Iran: The last executioner of children

January 1, 2011

Iran: The last executioner of children

Since the executions, some sources have said that Ayaz Marhoni and Mahmoud Asgari were a couple who were executed for engaging in consensual sexual acts with each other, and possibly with the 13-year-old boy. Other sources dismiss this account.

Amnesty International is not in a position to make a judgement about the true reason for the execution. It is denied research access to Iran and therefore could not meet those close to the case. No court documents were ever made available, and it is believed that the trial was closed. The case, and the controversy surrounding it, demonstrates the difficulties in gathering and verifying information on Iran.

Rostam Tajik
Rostam Tajik, a 20-year-old Afghan national, was executed in public in Esfahan on 10 December 2005. The previous day the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions had called on the Iranian authorities not to proceed with the execution. Hamshahri newspaper described the scene:

"The convict, an Afghan called Rostam, was tied hand and foot, and walked in between two officers, with shivering legs… The audience, by applauding, asked for the execution to take place. A young doctor checked Rostam and after confirming his health, announced that the accused is ready for execution… Two officers took him to the place of execution. They put the rope around his neck and he was executed".51Rostam Tajik had been sentenced to qesas by Branch 9 of the General Court of Esfahan for the murder of a woman, Nafiseh Rafi’i, in May 2001 when he was 16 years old.

Majid Segound
Majid Segound (or Sagvand) was 17 when he was executed in public in Khorramabad, capital of Lorestan province, on 13 May 2006, along with an unnamed 20-year-old man. According to Iranian press reports, the two had abducted, raped and murdered a 12-year-old boy, Kamran, in April 2006. Majid Segound and the unnamed man reportedly confessed to the crime during interrogation. The two were tried in an extraordinary session – an accelerated process – and were executed just one month after the murder.

Mohammad Mousavi
Mohammad Mousavi was reportedly hanged on 22 April 2007 in Shiraz when he was aged 19. His family are said not to have been notified of his execution. According to reports, Mohammad Mousavi was sentenced to qesas for a murder committed when he was 16.

Sa’id Qanbar Zahi
Sa’id Qanbar Zahi was hanged in Zahedan prison on 27 May 2007. A member of Iran’s Baluchi minority, he was sentenced to death at the age of 17 along with six other Baluchi men in March 2007. Information provided to Amnesty International suggests that the seven may have been arrested because of their family ties to those suspected of involvement in blowing up a bus carrying members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps on 14 February 2007 in Zahedan, in which at least 14 people were killed.

According to media reports, Sa’id Qanbar Zahi and the six others all "confessed" on Iranian state television to a number of crimes that allegedly took place in Sistan-Baluchistan province, including attacks and carjackings. The "confessions" linked an Iranian Baluchi armed opposition group, Jondallah, also known as the Iranian Peoples’ Resistance Movement (Jonbesh-e Moqavemat-e Mardom-e Iran), to these crimes, and to the attack on the bus.52 Unconfirmed reports suggest that those who "confessed" were tortured, including by having bones in their hands and feet broken, by being "branded" with a red-hot iron, and by having an electric drill applied to their limbs, shredding their muscles.

According to Iranian state television, Sa’id Qanbar Zahi was tried on 11 March 2007. The report said that he was tried in open court attended by the families of his alleged victims. He was accused of murder, participation in a bombing in December 2006 and of guarding hostages in Pakistan in 2006.