His son, now twelve years old, is left wondering why his father was killed by Iranian authorities. Mahmoud Barati's family members say he was completely innocent.
Iran Human Rights, September 10 2015: The death sentences for Mahmoud Barati and ten other prisoners were reportedly carried out at Ghezel Hesar Prison on Monday September 7.
Before his arrest in 2006, Mahmoud Barati was an elementary school teacher and father to a three-year-old son. He made ends meet by working a second job as a taxi driver. His son, now twelve years old, is left wondering why his father was killed by Iranian authorities.
Mahmoud's brother, Ahmad Barati, was arrested first. In the city of Robat Karim, Iranian authorities charged Ahmad with possessing and trafficking half a Kilogram of crack. Fearing that Ahmad would be executed, Mahmoud and his mother and sister traveled to the Tehran region to do whatever they could to help. After several months of pursuing Ahmad's case, the three of them were also arrested by authorities and accused of drug possession and eventually trafficking for Mahmoud.
A Barati family member who asked to be anonymous tells Iran Human Rights: "The drugs seized from Ahmad by authorities weren't even his, he was selling it for a friend. Mahmoud tried to pressure the owner of the drugs to help save Ahmad from death row, but the owner of the drugs was also arrested for drug possession. The drug owner suspected that Mahmoud had snitched on him, so he retaliated by telling the authorities that he had bought his drugs from Mahmoud and his sister and mother. That's how Mahmoud and his sister and mother were arrested by the authorities."
The confirmed source describes to Iran Human Rights the situation for Mahmoud during his interrogations: "They placed pressure on him in various ways to force false confessions. The interrogator told Mahmoud that he must confess now, and that he would get a chance to explain the truth later in court. The interrogator said that if Mahmoud complied, his sister and mother would be freed. Mahmoud agreed and confessed to whatever the interrogator wanted. When Mahmoud tried to explain in court that the accusations against him are false, his testimony was not considered by the Judiciary. When the owner of the drugs finally realized that Mahmoud had not snitched on him, he wrote a letter to authorities confessing to his mistake, but the authorities did not consider the letter. In 2011, the owner of the drugs, who was also on death row, wrote a second letter to the authorities. The same day that he released the letter, authorities took Mahmoud and the drug owner to the gallows and carried out the execution order for the drug owner - the second letter had caused authorities to suspend Mahmoud's execution order. The letter was sent to the Revolutionary Court for consideration in overturning Mahmoud's death sentence, but nothing changed."
Ahmad Barati is currently on death row and is reportedly held in exile in the Central Prison of Tehran.
"Mahmoud Barati is one of many prisoners in Iran who was charged with a drug related offense in an unfair trial and then later hanged to death," says Mahmoud Amiry-Moghaddam, the spokesperson for Iran Human Rights.
UNODC Helping to Legitimize Executions for Drug Related Offenses
While executions for drug related offenses continue in full force in Iran, the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime has renewed and increased cooperation in the fight against drugs with the Iranian authorities. On numerous occasions Iran Human Rights has asked the United Nations and governments who fund UNODC programs to make their funding conditional on an end to the death penalty for drug related offenses.
The nontransparent and unfair detention and trial of people detained for drug-related charges has been opposed by many human rights organizations. Prisoners in Iran are issued trumped-up charges and sentenced to death in Revolutionary Court trials where they are not given the right to appeal. The trials are carried out behind closed doors and the lawyer and the accused are never given enough time to defend their side. Defendants are systematically psychologically and physically tortured under custody and are not given access to an attorney. Many defendants are arrested and sentenced to death for drug related offenses, even though authorities have no tangible evidence of the defendant ever possessing narcotics.
According to Iran's anti-drug laws, a person who possesses more than five Kilograms of opium or 30 Grams of heroin, morphine or cocaine may be sentenced to death.
Days before Iranian authorities hanged Mahmoud Barati and the ten other prisoners to death, human rights groups, including Amnesty International, issued statements calling on the Iranian authorities to halt the schoolteacher's execution.