Category Archives: death row

Abdolreza Ghanbari’s death sentence commuted to 10 years

Committee of Human Rights Reporters – The sentence for Abolreza Ghanbari that had been commuted to 15 years in prison exile at Borazjan was reduced again at the Appellate Court Branch 54 to 10 years in exile.

According to CHRR, Abdolreza Ghanbari is among those arrested on December 27, 2009 (Ashura88) in his place of work after the massive street protests. He was subjected to severe torture during his interrogations and unexpectedly put on trial on January 30, 2010 without the knowledge of his family or lawyer. He was charged with “moharebeh” (enmity with God) stemming from alleged relations with MEK (Mujahedin party) and sentenced to death.

Abdolreza Ghanbari has 16 years of teaching experience in Persian literature and has written research papers in this field. He has spent the last 3.5 years behind bars mostly on death row. Ghanbari is a resident of the poverty-stricken Pakdasht County where he was a teacher at a local school.

According to his sister during a phone call from her residence in Paris, Abdolreza Ghanbari who is father to a daughter and a son was first put on trial at Branch 15 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court presided by Judge Salavati and sentenced to death. He was accused of “participating in the street protests on Ashura,” and “contact with enemy groups.” During his short trial the evidence presented were “suspicious emails,” and “contact with a media outlet outside the country.” On May 10, 2011, Abdolreza Ghanbari’s death sentence was upheld by Branch 36 of Tehran Appeals Court presided by Judge Zargar and a request for a pardon was denied on February 28 2012. At that time there were fears of his imminent execution. After extensive efforts on the part of his family, in the past year the death sentence for Abdolreza Ghanbari was commuted to 15 years in exile at Barzjan prison. Branch 54 of the Appellate Court recently reduced his prison sentence to 10 year behind bars without exile. Abodoreza Ghanbari is serving his sentence at Evin prison.


کاهش حکم عبدالرضا قنبری معلم زندانی از اعدام به ۱۰ سال حبس


Abdolreza Ghanbari

Letter by a number of death row prisoners at Rajai Shahr prison to the head of the judiciary

CHRR – A group of prisoners at Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj wrote a letter to Ayatollah Larjani, head of the Ministry of Justice. The letter, which was provided to CHRR, is below.

With respect and regards

We decided to write you a letter hundreds of times to tell you of our grievances and the hardships we endure, but we knew that the letters would never reach your hands. Therefore a group of us prisoners out of desperation feel obligated to send you our message through the news media.

Mr. Larijani,

For years during our incarceration we have been witness to our dearest friends being executed. We have spent Wednesday nights in tears and prayers. Last week Behjat Kermzadeh and Sogand Jahani were transferred from the women’s ward at Rajai Shahar for execution. By the grace of god and your orders a moratorium was issued and the executions did not take place. The stay of execution was granted to Behjat in prison but Sogand was taken to at the gallows and witnessed six men being executed. Now our 23-year-old Sogand looks like she is 40 years old – she aged 20 years overnight.

Honorable Mr. Larijani,

Informed sources say that this coming Wednesday, 6 female prisoners will be taken to the gallows and one of them is the 28 year old Sahar Mehabadi. Because they could not afford lawyers, she and Sogand Jahani were assigned public defenders who did not prepare or present adequate representation in court.

Honorable Mr. Larijani,

If you conduct a review of these cases you will see that these two women killed their spouses in self-defense without pre meditation. We desperately plead with your Excellency to grant a stay of execution for these two women.

The worried in waiting,

Raheleh Zokayi and a group of death row prisoners


Committee of Human Rights Reporters

Stop executions

Five death row Ahwazi Arab prisoners have made phone contact with family

Committee of Human Rights Reporters – On Sunday January 27, five Ahwazi Arab death row prisoners contacted their family by phone from Karoun prison in Ahvaz.

According to news obtained by CHRR, the 5 minority prisoners who had been moved to an undisclosed location on January 17th have now been transferred back to Karoun prison. There was no information on the whereabouts and fate of the five prisoners on death row for 10 days after they were moved from the prison.

In a short phone contact with their family on Sunday, the Arab prisoners said that they have been transferred back to Karoun prison and that their physical state is fine.

The 5 men named Hashem Shabanijed, poet, blogger, teacher of Arabic literature with a masters degree in political science from Ahwaz University; Hadi Rashed, M.A. in applied chemistry and a chemistry teacher; Mohammad Ali Amourinejad, blogger, student activist and former member of the Islamic Society of Isfahan University of Technology; Jaber Alboshoka, computer science major and private in the military; Mokhtar Alboshoka, worker at a stone mining company, are Arab Ahwazi minority members from the southern province of Khuzestan.

