Safar Angouti,Mohammad Reza Haddadi and Amir Amrolahi at Risk of Execution
Safar Angooti, Date of Birth September 20th 1989, 17 years old at the time of the crime
Following his arrest, Safar described the incident as follows:
“My friends Mohammad, Mostafa, Cyrus, Esmail, and I were taking a stroll on Taleghani Street between 7:30 pm to 8:00 pm. After hanging around for a few minutes, one of my friends suggested that we go to Negarestan Street. When we arrived at the end of the alley, we saw two people standing there. One of them, the victim (Mehdi), was talking to Fatemeh, the girl I loved. The other one, named Moshtaba, was a friend of the victim. As soon as Fatemeh saw me, she hid and then left the area. Mehdi walked towards me and asked me what I wanted, to which I replied that I had just come to say hello. He told me to get on his motorcycle, as he wanted to take me somewhere. I was not afraid, so I got on. After a short distance, he stopped the bike. He looked drunk. He told me I had a lot of nerve, and then he insulted me. We then got into a fight. My friends separated us. I was very afraid, so I walked home and took a knife, which I then put in my belt. I left my house and walked towards a friend’s house. As I was walking, I heard the sound of an approaching motorcycle behind me. When I turned around, I saw that Mehdi was speeding towards me. In my fright, I pulled out the knife, without intending to stab him. I told him to stop and asked him what he wanted of me, but he did not stop and continued towards me. I don’t know what happened and didn’t realize that the knife had struck him, but, in my bad luck, the knife had caught his collar and made him lose his balance. Mehdi, having lost control of the bike, collided with a nearby parked van, causing the blade of the knife to penetrate his neck. I did not know what to do, so I fled the scene of the accident. I ran into an abandoned dump and stayed there until midnight. After that I went to Fatemeh’s house and told her father that I had stabbed someone because of his daughter. He told me to flee. I went to Saderat Street, where I saw a group of my friends and got some money from them. From there I went to the city of Ghom, where I went into the shrine of Masoumeh. My conscience was killing me, so, after talking to God, I decided to give myself in. I returned home and went to the police precinct with my father, where I surrendered myself.”
On April 3rd, 2007, at 9 pm, the emergency unit of the Karaj Police received a phone call reporting a fight in Behasht Street, which is located in the Nazar-Abad neighborhood of the Hashtgerd municipality. According to the report, a male named Mehdi Rezai had been wounded in his neck. A day later, Safar Angouti, after being on the run, declared to the Police that he had stabbed Mehdi during a fight. He claimed that, because of his own negligence, his knife had hit Mehdi’s neck. Following Mehdi’s collision with a nearby parked car, the knife had then penetrated his neck.
Safar said that his love for the 14 year old Fatemeh was his motive. He claimed that he engaged the victim on the day of the crime because he saw him speaking to the girl he loved. Fatemeh was 14 years old, and Safar had fallen in love with her after seeing her a few times.
Regrettably, the fate of these two young men was changed because of a childish fight which resulted in death for one of them and imprisonment for the other. The honorable judges of the 71st District of the Tehran criminal court, Messier Aziz-Mohammadi, Hosseini, Soleimani-Nia and Salari, however, did not take 3 major factors into consideration in their final ruling: 1 – the absence of premeditation 2 – Safar’s age at the time of the crime, and, finally, 3 – Mehdi’s collision with the parked van that resulted in his death. Therefore, my client was found guilty of murder and sentenced to death (a life for a life), but he should have been tried for manslaughter. The ruling was sent to the 10th District of the Supreme Court after an appeal was filed in relation to the three aforementioned points. In a judgment that consisted of three sentences, the presiding judges Messier Sahebolzamani and Majdi confirmed the verdict and sent the file to the enforcement branch. As of today, and against all legal norms, the head of the Judiciary has endorsed the ruling. Per his order, Safar Angouti will have the same fate as Behnoud Shojaee and will be hanged on October 21st, 2009 at 4 am at Evin prison in Tehran.
Safar Angouti was born to a poor family and he has two siblings. He is currently held at Rajai-Shahr prison in Karaj. His only hope now is an order by the Judiciary or the consent of the victim’s family to stop his execution. He has been to gallows twicem and each time his execution has been stopped by the order of the judiciary.
