55 Iranian attorneys and advocates demand an end to child executions

In a letter to Parliament of Islamic Republic and Head of judiciary Ayatollah Shahrudi, 55 Attorneys and children right activists in Iran demanded a halt to execution of persons under the 18 years of age until the passage of the new parliamentary bill which is supposed to stop this practice.  

After reference to Iran’s penal age (9 lunar years for girls and 15 lunar years for boys) the letter recalled Iran’s obligation to comply with Article 6.5 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the article 37(a) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) which prohibit execution of children.

Letter states that the preliminary approval of the parliamentary bill last year created much hope among the human right advocates however the lengthy delay in its passage as well as few parts of the bill such as exceptions in the cases of Ghisas (where family of victim is given the right to determine the life and death) has caused much worries.   

The letter continues that a 9 year old girl is not able to predict the consequences of her actions the same as an adult. The signors specifically asked Ayatollah Shahrudi to stop final approval of the executions orders until passage of this bill (At least 3 cases were approved by Shahrudi in 2007. two children were executed and Behnam Zare is awaiting execution)

The Iranian children right lawyers and activists also stated that there has not been any opposition to the passage of this bill by the religious leaders and therefore have asked Iran’s parliament to speed up the passage of this bill and additionally assure that no child alleged of a crime below 18 years of age will ever be executed including the Quisas cases. 

In conclusion the letter states that Iran’s legislative and judiciary must consider the advanced penal laws of today’s world and to seriously stop and prevent approval of any laws or verdicts in any form and titles such as (Islamic sharia laws of) Hodud, Ghisas and Taziaat that lead to execution of a child. The letter further asks that the Iranian youth who have committed a crime due to social and economic circumstances to be given another chance to rebuild their character and to return to a healthy life.

“Seek a solution to this intricate which has assigned the life and death of citizens to the decision of another”  The letter concludes.

Nobel prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, Sina Paymard’s attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh, Nazanin Fatehi’s co-attorney Shadi Sadr and Mohammad Mostafai who represents many children such as Reza Alinejad and Behnam Zare are few of the names seen among the 55 signatories.