On July 7, 2012, Branch 2 of the Ahwaz Revolutionary Court presided by judge MohammadMousavi handed down the death sentence for these five civil activists on the charges of “propaganda against the regime,” “acting against national security,” and “moharebeh” (enmity with God). The country’s Supreme Court later upheld the death penalty.


Five death row Ahwazi Arab prisoners have made phone contact with family

Ahwazi Arab prisoners

A representative from the Supreme Judicial Council met with death row prisoners Zanyar and Loghman Moradi

Committee of Human Rights Reporters – A representative from the Supreme Judicial Council visited Rajai Shahr prison and met with 2 Kurdish prisoners on death row, Zanyar Moradi and Loghman Moradi about their case.

Eghbal Moradi, Zanyar’s father said in an interview with CHRR, “Unfortunately I do not have precise information regarding what transpired at the meeting but we found out per news from Tehran that unfortunately the Council has rejected a stay and the execution can take place at any time.”

The father of Zanyar Moradi said, “This past week there have been talks of the execution being imminent and unfortunately this is a reality. During the 42 months that Zanyar has been imprisoned he has been deprived of any visitation. Only once when he was first detained and before the charges against him were announced, his grandparents were able to visit with him. Loghman’s family was able to have 2 brief visitations during this time but we were not able to see Zanyar and we have not even had the right to a phone call.”

“When I read the letter Zanyar had written from prison, since I myself have spent a lot of time in the prisons of the Islamic Republic, I was not at all surprised by his sentiment. I knew that at any moment they could commit any injustice they desire towards my son. What Zenyar has written is very true. The abuse and torture he described is not surprising and the authorities do as they please. These boys were severely tortured and as they said they are willing to disclose details of what was done to them in a fair trial.”

Eghbal Moradi said, “I sincerely thank every single political and human rights activist from all over the world who has protested against this unjust death sentence for Zanyar and Loghman and I am hopeful that our efforts will have a positive result.”

CHRR asked Eghbal Moradi what request he had of the judicial authorities to which he responded that those in charge never listen or care about these predicaments. “The authorities have for the past 32 years heard the cries of the prisoners’ mothers, fathers and loved ones, yet the situation has worsened. Every time those in charge come under pressure, the prisoners pay the price. I have no expectation from the authorities; if they have any humanity they must hear our cries and know that this is not just my voice. This is the voice of all the people of this nation who are saying ‘enough is enough, stop this injustice, enough killing, enough executions.’”

A representative from the Supreme Judicial Council met with death row prisoners Zanyar and Loghman Moradi

Zanyar Moradi

Risk of imminent execution of Hamid Ghassemi-Shall; death sentence sent to the Enforcement Unit

Madyar Samienejad –  The request for a new hearing for death row Hamid Ghassemi-Shall was denied and his death sentence has been sent to the enforcement unit at Evin prison. This prisoner is now in grave danger of imminent execution.

After the decision to implement the death sentence, Evin prison officials unexpectedly contacted Ghassemi’s family and instructed them to come to the prison to see him.

I spoke with Hamid Ghassemi-Shall’s sister about this unexpected demand for visitation. “Today we were granted an unplanned visitation. We were planning on going for visitation on Monday as usual but they insisted that we go see Hamid today (Saturday) in prison. My mother and I went to Evin prison today. They took us to the Office for Implantation of Sentences and brought Hamid there also. We were told that Hamid’s execution order had been sent to the Office for the Implementation of Sentences. Mr. Khodabakhshi, the official in charge of the implementation of sentences stated that the decision has been finalized and will be implemented.”

The sister of the prisoner who is mourning their other sister who passed away a few days ago continued. “I don’t know what to do anymore. I beg you to help us in any way you can. We are all in shock and so is Hamid. When we went to the prison we had to tell Hamid the news of his sister’s death. After I shared this terrible news with Hamid, he was taken to a corner and told by officials that his execution order would be implemented.”

Hamid Ghassemi is an Iranian-Canadian citizen who was charged by the Revolutionary Court with “spying and having relations with the Mojahedin Khalgh Organization (MKO)” and sentenced to death. Last year Hamid’s death sentence was commuted on the eve of the date of his execution. Now since a year has gone by judicial authorities have made another request for execution and Hamid’s life is in danger again. His court dossier has been sent to the Enforcement Unit of Evin prison and the death penalty can be carried out at any moment.”

Hamid Gassemmi traveled to Iran in 2008 to visit his family. While he was visiting the country, his brother Alborz Ghassemi was arrested on espionage charges. Hamid was also arrested two weeks later in May 2008 as he was attempting to follow up on his brother’s case at the judiciary offices of the military forces. When he was incarcerated he spent the first 18 months in solitary confinement.