Mohammad Reza Haddadi, Date of Birth: March 17th, 1988, 15 Years Old at the Time his Arrest
In a recent visit to the enforcement branch of the Shiraz Tribunal, Mohammad Reza Haddadi’s father has been told that the branch has ordered the Shiraz prison to carry out his son’s sentence. During his last visit to the branch he was told that the hanging would take place in the coming days at Adel-Abad Prison in Shiraz. I, as the defense lawyer, have not received notice of the date of his execution. In the past, one of my clients, Behnam Zarei, was hanged without my knowledge.
On August 21st, 2003, Hossein Rahmat filed a missing person report with the Kazeroun police for his father, Mohammad-Bagher, who had not returned after leaving on a trip to Shiraz 2 days prior. 9 days later, on August 30th, 2003, he informed the authorities that his father’s car was found in Fath-Abad, a village near Kazaeroun. During the police investigation, a man named
On October 12th, 2003, a man named Karim Haddadi was arrested. He said in the deposition, ”… I, along with Mehdi Sasani, Taghi Haddadi and Mohammad, were waiting on the road next to Emam-Zadeh Sayed Hossein. At about midnight we saw an orange sport Paykan approaching. Mohammad Ghorbani and Taghi Haddad both made a sign and the car stopped. We got in the car. When we passed Ghaemieh on the way to Shiraz, Mohammad asked the driver if he would agree to take another passenger in return for more money. The driver agreed. During the ride we asked the driver to make a stop so we could relieve ourselves, and he stopped the car on the side of the road. Mohammad and I went down the hill; Mehdo and Taghi stayed with the driver. As the driver was pouring water into the radiator of the car, Taghi hit him on the head with a rock. The driver fell to the ground. When Mohammad and I returned, we all started beating the driver all over his body. We then put his body in the trunk and drove until we reached Hakim-Bashi and Roshnabad. While we were driving we realized that the driver was still alive and was making noises from inside the trunk. We drove to a side road and Taghi stopped the car. When we opened the trunk the old man was still alive. Mehdi Sasani hit him twice with a bat, and the old man fell to the ground. Mohammad and Taghi then strangled him with plastic wire. Taghi suggested that we burn the body. We brought some gasoline and set the body on fire. We then dumped the body in a ditch and covered it with leaves.”
During further investigations, my client, Mohammad Reza Haddadi, who was 15 ½ years old at the time, was arrested. In the initial questioning he claimed that he had strangled the victim with a plastic wire. On October 30th, 2003, in the arraignment, my client agreed to the charges and confessed to having committed the crime.
A few days after the hearing Mohammad Reza’s mother went to visit him in prison. Mohammad Reza asked her if she had received the money. After his mother confirmed that she had not, Mohammad Reza realized that he had been played by the other defendants. On November 4th, 2003, in a letter, he informed the court officials that he agreed to accept the charges in return for money after he was deceived by the other defendants, who were older and more mature than him. He claimed that he was innocent and had not been a party to the crime.
In the end Mohammad Reza’s claims and his denial were not investigated, and on January 6th, 2004, based only on his initial confession, the court found him guilty of murder. He was sentenced to death on charges of murder, 15 years of prison for taking part in kidnapping (Article 621 of Islamic Criminal Law) and 1 year of prison for hiding the body of the victim
The defendants appealed the ruling, and, on June 25th, 2005, the case was sent to District 42 of the Supreme Court. Their appeal was rejected by the court, who agreed with the initial ruling.
Since the ruling, new evidence has been introduced to the court, including the confession of the other defendants, who have all admitted my client’s innocence. Based on Article 18, we have asked for an investigation of the new evidence, as well as called for a new trial. District 3 of the Supreme Court has denied our request. If they valued human life, they would have ordered a thorough investigation of the case. Mohammad Reza has claimed repeatedly that he has been lured by the other defendants, who promised to pay money to his family. One of the co-defendants had promised to help him marry his cousin, whom he loved, if he confessed to committing the murder. Mohammad Reza was a minor and lacked maturity of thought. He comes from a low income family and loved the girl. He finally gave in and agreed to their demands.
The young man dies a thousand times everyday. He faces the nightmare of death despite being innocent.
