Iran: The last executioner of children
June 27, 2007
Index Number: MDE 13/059/2007
How Iran was left behind
The international consensus against executing child offenders reflects the widespread recognition that because of children’s immaturity, impulsiveness, vulnerability and capacity for rehabilitation, their lives should never be written off – however heinous the crimes of which they are convicted. The guiding principle must be to maximize a child offender’s potential for eventual reintegration into society. Execution is the ultimate denial of this principle.
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which provides in Article 6: "Sentence of death shall not be imposed for crimes committed by persons below eighteen years of age"; and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which provides in Article 37, "Neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without the possibility of release shall be imposed for offences committed by persons below eighteen years of age".
Iran is a state party to both treaties. It is therefore obliged to uphold their provisions and report periodically on the measures it has taken to give effect to the treaties.
Only three other countries have executed child offenders in the past three years, according to information received by Amnesty International. In three years, Iran executed more child offenders than all the other countries combined.
2005 – Sudan executed two child offenders. Iran executed eight.
2007 – Iran is, at the time of writing (May), the only country known to have executed a child offender.
Amnesty International is publishing this report in order to draw international attention to this grave and long-standing violation of human rights and to support the valiant efforts being made in Iran by Iranians to stop child executions and to secure a complete end to the use of the death penalty for child offenders.
Open letter from Delara Darabi’s father
11 January 2007
Urgently revise the draft Juvenile Crimes Investigation Act to ensure that it explicitly prohibits the execution of those convicted of crimes committed before they reached the age of 18, including those sentenced to qesas for murder or to death for hodoud crimes that carry the death penalty. This would bring the law into line with Iran’s obligations under the ICCPR and the CRC not to execute children and child offenders. Review all legislation in Iran under which a convicted person may be killed by the state, with the immediate aim of progressively restricting the scope of the death penalty, and with a view to the eventual abolition of the death penalty. Revise Iranian legislation to ensure that anyone facing judicial execution by the state can seek pardon or commutation of their sentence, in line with Iran’s obligations under Article 6(4) of the ICCPR.
Immediately implement a moratorium on all executions of those convicted of crimes committed before they were 18 until legislation is passed that bans such executions. Instruct all judges responsible for the implementation of sentences to ensure that no child offender facing a final death sentence already signed by the Head of the Judiciary is executed.
To the Supreme Leader
Commute all death sentences where pardon or commutation may be sought.
To the Minister of Foreign Affairs
Facilitate as a matter of priority the outstanding request from the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions to visit Iran.
Press the Iranian authorities to announce an immediate moratorium on all executions of those aged under 18 at the time of the crime, including those sentenced to qesas for murder, with a view to abolition.
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