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

Ma’sumeh Qal’ehchehi

About

Age: 32
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Married

Case

Date of Killing: January 29, 2009
Location of Killing: Rafsanjan, Kerman Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Age at time of offense: 23

About this Case

News of the execution of Ms. Ma’sumeh Qal’ehchehi was published on the weblog of Varesh on January 30, 2009. Additional information was taken from the Roozonline website on February 1, 2009, the We-Change website on January 28, 2009, and the E’temad newspaper on September 10, 2008.

Ms. Qal’ehchehi was 32 years old and married. She was educated and an accounting student in her senior year. She liked sports, was very kind and polite, and well-liked.

Ms. Qal’ehchehi was physically and mentally disabled. She suffered from seizure, shortness of breath, and psychosis. She felt suffocation in certain conditions.

At the age of 20, Ms. Qal’ehchehi was forced to marry her mother’s cousin, who was jobless and inadequately educated. After two years of engagement, she began her married life. Ms. Qal’ehchehi did not love her husband and had no sexual relationship with him during her eight months of marriage. Her case was related to the killing of her husband during a stressful incident.

Arrest and detention

There are contradictory reports regarding the date and circumstances of Ms. Qal’ehchehi’s arrest. According to two sources, the incident and arrest occurred in 1996, and, according to another source, in 2000. Ms. Qal’ehchehi’s attorney stated that she went to judicial authorities, explained the incident, and confessed to the unintentional killing of her husband.

Ms. Qal’ehchehi was detained in Rafsanjan Prison for 9, 11, or 12 years, according to various sources. According to Mr. Abdolsamad Khoramshahi, her attorney, she made handicrafts in prison. She always worked and provided for her prison costs by working. Ms. Qal’ehchehi had a difficult life in a 12 square meter room shared with other women prisoners with various charges. Her attorney quoted her: “One night they bring a woman with her four children, another night a woman with addiction, another time a mental patient, or a sick woman. One with a bad temper and the other a criminal…” (Roozonline website, We-Change website, and the E’temad newspaper)

Trial

No detailed information is available on Ms. Qal’ehchehi’s trial.

Charges

The charge brought against Ms. Qal’ehchehi was announced as “murdering her husband.” (E’temad newspaper)

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

Ms. Qal’ehchehi went to judicial authorities and explained that the death of her husband had been accidental, caused by a whetstone blow to his temple. His body, which had been buried in the couple’s yard in Anar, Yazd, was then recovered. (We-Change website and the E’temad newspaper)

Defense

According to Ms. Qal’ehchehi, on the day of the incident she was working in the kitchen when suddenly her husband grabbed her from behind for fun as he usually did. But Ms. Qal’ehchehi was shocked and felt that she could not breathe. She struggled but could not release herself and felt suffocation. She grabbed the first thing she could get a hold of on the counter and hit him on the head. Unfortunately, the whetstone hit her husband’s temple and caused his death.  

Mr. Abdolsamad Khoramshahi, Ms. Qal’ehchehi’s attorney, was not present during the trial. They talked over the phone several times; however, he had limited time to defend her. Therefore, she received her signed power of attorney by mail and mailed her case documents to her attorney.

According to Ms. Qal’ehchehi’s attorney, she did not intend to commit a crime and did not plan it. He concentrated her defense on manslaughter. In addition, a stone is not considered a murder tool. Ms. Qal’ehchehi could not see her back, and hitting her husband’s temple was accidental. She only intended to release herself from the position she was in.

Expressing her intense fear, Ms. Qal’ehchehi stated: “In that moment, all I could think of was what my husband’s family could do to me if they found out and that I wouldn’t even make it to the police and trial. For this reason, the first thing that came to my mind was to escape until things got settled. But after a while, I went to the police, confessed, and explained what happened. Because I did not plan or intend to kill my husband.”

Ms. Qal’ehchehi’s attorney stated that she was suffering from seizure, shortness of breath, and psychosis. Therefore, he asked the court to send her to forensics for psychological analysis. In addition, Ms. Qal’ehchehi’s family provided documents from a mental hospital in Zahedan indicating that she had attempted suicide because of severe psychosis and had been hospitalized for a month. (Roozonline website, We-Change website)

Judgment

Ms. Ma’sumeh Qal’ehchehi was condemned to death. The forensics report confirmed her seizure and psychosis, but indicated that her illness did not override her will. According to the existing information, the Head of the Judiciary in Rafsanjan objected to the death penalty sentence against Ms. Qal’ehchehi and stated that it had been manslaughter. However, Branch 20 of the Supreme Court confirmed the ruling issued by the primary court and ruled for the death penalty.

On the day before her execution, Ms. Qal’ehchehi’s attorney went to Rafsanjan Prison and visited his client for the first time. He contacted the Public Prosecutor from the prison to suspend the enforcement of the sentence. According to Mr. Khoramshahi, all local judicial authorities and prison officials tried to stop the sentence and cooperated with the defendant, her attorney, and her family.

Efforts by Ms. Qal’ehchehi’s attorney, her family, and prison and judicial authorities to convince her husband’s family to pardon her were unsuccessful. Ms. Qal’ehchehi was hanged in the presence of her family, the victim’s family, the Public Prosecutor of Rafsanjan, the prison head, her attorney, and several prison officials at the Rafsanjan Prison yard the morning of January 29, 2009. (Roozonline) 

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