Ali is Free!

Ali Mahin Torabi's death row nightmare is finally over


Ali is Free!
by Azarin Sadegh

Many of you might not know about him, but for me it’s hard to talk about him without getting emotional, even though I have never met him in person. The first time I heard his name was 3 years ago.

Back then, did I even know he was innocent? Not really, but my friend had assured me that Ali, a gifted student whose dream, at sixteen, was to represent Iran in the World Computer Olympiad, wasn’t the typical troubled kid, and honestly, I thought it was such a strong argument. All my life I have been in contact with nerdy math-lovers and I knew there was no way for someone as smart as Ali, someone who excelled in math, to attack and kill another kid.

I decided to help my friend and started sending letters to every humanitarian organization I found on Internet, so they could save him. Nazanin Afshin Jam’s Stop Child Executions (SCE) was the first one to offer their help; they even contacted their own lawyer in Iran to take over Ali’s case. This lawyer was Mohammad Mostafaei, that today everyone knows he is a fearless and passionate Iranian human rights attorney, and what this man is going through right now, that his wife and brother-in-law have been held captive by the Iranian authorities till he surrenders himself to the Revolutionary Court Branch in Evin Prison. And, I am certain that we are all outraged by what has happened to him and to his family.

If it wasn’t for SCE and the amazing work by Mr. Mostafaei, I am sure Ali had been executed at the end of that month. But, he survived that first round of hanging, and he survived the next ones too. At the end, Ali saved himself by writing this blog.

Meanwhile, The Amnesty International contacted the European Union and they warned Iran about Ali and the other kids in Iran’s death rows. Ali’s blogs had been published in an Iranian newspaper, and thousands of people, including a group of mothers of martyrs from Qom, tried to convince the victim’s father of his innocence.

His case became widely visible, but he still remained in prison, until a few weeks ago!

A week ago, I received an email from Nazanin that Ali was going to be freed. She said that the new judge that was assigned to his case had found too many anomalies in his dossier and new evidences of his innocence were presented to the court. This new turn of events had resulted in overturning the prior guilty verdict. But strangely, he should still pay blood money (about $70,000) to the family of the victim! [news]

A few days later, my cell-phone rang and there was this warm shaking voice who said, “Hi, I am Ali!” [Photos]

Of course, I cried, laughed, and wished to hug him virtually. He kept thanking me for writing that first article, but what surprised me the most was his genuine concern about Mr. Mostafaei, and his other friends on the death row. Knowing that his ordeal wasn’t yet finished, and he still could go back to prison if he doesn’t come up with the blood money, and knowing that his family has already spent everything for his freedom, I was shocked by his selflessness. “Don’t worry about the dieh,” he said. “I’m sure we’ll raise the money, because I am innocent and God is great.”

I was speechless, I didn’t know what to say, and I didn’t want to remind him of the other cases of “innocent” kids who were already dead. I also remembered Sina Paymard.

“Please be careful,” I told him and before saying goodbye he assured me that he was going to use this experience (of spending 7 years, 7 months and 11 days in prison for a crime he hadn’t committed) as his drive to become a good lawyer, like Mostafaei.

Even though he had specifically told me that he didn’t expect anything from me, but I couldn’t sit still, waiting, doing nothing and hope for the best. It seems, sometimes God is too busy and misses the chance of being great all the time. That’s why I am writing today, and I truly hope this article is going to be my last one about Ali Mahin Torabi! You have no idea how much I hope for him to disappear from the news section, to have a normal life, to forget the past, to fall in love, and to feel optimistic about his life. I hope that he’d go on with his education, to receive the right care, the right depression pills, the right therapist, so he wouldn’t end up like Sina Paymard. The boy who was pardoned by the family of the victim after he played the ney (Iranian flute) as his last wish, who went home, yet a year later committed suicide, because, I assume, that he had already died in prison and what returned home was not Sina, but just a shell, a hollow doll that only looked like him.

So please, please let us give Ali a chance. He is still alive. He has been studying in prison and he dreams of becoming a lawyer, to help other kids in death rows; kids like himself, because he’s been there, in their shoes.

But before everything else, at this point, he still needs to come up with 70 million tomans to pay the blood money; even though his innocence has been proven by the new judge assigned to his case. Honestly, I have no idea why an innocent man should still pay, and I wonder; who is going to pay him back his lost 7 years, 7 months and 11 days of nightmare? Who is going to calculate the amount of money that one’s life is worth?

