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Amnesty's Protest At Juvenile Death Sentences

Amnesty's Protest At Juvenile Death Sentences

Amnesty International is deeply concerned at reports that three child offenders face imminent execution in Iran, in clear contravention of international law. The organization is urging the Iranian authorities to prevent these executions, to cease all executions of child offenders and to join the worldwide trend towards abolition of the death penalty.

Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand through its Children's Rights Network has been campaigning against the juvenile death penalty in Iran since August this year. It has conveyed to the Iranian embassy in Wellington Amnesty's deep international concern at the continuation of this practice in violation of international law and Iran's commitments under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Both these instruments, ratified by Iran, forbid the execution of offenders for crimes committed before they reach the age of eighteen years, says Children's Rights Network co-ordinator, Peter Sutton.

"Executions of child offenders also contravenes the spirit of a United Nations General Assembly resolution, co-sponsored by New Zealand, calling for a worldwide moratorium on executions, and which the United Nations is expected to adopt today," (December 18, 2007).

"This is a clear expression of the world-wide trend towards abolition of the death penalty and we urge Iran to make a start by ending juvenile executions", said Peter Sutton.

The death sentence for murder imposed on Ali Mahin Torabi, for a crime he allegedly committed at the age of 16, has been approved by the Head of the Judiciary and he may be executed within days. Similar sentences imposed on two other child offenders are reportedly before the Head of the Judiciary for approval. More than 70 other child offenders remain on death row in Iran.

The execution on 4 December of Makwan Moloudzadeh, following a grossly flawed trial, brought the total number of child offenders executed in Iran in 2007 to at least six. At least one of these was under the age of 18 at the time of execution. To date, the Iranian authorities have executed more than 300 people in 2007 a marked increase over the 177 known to have been executed in 2006.

The Iranian authorities regularly execute more child offenders than any other country they have executed at least 28 since 1990. Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are the only other countries believed to have executed a child offender this year.

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