Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions A/HRC/23/47/Add.5 para 55
Full recommendation:
The Special Rapporteur thanks the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran for its reply, which
includes inter alia information on the case of Mr. Younos Aghayan (referred to in the communication as
Mr. Yunes Aghayan). He would appreciate to receive detailed information on the legal grounds and
evidence used to sentence the defendant to death, as well as on the compliance of each judicial
proceeding with the international human rights law provision of most serious crime, and standards on
fair trial and due process safeguards. He calls upon the authorities in the Islamic Republic of Iran to
ensure the highest level of respect of the rights and freedoms of Mr. Aghayan.
Assessment using Impact Iran human rights indicators1
According to information received by the UN Special Procedures, Mr. Aghayan, a follower of the Ahl-e
Haqq (Yarsan/Yari) faith, was arrested around November 2004 for his participation in disagreements
between the police and followers of his faith, allegedly initiated by the refusal of Ahl-e Haqq followers to
take down religious slogans at the entrance of their cattle farm in Uch Tepe, West Azerbaijan Province.
Mr. Aghayan was tried and sentenced to death on the charge of “moharebeh” (enmity against God) on the
basis of “armed resistance against the Islamic Republic of Iran”. His sentence was upheld by the Supreme
Court in April 2005.2
In its response to the Special Procedures’ communication,3 the Government of the Islamic Republic of
Iran failed to provide additional information as to the evidence of the case or the legal merits of Mr.
Aghayan’s death sentence. Further, the Government did not provide information to confirm that the
charges of moharebeh on the basis of “armed rebellion against the Islamic” held against Mr. Aghayan
amounted to what is considered “most serious crimes” under international law.
In its latest General Comment on Article 6, the Human Rights Committee explicitly stipulated that the
term “the most serious crimes” must “be read restrictively and appertain only to crimes of extreme
gravity, involving intentional killing. Crimes not resulting directly and intentionally in death […],
although serious in nature, can never serve as the basis, within the framework of Article 6, for the
imposition of the death penalty. In the same vein, a limited degree of involvement or of complicity in the
commission of even the most serious crimes, […], cannot justify the imposition of the death penalty.”4
The crime of moharebeh (“enmity against God”) is defined under Article 279 of the Islamic Penal Code
(2013) “as drawing a weapon on the life, property or chastity of people or to cause terror as it creates the

1 CCPR.6.2.S.1

2 Communication IRN 17/2012,
3 Reply of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the Special Procedures’ communication IRN 17/2012
4 https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CCPR/Shared%20Documents/1_Global/CCPR_C_GC_36_8785_E.pdf


Select target paragraph3