Saturday, 2 May 2009

Another day, another child executed in Iran

Delara Darabi was hanged in Rasht Central Prison, Iran, earlier today, becoming the second person to be executed in Iran this year after being convicted of a crime alleged to have been committed while the accused was under 18. She was executed despite being given a two-month stay of execution by the Head of the Judiciary on 19 April.
I covered the background to this case last month at for those who want the fine detail. Suffice to say it’s pretty sick, if nothing more than we’ve come to expect from a government of rug-butting throwbacks who seem to hate most of humanity, and women in particular. Significantly, the courts refused to consider new evidence that her lawyer said would have proved she could not have committed the murder.
Amnesty International has expressed outrage, more politely than I ever could, that another child offender was executed despite an international ban on capital punishment of those convicted of crimes committed when under the age of 18.
Amnesty International Middle East and North Africa Programme Deputy Director Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui said:
'Amnesty International is outraged at the execution of Delara Darabi, and particularly at the news that her lawyer was not informed about the execution, despite the legal requirement that he should receive 48 hours' notice.
'This appears to have been a cynical move on the part of the authorities to avoid domestic and international protests which might have saved Delara Darabi's life.
"This indicates that even decisions by the Head of the Judiciary carry no weight and are disregarded in the provinces.'

The execution brings to at least 140 the number of executions in Iran so far this year. She is the second woman known to have been executed in 2009 and the second child offender.
Since 1990 Iran has executed at least 42 child offenders, eight of them in 2008 and one on 21 January 2009. These executions went ahead in total disregard of international law, which unequivocally bans the execution of those convicted of crimes committed when under the age of 18.
If you’re in London on 6th May you can join Amnesty International at the Iranian Embassy to lay flowers in memory of Delara. That’s happening from 4.00pm - 6.00pm, and the Iranian Embassy is at 16 Princes Gate London SW7 1PT.
Please wear black; Amnesty is providing flowers.

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