But, I am too drained to ask why, so I only wonder. We are dealing with a justice system defined by Islamic Republic of Iran. So, I rather stop being logical. All I can do is to ask all of you to help Ali!

His family has set up bank accounts in his name in Iran and in the US:

Ali Mahin Torabi Benefit fund at Wells Fargo:

ROUTING #: 122000247
acct #: 5053801444


In Iran Ali Mahin Torabi’s account in Pasargad Bank in Rajaee Shahr: #3907-824-1139507-1


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by yolanda on

Thank you, Azarin, for your great photo essay.....I found your photo essay by accident today.....I missed this blog 'cause I was in the sky flying to Beijing on August 2.......I am so glad that a super sad story has a very happy ending.....I am soooo glad that this young man has escaped IRI's noose...Thank God! His lawyer is also Sakineh's lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaei........this guy has done so much to help under-privileged, wrongfully accused, and oppressed people in Iran....he must have heard a calling to do his work.......he has brought IRI's stoning to the world's attention......because of him Torabi and Sakineh are alive.......I hope he wins Nobel Prize.....he truly deserves it!

Thank you for your great writing and tireless effort!


NIKOO  Dear nasser she

by NIKOO on

NIKOO  Dear nasser she truly was ali`s angel and sure for other innocent kids too. iI would like to thank you for your suport. just let you know Ali`s account is set under ALI MAHIN TORABI BENEFIT FUND. Probably  transfers under just ALI MAHIN TORABI will not go through.  

thanks again



There should be a fund

by Escape on

For these people,if it were up to organization.You could call it 'The Blood Money Fund'....

David ET

"Fear" on news blog summarized it well

by David ET on

"What kind of terrorist regime sentences a woman to stoning after getting a confession by lashing her, goes after its victim's lawyer, and then when it cannot get its hand on this innocent man arrests his family as hostages?  All in the name of Allah?"


NIKOO Dear David I`m so

by NIKOO on

NIKOO Dear David I`m so happy for Mr.mostafaie .He is safe and sure he will have a less stressful life of course after release of his family.

poor people who were happy that he was presenting their cases. I hope they can find another capable attorney as soon as possible before they leave Iran for their lives.

How could them ever want to imprison an attorney? Dose not make any sense. 


David ET

Welcome Nikoo

by David ET on

Great to see your joyful comments here and your emails and joyful messages on my voicemail since Ali's release .

I am happy to also report that Mr. Mostafaei is safe in Turkey and under UN asylum program and offered citizenship by Norway and also other efforts to offer asylum in Canada and other countries are in the works.

Hopefully we can see Mr., Mostafaei and his family back together soon. His wife Fereshteh still remains as hostage in Evin.

While the Islamic military regime forces people like Mostafaei out of country or imprison them, other countries welcoem such great human beings with open arms! A process that has been going on for the past 31 years.


NIKOO Dear Dr.x you are

by NIKOO on

NIKOO Dear Dr.x

you are absolutely right .that moment was so so emotional .I did not get a chance to be there and see him ,hug him ,smell him,kiss him hundred times and tell him he was my life which  is coming back to me . Any ways my sister ,his mom who was always sick and on heavy medications for depression got her whole lost energy back. Now when she is talking to me on the phone her voice is not down any more.She said she dose not want any thing else in her life ,she already got what ever a happy life needs.Just being together nothing else.

I have another wish .I want to see other families who have a beloved one in prison feel this happiness and get together one day.It is an amazing feeling.


Hi every one

by NIKOO on

NIKOO  Hi Azarin jan  and all friends ;

today when I was reading your messages and comments I felt so proud .It is an amazing feeling knowing that you have friends who stay with you all the way to the end when you need them.    

Azarin ,Nazanin,David,Manijeh,... you are my close family.I love you.

as of today in total we have some thing around $11000-$12000. some reletieves said we can count on them for $10,000 and a friend $1000 but it is not in his account yet.So by now we have max.$12000.

 Ali and all family are working hard on that. Im sure we can make it. Ali will be free for good and sure he will be a person that society will be proud of him. He is very smart,extremly positive,full of life ,patient,helpful with a very kind heart . He was very bright at school and in prison. He was innocent and did not deserve 8 year...

   After 8 years for the first time I listened to the music in my car.My kids  were surprised. Not only Ali but also my family and I got our life back.


thank you all for your concern about Ali,suport and contributions.




