VERY URGENT: Shahrudi approved execution of Behnam Zare


Ayatollah Shahrudi , the head of Iran’s judiciary approved the execution of Behnam Zare. In a letter, Behnam’s attorney Mohammad Mostafei informed Stop Child Executions that the execution order of Behnam Zare was sent by Ayatollah Shahrudi to Adelabad prison in central city of Shiraz Iran and the execution can be performed at anytime.

According to Iran’s law, 48 hours before the execution the attorneys and the families must be informed, however in many circumstances the law has been violated. Mohammad Mostafaei has not yet received such notice.

SCE first reported Behnam death sentence in August of 2007 and also reported it to Amnesty International.  Soon after Amnesty issued an Urgent Action request. Nazanin Afshin-Jam also contacted the office of Ms. Louise Arbour, the High Commissioner for Human Rights at United Nations and her office ”provided the the information to the human rights mechanisms in Geneva for their attention.” . Also after learning about scheduled execution of Behnam Zare, the presidency of the European Union issued an statement, urging the Islamic regime in Iran to halt the execution. Additionally other European governments as well as the governments of Australia and Canada condemned the execution verdict.  

None of the pleas by Behnam Zare, his father and his attorney to the family of the alleged victim and to Ayatollah Shahrudi was responded and 3 years after the incident, now that Behnam has reached the age of 18, he can be hanged at any time.

Behnam Zare’ has been convicted of a murder committed when he was 15 years old, and is now at risk of imminent execution, though Iran is a state party to international treaties including the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which expressly prohibit the execution of child offenders.

The murder reportedly took place on 21 April 2005, when Behnam Zare’ swung a knife during an argument with a man named Mehrdad, wounding him in the neck. Mehrdad later died in hospital. Behnam Zare’ was detained on 13 November 2005; Branch 5 of Fars Criminal Court sentenced him to qesas (retribution) on charges of premeditated murder. Under Article 206 (b) of Iran ’s Criminal Code, murder is classed as premeditated “in cases where the murderer intentionally makes an action which is inherently lethal, even if [the murderer] does not intend to kill the person.” The case went on appeal before Branch 33 of the Supreme Court where the sentence was upheld, and it has now been passed to the Office for Implementation of Sentences.

International law strictly prohibits the use of the death penalty against people convicted of crimes committed when they were under 18. As a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the CRC, Iran has undertaken not to execute child offenders. since 1990, the ruling Islamic regime in Iran has executed at least 30 juveniles, including more than 6 in 2007. 86 youth are now recorded by SCE to be on death row in Iran for alleged crimes before the age of 18. This number may be even higher as according to the reports, at least a further 15 Afghan juvenile offenders may be under sentence of death. According to the statistics provided by an Iranian police official about 170 children (under 18 at time of alleged crime) can be facing execution in Iran. There has been a surge in processing the children’s file for execution. In the past 3 months, SCE has reported 10 imminent executions for Ali Mahin-Torabi, Mohammad Latif, Delara DarabiHossein HaghiBehnoodAliSaeed Jazee, Amir Amorollahi, Rahim Ahmadi and Mohammad Haddadi.  Earlier this month 42 European countries condemned Iran for the surge in child executions. Iran has broken the world records in 2007 with at least 297 recorded executions comparing to 177 in 2006.

As of February 2008 Stop Child Executions Campaign has recorded 91 children facing executions worldwide: 86 in Iran, 2 in Saudi Arabia, 2 in Sudan and 1 in Yemen. In 2007 at least 7 were reported to have been executed : 6 in Iran and 1 in Saudi Arabia. Three are known to have been saved from execution: 2 in Iran and 1 in Yemen.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: There is not much time left:

– Contact United Nations , your government, