I wish everything that is happening was a dream, it has tired me out. This is what 19-year-old Mohammad Boroughani told his cellmates before being transferred to Evin Prison. Born on March 20, 2004, Mohammad Boroughani is a resident of Pakdasht in Karaj. Iran’s Judiciary sentenced him to death after he was arrested during October 2022 gatherings. His father Hussein Boroughani says, “I am a worker. My son has been working for a contracting company for two years. He knew how to repair shoes years before.”
The death sentence was issued for Mohammad Boroughani while he was denied the right to a chosen lawyer. His trial was held hastily in two or three sessions. The death penalty was handed down to him in the very first trial. It was then approved by the Supreme Court the following month.
Charges at court:
- In the first hearing, on Saturday, October 29, 2022, Judge Salavati who presided over the court at Tehran’s Branch 15 charged him with Moharebeh (War on God). The public court found Mohammad Boroughani guilty of using a cold weapon against state forces. Other charges against him include clashing with security forces and setting fire to the governorate building in Pakdasht.
- On Monday, January 2, 2023, social media posts indicated that Mohammad Boroughani’s death sentence had been overturned. The death penalty had changed to “one year imprisonment and 74 lashes.” On the same day, the Iranian Judiciary announced that Mohammad Boroughani’s death sentence had been upheld by the Supreme Court on December 5, 2022.
- On November 16, 2022, the Revolutionary Court issued a preliminary death sentence for four detained protesters. The court’s announcement included death for Mohammad Boroughani on charges of using a cold weapon and carrying out armed attack. It stated that Mohammad Boroughani had intentionally stabbed a security guard aiming to kill him. He was accused of causing insecurity for citizens and terrorizing them and also sentenced to death for setting fire to the Pakdasht City Hall and destroying its properties.
Like other death row prisoners, Mohammad Boroughani had not committed a Moharebeh crime. He was deprived of his lawyer and his statements in court were given following the most severe tortures. There are many doubts in the case, and it appears issuing death sentences for detained protesters is to create fear.
Mohammad Boroughani is currently held in Ward 10 of Hall 31 in Rajai Shahr Prison, near to Karaj. He is kept without segregation of crimes and remains alongside dangerous criminals charged with murder, rape, and acid attacks.
Guilty of leading protest:
Iran’s Judiciary Media Center claimed, “there was an Instagram conversation on Mohammad Boroughani’s cellphone in which he told a friend to attend the gatherings. His friend replies that he only has one Qama (dagger).”
The Judiciary claims that images obtained from his mobile phone show Mohammad Boroughani was a protest leader.
The Judiciary described him as a “protest leader” for “agitating locals to participate in riots, asking them to build hand grenades like they did for on Chaharshanbe Suri (festival of fire,) and showing up at the governor’s building. In an Instagram Story he announces the location and set time of the gathering. After joining each other and attacking the officers, they filmed themselves.”
Seyed Sadegh Keshani, a Judicial lawyer, wrote of how Mohammad Boroughani’s death sentence is unfair. He said, “Apparently, the main documents that led to the death sentence is from the defendant’s own phone. Especially the film he takes of himself when attacking the individual. This fact shows the defendant is unprofessional and a normal person. The film does not show the stabbing is intended to ‘kill.’ Thereby, there is no basis for sentencing Moharebeh.”
In the film used as evidence against Mohammad Boroughani, an officer is seen running away. His head is slightly injured, and they have taken his baton. Youths scream “do not show up here”!
Mohammad Boroughani is charged with carrying a dagger but even the Judiciary claims that it was not used. The film shows the officer is completely healthly. He only had slight scratches and was on the run. The charge was simply for carrying the cold weapon.
According to another clip posted on Instagram, the defendant invited his friends to a rally in Shobe (Branch) Square. It is more than a kilometer away from the Pakdasht governor’s office. This proves the defendant was not involved in the crime of Moharebeh.
On Sunday, January 8, 2023, Mohammad Boroughani was transferred to solitary confinement in Gohardasht Prison as Iran’s procedure to carry out the death sentence.
Immediately after the news spread online, in the early hours of Monday, January 9, 2023, people gathered in front of Gohardasht Prison. They chanted anti-government slogans calling for the abolition of the death sentences of Mohammad Boroughani and Mohammad Ghobadlou.
Iran’s judiciary was forced to withdraw from the executions of these two individuals after a large turnout in front of Rajai Shahr Prison. However, in reaction to the gathered people, Iran’s Judiciary claimed that it had no intention of execution.
On January 11, 2023, Iran’s Supreme Court announced a moratorium on the death penalty of Mohammad Boroughani, saying that the 19-year-old protester’s case will be re-investigated.
Iran’s Human Rights Monitor had alerted human rights entities of the great danger, noting that Iranian authorities are using the death penalty as a tool of “political repression in order to create fear among the people and to end the popular uprising.”