The brothers were not allowed any phone calls or visitation with family during the first 8 months of their incarceration; they were deprived of their right to an attorney and subjected to severe torture.

Hamid’s brother, Alborz Ghassemi a naval officer died in prison on May 2010. Officials claimed cancer was the cause of death while his family said Alborz had never had any previous health issues.

In her conversation with me Hamid Ghassemi’s sister added, “No matter what we did to find a solution to this situation nothing happened. Mr. Jaafari, head of Branch 31 of the country’s Supreme Court told us that he read the evidence presented in the court dossier and even though he agrees Hamid Ghassemi is innocent, did no commit any crime and does not deserve to receive such a punishment, Mr. Jaafari said there was nothing he could do or say about it. I told him that answering a human being is much easier than having to answer to god. Despite this I don’t understand why he is staying silent.”

Hamid Gassemi’s sister continued. ”The reason he gave me for not accepting another hearing is that a request had been made in the past and rejected. For this reason they will not do anything despite knowing that no crime has been committed and they refuse to give any answers.”

Hamid Ghassemi-Shall

Death sentence of prisoner Saeed Malekpour authorized to take place

Human Rights House of Iran – The death penalty case file for computer programmer Saeed Malekpour has been sent to the enforcement department that carries out the execution.

During the past few days the lawyers for imprisoned cyber activist Saeed Malekpour went to the Revolutionary Court and the Supreme Court to follow up on their client’s case, and learned that Saeed’s case file has been sent to the enforcement department that carries out the execution.

Human Rights House of Iran reports that Saeed’s case file was transferred for enforcement despite that fact that Saeed and his lawyer’s were never notified of his death sentence, which was imposed for the second time by the Supreme Court.

In November 2011, Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court that had already handed down the death sentence for Saeed Malekpour imposed an additional sentence of 7.5 years behind bars. After the first court session, the Supreme Court struck down the death sentence, but Judge Moghiseh reinstated the verdict a second time. Branch 32 of the Supreme Court conducted a review and upheld the ruling without any follow up on the errors and defects in the case.

Malekpour has spent a total of 11 months between solitary confinement and cells with very few people in Ward 2A of Evin prison with is controlled by the IRG (Revolutionary Guards) and is not under the supervision of the prison corps.

When he was first arrested, Saeed spent 6 months in solitary confinement where he endured severe mental duress and physical torture. To date, this engineer and web programmer has spent 3 years and 4 months behind bars.

During the past few weeks while keeping Saeed in solitary confinement, interrogating agents from the Cyber Intelligence Unit of the IRG attempted to pressure and coerce Saeed into partaking in another false televised confession, which he refused.

Saeed Malekpour, born in 1975, is an engineering graduate who received his undergraduate degree from the prestigious Sharif University. He worked in Iran at a research center and as an inspector. He was accepted to Canada’s Victoria University and had moved there for his graduate studies and was a resident of Canada before his arrest.

Saeed had lived in Canada since 2008 and while working as a developer he designed a program that would allow his clients to upload pictures. Per his lawyer and wife, this program was used in an adult content website without Saeed’s knowledge or permission. Saeed confirmed this in a letter he wrote from behind bars.

Human Rights House of Iran

Saeed Maleki

Javad Lari’s death sentence replaced with 2 years behind bars, possibility of his imminent release

Human Rights House of Iran – According to his lawyer Manijeh Mohammadi, the lower court had received this case for further review and handed down the new sentence of 2 years imprisonment.

Javad Lari’s lawyer Manijeh Mohmmadi said in an interview with Human Rights House of Iran that the Supreme Court recently overturned the death sentence and sent it back to the lower court, resulting in the new sentence of 2 years in prison.

Mr. Lari’s lawyer who has been representing him for over 2 years while he has been behind bars with a death sentence, said that her client could be released within the next 24 hours.

On September 16, 2009, agents from the Intelligence Ministry arrested Javad Lari at his workplace. On July 2010, Judge Salavati presiding over Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court sentenced Mr. Lari to death.

After Branch 32 of the Supreme Court overturned the ruling, Judge Salavati presiding over Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court re-issued Javad Lari’s death sentence and the case went back to the Supreme Court a second time for further review. The Supreme Court struck down the death penalty again and a lower court reduced the sentence to 2 years behind bars.

The charges against Javad Lari stemmed from a visit he made to Iraq in 2008 in an unsuccessful attempt to visit some of his old friends. This trip prompted the authorities to accuse him of being connected with the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO), which Mr. Lari and his lawyers have vehemently denied.

Human Rights House of Iran

Javad Lari