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‘You Can’t Punish Someone Before He Commits A Crime’

Arash Rahmanipour defends himself in court in August 2009. He was executed on January 28.
Arash Rahmanipour defends himself in court in August 2009. He was executed on January 28.
Nineteen-year-old Arash Rahmanipour was executed in Iran on January 28 after being convicted of waging war against God and attempting to overthrow the Iranian regime. The charges against Rahmanipour related to his alleged role in Iran’s postelection unrest. His father, Davoud Rahmanipour, told Radio Farda broadcaster Baktash Khamsehpour about what he called an unjust sentence against his son.

RFE/RL's Radio Farda: Was your son a member of the monarchist group called the Assembly of the Kingdom -- which, according to Iranian officials, aims to overthrow the Iranian regime?

Davoud Rahmanipour: I don’t know, because for the past year, due to some problems, I was in one of the provinces and I don’t have enough information about it.

Radio Farda: You reportedly found out about the execution of your son through the media. Officials had not informed you, is that right?

Rahmanipour: Yes, on Monday night my son contacted me and told me that we could visit him on Thursday [January 28]. We were happy and on Thursday we went to visit him at Evin Prison, but there we were told that he has been transferred to Karaj. That’s all [the prison officials] said and we believed them. On the way we realized that state television had announced that he had been hanged that morning and became a martyr.

Radio Farda: This is a very great loss for your family. Can you tell us how this has affected your family?

Rahmanipour: Naturally we’re all very upset -- we’ve lost a loved one -- but what is important is Arash’s intentions. He was seeking justice and humanity; he faced some problems because of his young age, but he was always seeking justice.

Radio Farda: Have you been given the body of your son?

Rahmanipour: Unfortunately...they haven’t returned the body of my son to the father [who feels he too has died.]

Radio Farda: Did you try to do anything to prevent the execution of your son?

Rahmanipour: The sentence was very unjust. I tried to refer to Islam and Islamic kindness and told his judge that my son didn’t do anything, he didn’t spill anybody’s blood and didn’t use a bomb, he didn’t have weapons. They said he was planning to do this and that, but he didn’t even know how the next day was going to look. Even if we accept that he intended to commit [a crime], you can’t [punish] that person before he has committed a crime.

I wrote to the judge that my son hasn’t done anything, and that you can’t sentence him based on his childish thoughts. The judge didn’t even talk to my son for two minutes, he just talked to him for about a minute and a half. I was there. He just asked him how much his father makes, and how many siblings he has.

There was another court session in which Arash made some confessions, and it’s not clear which part was true or whether it was dictated to him and was not true. Leave it to the future and history and awakening consciences.

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