It was the Wednesday night of the Persian calendar, in 2018. On Tuesday, March 13, in Dizaj Margavar, an area with wandering title of village, town and city, 50 km south of Urmia and at an altitude of 3,300 meters above sea level, between the Dalampar Mountains, at the zero point of the border with Iraq and Turkey, was “Chavarshameh Koleh (Chaharshanbeh Souri)”. Shaker (Farhad) Behrouzi, Salim’s son, 30, was having dinner at their son-in-law’s house. After dinner, Shaker goes to Azizi brothers’ shop with some of his friends. They were playing backgammon around 8 pm when they suddenly heard gunshots and screams from outside the shop. Unidentified gunmen opened fire on a father and son.
Shaker and his friends, who ran out of the shop to help, carry the two to Dizaj Clinic. After a short time, an ambulance arrives to transport the child to the hospital. Ambulance to transfer the father arrives later. He dies that night.
His name was Mamel Mohammadi; A member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in the area. His 8-year-old son, Himan, survives. They were Shaker Behrouzi’s neighbors. The day after the incident, “Zagros Heloukani” group (Zagros Eagles) claimed responsibility for the murder.
In September 2018, Shaker Behrouzi went to the Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) as a “self-proclaimed”. Earlier, the “Secretariat of the Trust Commission” of the MOIS issued an immunity letter to Shaker Behrouzi, who had resigned from the Democratic Party in Iraqi Kurdistan after several months of membership, and was given a written and official guarantee as “repentant and deceived.” The letter had stated that his security in Iran would not be endangered by the Islamic Republic. Shaker is released after 14 days of detention and interrogation. Three months later, however, Branch 114 of the 2nd Court of Urmia sentenced Behrouzi to two months suspended imprisonment for “illegal entry and exit.”
Regarding the “illegal entry and exit” of the inhabitants of the Margavar region, who earn their livelihood mainly through agriculture and farm animals, we must remember: The Surji tribes in Iraqi Kurdistan, who live close to the current border, have been grazing their pastures in the Margavar plains of Iran for centuries during the summer. On the other side of the border, in Turkey, there is an area with a very similar and common name: “Gahvehr” In the north of Margavar, there is a village called “Tergever”. This nominal similarity and geographical proximity show the relationship and entanglement of the lives of the people of this region. Many of Margavar’s residents are related to people across the border in Turkey and Iraq.
Less than three months after the issuance of this sentence, Shaker Behrouzi was arrested by IRGC intelligence in early March 2019. After a month of detention and interrogation by the IRGC intelligence, on March, 30, 2019, he was sent to Urmia Prison for a short time. Then, in May 2019, Shaker was transferred from Urmia Prison to the IRGC Intelligence Detention Center for a very long time. The time of Behrouzi’s transfer from the IRGC Intelligence Detention Center to the political ward of Urmia Prison in April 2020 coincides with:
- Court hearing for 3 minutes
- Presided over by Judge Ali Sheikhlou
- In the second branch of the Revolutionary Court of Urmia
- Which leads to a sentence of 5 years imprisonment
- Charged with membership in the Kurdistan Democratic Party.
In the same spring of 2020, the IRGC and the judiciary prepared a new case with new charges against Shaker Behrouzi. In this case, he is to be charged with “Baghi” through “membership in the Komala Party” – a party that has been openly at war with the Democratic Party for many years and is still hostile to it – and the murder of Mamel Mohammadi, whom Shaker Behrouzi on the fire festival night of 2018, rushed to the aid of him and his son Himan and took them to the clinic.
September 2020, this case file is completed and Shaker this time:
- In Branch 2 of the Revolutionary Court of Urmia
- Presided over by Judge Ali Sheikhlou
- Charged with “Baghi” through membership in an opposition party of the regime (Komala) and murder of a member of the IRGC (Mamel Mohammadi)
- Sentenced to death.
Shaker Behrozi was represented by Wahab Jafari.
Shaker dismisses the lawyer after the trial. Why?
HRANA, Human Rights Activists News Agency, explains the details of this court hearing, quoting a source familiar with how it was held: “Some time ago, Mr. Behrouzi chose a lawyer for his case. During the court hearing, which was attended by his lawyer, Wahab Jafari, the judge informed Mr. Behrouzi of the charge of membership in Komala and tried him, but Mr. Behrouzi denied the charge and his lawyer, Mr. Wahab Jafari, in open court, told Shaker: “Why did you do that and you were a member but you do not want to admit it?” Eventually, a verbal altercation broke out between Mr. Behrouzi and his lawyer, and he returned to prison. After four days, Mr. Behrouzi was taken to court again, where they placed an indictment in front of him and told him to sign, and Mr. Behrouzi said that he would not sign the indictment until he read it. Eventually, they allowed him to read the first few lines of the indictment, but when he wanted to read his sentence, they took the indictment from him and did not allow him to read it, so he did not sign the indictment and was sent back to prison. Mr. Behrouzi from prison wrote a letter to the court, dismissing his former lawyer replacing him with a new one. Mr. Behrouzi’s new lawyer also went to court today and studied the case and told Mr. Behrouzi that he had been sentenced to death.”
This sentence was overturned by the Supreme Court a year later, on July 7, 2021, and was referred back to the Revolutionary Court of Urmia.
But only four months after the issuance of the first death sentence by the Revolutionary Court, in December 2020, the second death sentence was issued by: Branch 1 of Urmia Criminal Court
- Presided over by Judge Hassan Zare and Counsel of Hamid Jalizban
- Regarding the murder of a member of IRGC (Mamel Mohammadi)
This sentence was upheld, on Septemner 28, 2021, by the Supreme Court based in Qom.
Shaker Behrouzi has 12 witnesses. In a written testimony, Shaker’s witnesses stated that he was with them on the night of the murder, not at the scene of the murder, and accompanied them to save the lives of the victims and transported them to the clinic. The judge, however, refused to hear their testimony.
Shaker Behrouzi has no plaintiff. The victim’s family does not recognize him as the killer. Family members have stated that they are willing to testify in any court that Shaker is innocent. They have been pressured by the IRGC intelligence that if they do not complain, they would not receive Martyr Foundation’s benefits.
Shaker Behrouzi has not confessed to the crime in court. The court ruling was issued “with the knowledge of the judge” according to Article 211 of the Islamic Penal Code. Shaker has been subjected to the most brutal tortures in the IRGC intelligence detention center for more than a year, and he has stated this in the presence of a judge.
No weapons were discovered from Shaker Behrouzi. Judicial investigations have failed to provide any evidence to substantiate the charges against him.
Shaker (Farhad) Behrouzi is innocent.
Translation of this article by Sahar.