

Individuals in civilian clothing, commonly referred to as plainclothes forces, are used in the Islamic Republic to disrupt political and trade union activities, student events and gatherings, electoral initiatives, and protests. Armed with sticks and clubs, and sometimes with chains, knives, batons, or firearms, they emerge when the state decides to suppress dissent. These plainclothes forces move about freely, violently beating protesters and arresting them, while the police passively look on or actively cooperate with them.

There is little information on the command structure and organization of such groups, whose members wear ordinary clothing rather than official uniforms and may be affiliated with the ministry of information, influential political groups, or the armed forces. Following the post-election demonstrations in June 2009, pictures of some plainclothes agents were posted on internet websites. Internet users helped to identify some of them and provided evidence that these individuals were affiliated with the Basij paramilitary groups, the Revolutionary Guard Corps, and state intelligence forces. On September 16, 2009, a deputy commander of the Revolutionary Guards Corps of the Province of Tehran confirmed the active and decisive role of Basij forces in the repression of the demonstrations, saying, “Basijis, through their presence in recent events, have blinded the eyes of the conspirators, and they should be appreciated… The enemies of Islam wanted to make the air dusty and to exploit the recent events, but thank God, through the enlightenment of the Honorable Leader we were victorious against this conspiracy.” He also emphasized, “The zealous youth of [the] Basij, believers in the Guardianship of the Jurisprudent, are the second and third generations of the Revolution. They have been successful in this stage and victorious on this battlefield.”

When personal property was damaged during the protests, government authorities and state-run radio and television programs accused the demonstrators of vandalism and justified the repression. At the same time, however, footage posted online showed security forces destroying and damaging property on side streets and in uncongested areas away from the protests. Moreover, in a public gathering in Tehran on October 20th, the chief of Iranian police conceded that police had destroyed and damaged property and accepted responsibility for it.

The precise number of citizens injured, killed, or disappeared in the post-election violence is not known. According to various reports, there were hundreds of victims in demonstrations throughout the country. More than seventy names have been reported. It is said that officials have threatened victims’ family members, demanding their silence and that they refrain from giving interviews. Reports also allege that returning a victim’s body to a family has been made conditional upon their agreement to change the cause of death listed on the coroner’s certificate to that of a heart attack or some other natural cause — thus foregoing the right to file a complaint — as well as the family's agreement not to hold memorial services for the loved one.

According to government statements, more than 4,000 people were arrested throughout Iran in the weeks following June 12th. Many have been held at the Kahrizak Detention Center, where prisoners’ rights and minimum hygiene standards were typically ignored. Numerous reports of violence, including the torture and rape of detainees, have been published. State reports and testimonies confirm that a number of detainees at Kahrizak died in custody due to beatings, difficult and unbearable prison conditions, and torture.

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