Target: Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei, Leader of the Islamic Republic
Goal: Commute the death sentence of a man accused of murder, and allow him a retrial that meets international fair trial standards.
In 2011, Ehsan Shah Ghasemi stabbed Ali Khalili in the neck. In 2014, Ali Khalili died and Ehsan Shah Ghasemi was arrested for his murder, tried, convicted, and sentenced to death. There is no conclusive evidence that the three-year-old stab wounds were the cause of death, and Ghasemi’s trial did not meet international fair trial standards. Sign the petition and demand a retrial and a pardon for Ehsan Shah Ghasemi.
Ghasemi and Khalili’s fight came about after Khalili confronted Ghasemi in the street for playing “illegal” music, Amnesty International reports. After the stabbing, Ghasemi was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment, a fine of 35 million rials (about $1200 US), and seventy lashes. However, Khalili and his father subsequently pardoned Ghasemi, and that appeared to be the end of the matter.
However, when Khalili died three years later “as a result of health complications allegedly related to the original assault and the medical treatment administered after the initial injury,” Ghasemi was arrested again, this time for murder, Amnesty reports. During his trial, Ghasemi was not allowed to choose his own lawyer, and only met his court-appointed legal counsel on the first day of his trial.
In addition to the fair trial violations, Ghasemi claims to have suffered torture while in prison. He was also kept shackled in solitary confinement for three months.
The death penalty is the ultimate punishment. International standards recognize that the death penalty is only ever appropriate in cases of willing murder. The number of variables involved in this case make it difficult to prove that Ghasemi was responsible for Khalili’s death. His sentence must therefore be commuted, and he must be given a retrial that meets international fair trial standards.
I am writing to urge you to commute the death sentence of Ehsan Shah Ghasemi. Evidence of the crime that Ghasemi has been convicted is inconclusive, and his trial did not meet international fair trial standards. There is only one right course of action: commute Ghasemi’s death sentence and retry him under fair conditions.
Ghasemi is accused of killing Ali Khalili after stabbing him in the neck. However, it is difficult to prove that the stab was the cause of death, since three years passed between the attack and Khalili’s death. Ghasemi was tried and sentenced for his role in the initial assault, but the trial for Khalili’s murder put Ghasemi at a severe disadvantage: he was not allowed to choose his own lawyer, and only met his court-appointed lawyer on the first day of the trial.
In addition, Ghasemi’s imprisonment has been marked by human rights violations, from the three months he spent shackled in solitary confinement to his claims that he was tortured while in custody. These allegations ought to be fully investigated.
Please do the right thing. Allow Ehsan Shah Ghasemi a fair trial and the chance to live.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Farzaaaad2000