The Human Rights Organization of Iran reports that a young man who was charged with stabbing a member of the Basij may be in imminent danger of execution in Iran. The report on May 29 indicates that 19-year-old Ehsan Shah-Ghasemi stabbed Ali Khalili four years ago in the course of a street altercation. In July of 2011, he reportedly got into an argument with Ali Khalili and stabbed him in the neck.

Ali Khalili-Ehsan Shah-Ghassemi

Ali Khalili-Ehsan Shah-Ghassemi

Ali Khalili was reportedly a member of the Basij at the time, working as a volunteer patrolling the street for violations of Islamic dress code and behaviour. The report indicates that Khalili told Shah-Ghassemi and his friends to “lower the volume of their stereo. The demand was challenged by the passengers and finally led to a fight and the stabbing of Ali Khalili by Shah-Ghassemi”.

A number of media reports alleged that Shah-Ghassemi and his friends were stopped for “sexual harassment” of women. This allegation was found to be false in court and Shah-Ghassemi was acquitted of the charge.

Ali Khalili was hospitalized, underwent a number of operations and was later released.

In March of 2011, Ehsan Shah-Ghassemi was convicted of stabbing Khalili and sentenced to three years in jail, 35 million toumans in damages and flogging. He was released after the three-year jail term and paying the fine and enduring the flogging. His release also entailed the official consent of complainant Ali Khalili and his father.

Three years after his release from hospital, in March of 2014, Ali Kahlili died from a pulmonary infection, and Shah-Ghassemi was later arrested. The coroner’s office announced that Ali Khalili’s eventual death might have been be linked to the stab wound he had suffered 32 months earlier. Ehsan Shah-Ghassemi was then indicted for first degree murder and last September he was sentenced to death. The sentence has been confirmed by the Supreme Court.

A close acquaintance of the Shah-Ghassemi family has told the Human Rights Organization: “Ehsan’s family has obtained judgements from three members of the clergy that indicate execution under such circumstances is against Sharia. The clerics have indicated that in view of the passage of time and the earlier payment of damages to the late Ali Khalili as well as the consent signed by him and his father, issuing the death penalty is not acceptable.”

Reports indicate that prior to his death, Ali Khalili’s recovery was so significant that he managed to make a pilgrimage on foot to Karbala, a Shia holy city in Iraq.

Other reports indicate that the coroner and the court were pressured by the media and Basij groups that had inflamed the atmosphere, and that’s what led to Shah-Ghassemi’s death sentence.

Amnesty International has also expressed serious concerns regarding the hastening of Shah-Ghassemi’s execution. The Mehr News Agency reports that his father has requested mercy from the family of Ali Kahlili. “In all these years, Ehsan has been filled with regret and remorse, and we as his family will do everything so that they know that we value the blood of Martyr Ali Khalili.”