At dawn on Wednesday, September 8, Ali Mardan Boland Gerami, was executed in Yasuj Prison.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Gerami was sentenced to death for murder based on “Qasameh”, an accepted form of proof of guilt within Iran’s legal system based solely on relatives’ oaths.
Mr. Gerami was sentenced to death for murdering his wife, and, while the court did not find adequate evidence, it made the ruling based on the swearing of the wife’s family.
Iran ranks first in the world in citizen executions per capita, according to international organizations. The Statistics and Publication Center of the Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRA) reported that between January 1 and December 20 of 2020, at least 236 citizens were executed.
One of these citizens was executed publicly, and two were juvenile offenders. An additional 95 citizens were sentenced to death. According to the same report, more than 72% of executions in Iran are not reported by the government or the judiciary, which human rights organizations call “secret” executions.
Ali Mardan Boland Gerami, a citizen of Yasuj, is on the verge of execution despite a clear lack of sufficient evidence.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Gerami’s sentence is based only on “Qassameh”. Qassameh is an accepted form of proof of guilt within Iran’s legal system based solely on relatives’ oaths.
Mr. Gerami was sentenced to death for murdering his wife while the court did not find adequate evidence, it made the ruling based on the swearing of the family of the wife.
After filing the appeal request, the case was referred to a court of equal rank where the death sentence was confirmed. The Supreme Court also upheld the sentence. Mr. Gerami’s case has been transferred to the Judgment Enforcement Unit and now he is on the verge of execution.
“Six days ago, the death sentence was supposed to carry out, but the family was able to get more time,” an informed source said. “This opportunity will end tomorrow and he may be executed at any moment.”
Swearing (Qasameh) is one way, within the Islamic jurisprudence and criminal law in Iran, to prove crimes related to murder and physical injuries when there is no enough evidence against the suspect. In case of premeditated murder, the relatives of a plaintiff must bring 50 relatives to the court to swear an oath that the defendant is guilty. The number is 25 for unpremeditated murder.
Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – The Iranian Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence for Saleh Shariati, a prisoner in Adel Abad of Shiraz who was convicted of murder as a minor via “Qassameh,” one of Islamic Penal Code’s most tenuous methods of establishing guilt.
In the absence of sufficient evidence, a judge strongly persuaded of the defendant’s guilt can rule for conviction by Qassameh if enough of the victim’s male family members indict the defendant under oath. In Shariati’s case, 57 of the victim’s male family members — none of whom are legally required to have witnessed the crime — sealed his fate with their sworn testimonies.
Authorities reportedly extracted a confession from Shariati under the duress of torture. The Abdorrahman Boroumand Center, a US-based nonprofit dedicated to promoting human rights in Iran, recently published audio of a man identified as Shariati speaking on tape. The man’s voice can be heard recalling five years’ worth of forcibly extracted confessions.
“Had I committed a crime, I wouldn’t have stayed at the same address […],” Shariati’s recording continued. “I would have fled… I’ve been in limbo for five years now. Every day they have a different reason. It’s become unbearable. I’m thinking of harming myself [while I still have the chance].”
Initially barred from seeing his detained son, Shariati’s father believed he had been tortured when, visiting him in prison for the first time, he caught sight of suspect wounds on his son’s body.
The alleged murder took place in 2012 when the body of Rasoul Bahramnian was found at the bottom of a well whose entrance was left unsecured. Shariati, then 16, was the last known person to see Bahramian alive and alleged that he had fallen into the well. Authorities zeroed in on him as a murder suspect sixteen months later.