Iran Human Rights (IHR), December 22, 2018: Hamid Bagheri Dermani, a businessman known by the State-run Iranian media as the "Sultan of Bitumen", was executed Saturday morning, December 22, on alleged economic corruption charges.
According to ISNA, Hamid Bagheri Dermani had been charged with bribery and corruption. Refering to the Tehran Revolutionary Court, the report says that Mr. Bagheri Dermani was found, among others, guilty of forging documents to secure state-backed loans for the establishment of front companies which he used to procure more than 300,000 tons of bitumen - a substance used in making asphalt. - one of Iran's most profitable industries.
Hamid Bagheri Dermiani's case was initially processed by the newly established anti-corruption court but later sent to the Revolutionary Court where he was charged with "spreading corruption on earth" and sentenced to death in October 2018.
Iranian Supreme Court upheld Bargheri Dermani’s death sentence quickly after the verdict was issued.
He is the third person to be executed for corruption charges since the head of the Judiciary, with the approval of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, signalized harder punishments for corruption including the launch of a special anti-corruption court in August 2018.
Two other businessmen, Vahid Mazloumin and Mohammad Esmaeel Ghasemi, were executed in November 2018 for corruption charges.
Iran Human Rights (IHR) had strongly condemned the executions for the charges of economic corruption. Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, the Director and spokesperson for the organization, said: "The death penalty is an inhumane punishment, and the international law prohibits death sentence for economic corruption, which is not considered as the most serious crimes. Besides, the prisoners were sentenced to death as a result of an unfair trial in an illegal Court. The primary purpose of the execution of these two people is to create fear in society, not to combat corruption. Iranian authorities know that the system, with corrupt organs such as the Judiciary and the Supreme leader who has absolute power and zero accountability, are the main sources of corruption in the country. We call on the Iranian authorities to put an end to the policy of using the death penalty as a solution to all its problems".