Amir Amirolahi, Date of Birth: November 1st, 1989, 17 years old at the time of his arrest
On November 19th, 2005, at about 11:30 am, Amir and a group of his friends (Hassan Mohammadi and Ali Salmani) were hanging out in front of a bakery on Azadegan Street in Shiraz, when the victim, Mohsen Kazemi, and his friend Javad Vaziri showed up. The teenagers got into a fight after the victim and one of Amir’s friends started to stare at each other. Amir decided to intervene and asked his friend Ali Salamani to lend him his knife in case he had to defend himself. He also wanted to scare the other group with the knife and make them run away. Apparently the victim started to beat Amir, who was very young, for no reason. Amir, who was provoked, showed the victim his knife to scare him, but the victim stubbornly stayed and hit Amir in the face. Amir retaliated by hitting him back with the knife handle to make him go away, but the victim did not give in. By that time, everyone was involved in the fighting. When the victim went toward Amir to hit him again, Amir pointed the knife at his assailant. The knife then suddenly penetrated the right side of the victim’s chest.
Amir, frightened, fled the scene and told his father about the accident on the same day it occured. He and his father went to the authorities, where Amir turned himself in. At the time, Amir did not have any idea that four out of the five judges would sentence him to death without any consideration for his age or his state of mind.
Anyhow, the judges of the 5th District of the Shiraz criminal tribunal found him guilty, and their ruling was upheld by District 27 of the Supreme Court. The case was then referred to the enforcement branch and was endorsed by the head of the judiciary, who decided that the sentence should be carried out. The young man was only 16 at the time of the crime. When
tAmir’s father went to the enforcement branch recently, he was told that the death sentence of his son would be carried out in the next few days.
There are serious grounds for objection to the death sentence, and the ruling is filled with ambiguous points:
1- As one of the experts of the district court testified, Amir was 16 years old at the time of the crime and lacked judgment to exercise self-control when faced with problematic situations. The opinion of the expert should have been taken into consideration by the court. The court should have ordered an examination by medical experts to find out if Amir was legally mature at the time of the crime. The following facts must also be taken into consideration. Islamic Criminal Law does not define the age of maturity in criminal cases. Maturity is only defined from a religious perspective. Furthermore, considering that there are other parts of the same law where minors have been defined criminally not responsible as a result of their age – which, in my client’s case, should be an advantage – the request for an examination of my client’s maturity by experts should have been taken seriously. Instead, the ruling was issued hurriedly the same day that the court expert had testified about Amir’s age. This is an important defense argument and can have a significant impact on the outcome.
2- The financial situation of Amir and his family had made it impossible for them to hire a professional defense lawyer; therefore, they had to use the services of a court appointed lawyer. As a result of his old age and his illness, the court appointed lawyer could not sufficiently argue the shortcomings and inconsistencies in the prosecutor’s case. Amir’s emotional and psychological state often makes him lose control of his acts. During these nervous breakdowns he commits acts that are out of his control. Thus, it would have been essential to his defense case to have him examined by the experts of the ME’s office, who could have given an expert opinion on Amir’s periodic sessions of insanity. Additionally, he was treated with tranquilizers while he was detained in the juvenile detention center. All the documents relating to his treatment are available. This is another important fact that was not taken into consideration. The ruling remains ambiguous when it comes to my client’s psychological state. Although Amir has expressed remorse for his act, the fact remains that he never intended to commit it in the first place. He committed an act that was out of his control without any prior motive or premeditation.
3- As is clear from the testimony of different witnesses, when the victim fell to the ground, many people were present at the scene. However, none of them made any effort to take the victim to a medical facility. The ambulance arrived at the scene 30 minutes later and took the victim to the hospital, where he later died. This brings us to an important point: by the time the victim was taken to the hospital, he had already lost a lot of blood and was unconscious. The hospital to which he was taken was not well equipped, otherwise, with proper medical help, he would have survived. The honorable judges and court
4- Article 206(B) of Islamic Criminal Law defines premeditated murder as: “when a person intentionally commits a premeditated act that results in the death of another person.” All the evidence and contents in the case against Amir prove that he did not intend nor premeditate his act. Had he intended to kill the victim, he would have stabbed him in the heart. The tragedy happened when Amir, faced with the stubbornness of the victim, lost control and unknowingly hit him. Amir ended up in prison and another family lost their son.