The father of Babak Khorramdin, an Iranian director and film teacher whose dismembered body was found in a trash can on Sunday, has told Tehran Criminal Court he is glad to have murdered his son.
Iran-Iraq war veteran Akbar Khorramdin, 81, confessed to having killed 47-year-old Babak shortly after he was arrested by Tehran police. Just a few hours later, he told the court: “I’m relieved... I no longer have any worries in my life.”
Part of the director’s body was found inside a suitcase in a bin on Nafisi Street in Ektaban, a planned neighborhood in the west of Tehran. Babak had spent time in the United Kingdom before returning to Iran to become a teaching professor at Karaj University.
But Akbar Khorramdin told the court that his son had “harassed” himself and his wife since he was a child. “I raised him with great difficulty,” he said. “He was always being suspended from school and we never had a day off.
“Since the coronavirus pandemic and classes going online, Babak had brought students home three days a week on the pretext of giving private lessons to them. It was interesting that Babak only brought home female students. We didn’t know whether they were really students at all."
Described by Rokna News Agency as having kept a calm demeanor in the courtroom, Akbar Khorramdin went on to say that his son would ask his mother to cook for him while he retired to his room with his guests, whom they assumed he was sleeping with.
“I asked my son to get his own place,” he said, “but Babak refused; he said only his dead body would ever leave our house. Sometimes he beat us. He wanted us to take care of him.
"On May 14, I went with Babak for some exercise in Ekbatan and I told him again that I would sell my car and give him his share so he could rent a house for himself. Babak reiterated that he was not going anywhere. I warned Babak that either he left, or I knew someone who could get 10 million tomans to have him killed. Babak smiled and said, 'Don't be silly. I’m Babak; no one can do anything.'"
He then moved to describing murder itself. “When I came home, I told my wife that Babak would not agree to leaving the house. We decided to kill him. My wife poured a lot of sleeping pills into Babak's food, and when my son was half-unconscious, I stabbed him to death.
“Then we took the body to the bathroom, but since we could not get the body out of the house, we cut Babak's body into pieces with a knife and a machete. After packing up the body parts, we threw them into three trash cans."
Parents Honored in Murdered Son’s Semi-Autobiographical Film
At the end of his testimony at Branch 5 of Tehran Criminal Court, Akbar Khorramdin raised his hands skywards and thanked God for the fact that he had killed his son. He and his wife have now been transferred back to police for further investigation.
Babak Khorramdin was born in 1974. He graduated with a master’s degree from Tehran University’s Faculty of Fine Arts in 2009 before travelling to London to continue his studies, eventually returning to Iran after several years.
Back in 2015, both of his parents had joined him onstage at a screening of a film he had made called Oath to Yashar. The film told the story of a Turkish immigrant’s experiences in London, including missing his mother, and was described by Babak as being “completely personal” and inspired by his own experiences.
According to the website Our Cinema, Khoramddin’s father had also spoken at the event, describing his 69-month service in Iraq and having been injured twice by chemical weapons.
The Gruesome Discovery – and an Unfinished Legacy
According to the report submitted by Tehran police, officers were called to Phase Three of the town of Ekbatan on Sunday, May 16 to reports of a mutilated man’s body found in a garbage bin. The team dispatched to the scene was presented with a man’s head, hands, arms and ankles hidden inside a suitcase in the trash. Six hours later, forensic experts identified the victim through fingerprinting.
When police arrived at Babak Khorramdin’s family home in Ektaban, his parents immediately confessed and were arrested on the spot. As the news broke over the following day, those that knew the filmmaker reacted with horror and posted their personal memories of him online.
Hassan Solhjou, a film critic and presenter for BBC Persian, wrote on his Instagram page that he had met Babak in London nine years ago, and the latter struck him as being “A handsome young man who spoke very well and logically, or at least it seemed to me.
“I was fascinated by the attractive and minimalist aesthetics of the films. It seemed to me that he was another brilliant but unknown talent of Iranian cinema.”
The practical difficulties of filmmaking in the UK, he said, had eventually pushed Babak to return to Iran. “He wanted to continue making films. Naturally, it was harder for him to stay here. Iran is still virgin territory for filmmakers and is full of thousands of untold stories. In the struggle over to stay or go, he first decided to stay, living alongside his old love, who was still with him. But then he changed his mind, returned to Iran and burned the bridges behind him. He went back to make a film.
“None of us knows what happened... Everyone has a lot of untold stories. But the important thing is that Babak Khorramdin can no longer make his masterpiece."