Banafsheh Zand vs. I.R. of Iran, Ali Khamenei, Javad Zarif, and IRGC

Banafsheh Zand vs. I.R. of Iran, Ali Khamenei, Javad Zarif, and IRGC

Banafsheh Zand Filed an Action Against Government of Iran, Supreme Leader, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, and IRGC for Torture and Extrajudicial Killing of Siamak Pourzand, in Federal Court Under FSIA.

Press Release

August 28, 2019

Washington, DC. August 28, 2019. Banafsheh Zand, an Iranian American journalist, writer and human rights activist, filed an action against the Islamic Republic of Iran, Seyed Ali Khamenei its supreme leader, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) for torture, hostage taking, and extrajudicial killing of her father, Mr. Siamak Pourzand, who was subjected to torture, solitary confinement, forced confession, and lack of medical care that ultimately led to his death in 2011. The Iranian government claimed his death to be suicide by jumping from the 6th floor balcony of the apartment where he was being held under house arrest; however suspicions to the contrary, there are reports that he was thrown by the government agents.

Siamak Pourzand was a journalist and film critic. He was the manager of the Majmue-ye Farrhangi-ye Honari-ye Tehran, a cultural center for writers, artists, and intellectuals. In later years, Pourzand was also a cultural commentator for several reformist newspapers that have since been shut down. He is well known for his articles critical of the Islamic regime, and is said to have been working with foreign-based Farsi language media prior to his detention.

Siamak Pourzand went missing on November 24, 2001, it was later learned that he was being held incommunicado by the Iranian intelligence. On March 6, 2002, Iranian authorities began closed and unannounced proceedings against Pourzand. On May 3, 2002, the Tehran Press Court reportedly sentenced him to 11 years in prison on charges of “undermining state security through his links with monarchists and counter-revolutionaries.” The charges against him are based on confessions that were extracted under duress during the months he was held in incommunicado detention. During his time in detention and house arrest, Ms. Zand and her family were in constant stress and were active in bringing international attention against Iran's brutal acts.

Frail, infirm and unable to bear further indignity, without even the solace of his family around him, he was killed by the repeated human rights violations he endured, which lead to chronic ill health, at the hands of a judicial system in which human dignity had been lost.

This case is brought under terrorism exception of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia through Plaintiffs attorney, Mr. Ali Herischi of Herischi & Associates, LLC. Ms. Zand is asking for compensatory and punitive damages. Mr. Herischi is hopeful that "this case will bring attention to the systematic human rights abuses and domestic terrorism by the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps."

Banafsheh Zand vs. I.R. of Iran, Ali Khamenei, Javad Zarif, and IRGC