Sunday, 19 April 2009

Another young woman to be executed in Iran - tomorrow

Amnesty International are mounting a last minute attempt to prevent the execution of Delara Darabi, who faces the death sentence in Iran for a crime committed when she was 17, therefore not an adult, and of which she may even be innocent. According to Delara the murder of her father's female cousin was committed by a 19 year old boyfriend.
Delara Darabi initially confessed to the murder, but soon retracted her confession. She claims that Amir Hossein asked her to admit responsibility for the murder to protect him from execution, believing that as she was under the age of 18, she could not be sentenced to death. Hossein has reportedly received a prison sentence of 10 years for his own involvement in the crime.
The death sentence was originally passed by a lower court in Rasht, a Northern Iranian city, and has been upheld by the Iranian Supreme Court. Delara maintains her innocence, and has claimed that she was under the influence of sedatives during the burglary.
You can find a good sumary of the case at
Delara Darabi's name was the first on the Stop Child Executions petition, and her case has also been taken up vigorously by Amnesty International. A similar petition made for another Iranian minor, Nazanin Fatehi, raised more than 350,000 signatures and worldwide attention. Fatehi was subsequently found innocent and freed from prison in January 31, 2007.
As a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Iran officially undertook not to execute anyone for an offence committed when they were under the age of 18. This hasn’t stopped the executions of at least 18 children that the outside world can verify.
In 2005 alone, despite being urged in January by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child to suspend the practice immediately, at least eight child offenders were executed, including two who were still under 18 at the time of their execution.
For anyone who happens to be in London tomorrow (20th April) , a demonstration will take place between 9 AM and 11 PM outside the Iranian Embassy, 16 Princes Gate, SW7 1PT. While most can’t join that, we can at least do our bit by signing the Amnesty appeals at .

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