Mohammad Imani Yamchi

Judge at Branch 6 – East Azerbaijan Appeals Court
Religious Judge – Oroumiyyeh (Since inception of the Islamic Republic)[1] Completed traditional Islamic studies

Human rights violations
In his capacity as judge at the appeals court, Imani has demonstrated a pattern of disregard for independence in judgement, by confirming unjust and illegal judgements against civil rights and social activists. More specifically, he routinely has approved all judgements issued in security cases. According to lawyer Mousa Barzin Khalifeloo, “Imani denies the right to defence during hearings in cases involving the charge of ‘acting against national security’ and instead would say, we approve these cases while walking up the steps, meaning he does not even look at the files and approves whatever sentence has been issued.”[2]



Imani, as the presiding judge at Branch 6 of East Azerbaijan, confirmed death by stoning in the case of Ashtiani

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, who was charged with the crime of ‘sexual relations outside of marriage’ and sentenced to death by stoning, lawyers Javid Houtan Kian and Mousa Barzin Khalifelou, and student activist Afsaneh Toqir, are among those whose appeals were overseen by Judge Imani and whose sentences were confirmed with complete disregard for legal violations committed in their cases.

According to Khalifeloo, “Imani maintains an inappropriate and obnoxious approach towards political prisoners and their lawyers; he has no hesitation to insult them directly.”[3]

Imani is responsible for the execution of a number of opposition elements. During the 23rd session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, lawyer Naqi Mahmoudi[4] referred to Imani as one of the judges responsible for human rights violations in Iran.

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani
Imani, as the presiding judge at Branch 6 of East Azerbaijan, confirmed death by stoning in the case of Ashtiani. He did so despite serious complications and violations in the preliminary ruling, international outcry and appeals by her son and lawyers to review the case.[5]

Javid Houtan Kian and Mousa Barzin Khalifeloo
In cases involving lawyers representing civil and political rights activists, Imani routinely confirms preliminary rulings. Security forces threaten, investigate ban from practice or prosecute lawyers for simply performing their duties on behalf of their clients, presenting defence, and taking part in interviews. Security forces also influence sentences issued in their cases. Kian[6] and Khalifeloo[7] cases are among those whose sentences were confirmed by Imani.

Afsaneh Toqir
An Agricultural Studies student and member of the Central Council of Azerbaijan Studies at Tabriz University, Afsaneh Toqir was detained for 23 days in Tabriz starting on 20 May 2012. Branch 1[8] of the Tabriz Revolutionary Court sentenced her to one year of suspended imprisonment for her social and student activities.[9] Branch 6 confirmed the exact sentence.

[1]Interview with Attorney at Law, Mousa Barzin Khalifeloo. On file at Justice for Iran
[4]Please see video clip of the statement delivered by Naqi Mahmoudi at a parallel event held during the 23rd session of the Human Rights Council on Iranian judicial system available on-line at:
[5]Please see Amnesty International statement available on-line at:
[6]Please see JFI press release about Kian at: and Naqi Mahmoudi’s statement about his torture:
[7]Please see:
[8]Judge Hamlbar, presiding over this Branch, has been sanctioned due to his violations of human rights.
[9]Please see: