Iran hangs 17-year-old boy despite signing treaty banning execution of minors

Iran has hanged a 17-year-old boy despite pleas from the international community  for Tehran to honour treaties it has signed banning the execution of minors.

Mohammad Hassanzadeh was the second juvenile offender to be hanged in Iran this  year.

At least 30 youths who were under 18 when they committed offences have been  executed since 1990, seven of them last year alone.

More than 85 child offenders are currently on death row in Iran, the human  rights watchdog added.

Hassanzadeh, who was convicted of killing a 10-year-old boy when he was 15, was  hanged in a prison in the western city of Sanandaj on Tuesday, Iran’s daily  Kargozaran newspaper reported.

Two other juvenile offenders due to be executed for murder on Wednesday were  given a one-month reprieve in which to reach “blood money” agreements with the  families of their victims.

But on the same day eight men convicted of murder and rape were sent to the  gallows in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, bringing to at least 100 the number  of executions in Iran this year.

Only China has a higher execution rate.

Hassanzadeh’s execution was “yet another blatant violation by the Iranian  authorities of their international obligations”, Amnesty International said.

Iran’s judiciary chief Ayatollah Hashemi Shahroudi had advised the local court  to settle Hassanzadeh’s case “through reconciliation” with his victim’s family  but no deal was reached, Kargozaran said.

Under Islamic sharia law, a victim’s family can spare a murderer from execution  by accepting “blood money”, or financial compensation. The culprit then serves  a prison sentence instead.

Human rights groups said Iran used to circumvent commitments not to execute  minors by keeping them on death row until they reached 18.

But Hassandzadeh was 17-and-a-half at the time of his hanging, Kargozaran said.

Human rights campaigners have also tried to raise the legal age of  responsibility under Iran’s Islamic legal system.

A boy is held punishable from  the age of 15 and a girl from the age of nine.

Iranis party to two international treaties that outlaw the execution of those  who were under the age of 18 at the time of their offence.

Capital crimes in the Iran include murder, rape, armed robbery, drug trafficking  and adultery.

Earlier this year Ayatollah Shahroudi ordered an end to public executions,  unless they had his special approval.

He also banned publishing pictures and  broadcasting video footage of executions.

The bans followed a spate of public executions last year which were widely  covered by the international media and provoked global condemnation.

One of the two youths given a temporary reprieve on Wednesday said he had  agreed to sign a confession without knowledge of its content after he had been  tortured.

“I am a 21-year-old, a young man who was only 16 when he entered prison. Like  any other teenager [I was] still living my children dreams,” Mohammad Feda’i  wrote in a letter obtained by Amnesty International.

“I was beaten and flogged  repeatedly… They hanged [suspended] me from the ceiling and left me with no  hope of living.”

Feda’i was convicted of a murder committed in a snooker club in 2004. Amnesty says he acted in self-defence and that he was convicted after an unfair trial.

The two treaties are the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

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3 Responses

  1. If the amount of safety and security in Iran is compared to that of the ‘free’ and safe streets of America a huge contrast can be seen. In the safest parts of town in America 10 o’clock is curfew for young and old due to extreme violence unless they dare to risk their own safety while 2 or 3 in the middle of the night is still relatively safe in the worst parts of Iran. Now the number of annual executions of Iran wouldn’t even reach the amount of street murders in a day in the entirety of America… Perhaps America can learn from its enemies.

  2. You are an idiot if you believe that you cannot stay out past 10pm anywhere in the United States. That is a horribly ignorant generalisation. In Australia for example the only place you wouldn’t visit at night are areas where there are high middle eastern (and mostly Islamic) populations.

    Would you like to explain to me how Iran executing minors even though they signed a treaty outlawing it is justified by street murders in the United States?

    And for further reference, please not that the population of the USA is over 4 times that in Iran so raw data is useless in making a comparison of any sort.

  3. […] June 2008 – Iran hangs 17-year old boy, despite the treaty agreement […]

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