Azarin Sadegh

Nikoo, azizam,

by Azarin Sadegh on

I am so happy to see you here! Now, you can tell us how much you've gathered so far.

It would encourage us all and would keep up the momentum!

Love, Azarin

@everyone: Nikoo is my dearest friend and Ali's aunt. 



by NIKOO on

NIKOO thank you for contributing for ali. i hope we can raise enough money before his time is up.

his wish is to contact all people who help him get out of this dilemma one day and say thanks.


Great work Azarin jan!

by Monda on

I can imagine your elation by Ali's release! Thank you for giving us the links.


David ET


by David ET on

"BTW, I just contacted Ali's aunt and she told me about Ali's fear is from his case getting political...Yes, I know it is a real dilemma!"

Azarin Sadegh

Ali's blog

by Azarin Sadegh on

Dear Rosie, Thank you so much for being so concerned about Ali and helping him so much during this whole time! Ali asked me to thank everyone like you...and I do it now again!

This is the link to Ali's blog:


It is still working for I don't know why it is not working for you.

BTW, I just contacted Ali's aunt and she told me about Ali's fear is from his case getting political...Yes, I know it is a real dilemma!

But on the other hand, what other option do we have? If we remain quiet, he'd never come up with the blood money.

I think we need to make noises for each kid we believe is innocent..or kids who were underage and didn't know what they were doing, or kids who were growing up on their own, in the streets, their families kid at a time, but also for every innocent prisoner...What else can we do?

Plus, even if Ali manges to gather the money, still who knows what's going to happen next? Is he going to survive his freedom? Is he going to forget it all? When will he finaly find the peace inside?

@everyone: Dear Nasser, MPD, Shazdeh, HumanBeing, Bavafa, Doctor X, and oh dear dear David ET (you were the best all this time...and you (with Nazanin) were the first one to fight for Ali's freedom, and still you are the only one agonyzing over each one of these kids and especially for Mr. Mosrafai and his beloved wife and her brother...I'll never stop being grateful to you, dear!) 

Thanks to every one of you for your warm support and kind comments! Yes, we should really believe that everything is almost possible...but for sure it can get impossible if we just don't try...if we give up, right from beginning.

This is the best lesson I learned through Ali's ordeal.

Thanks again and let's keep up the momentum for Ali's sake! Azarin



by Rosie. on

the link to Ali's blog isn't working for me, but the others are. Maybe you should check it.

You should also let Natalia know about this. As you will recall, she wrote a piece on Ali in December of '07 and she doesn't seem to be here regularly lately.  I don't think she has a contact button on any of her (numerous) accounts. If you don't have her e-mail, let me know.



by Doctor X on

Hard to fathom what must be going on in their gatherings at the moment. Good for them. I Hope they can spend Endless happy and joyful moments together. What is truly priceless, aside from him being free for now, is that smile of satisfaction and relief on his mother's face. Poor thing must be extremely happy now.

David ET

Thank you all

by David ET on

It is great to see Ali back with his family. I hope his attorney Mostafaei and his wife and brother in law's family once again can come together too.


This is a great news and

by Bavafa on

This is a great news and thanks to all of those who never gave up.

IRI must release all political prisoners


Azarin Sadegh

Thank you!

by Azarin Sadegh on

I am just beyond happy...And please don't thank me! You should thank SCE and Amnesty and Mr. Mostafai and the new judge!

Whatever I wrote was just for my own paece of mind... the least I could do.

@MPD: Thank you, dear MPD, for doing the edits on my article here! I was such a mess...These last days, I've been going through a tormented time, feeling restless, and blind to all my English mistakes...Thank you! You are the best! Az. 


i'm proud to be your friend

by humanbeing on

good for you and all those who do not give up. 

i hope many will contribute.


Shazde Asdola Mirza

Thanks for posting and reminding us of his ordeals

by Shazde Asdola Mirza on

Every voice counts! Every action counts!

Multiple Personality Disorder

Thank you Azarin for all your hard work

by Multiple Personality Disorder on

I'll make a contribution to the fund raising account in the USA.  Meanwhile I'll be thinking how the other juvenile offenders could be helped also.


Angel of Protection


You have been his angel of protection from the inception of faith and his innocence.  You have brought it this far, now you must see it through.  You have my admiration for taking the step in the first place.  I will contact Wells Fargo.  In face of hell we can make the world a better place by one good deed at a time.  God Bless you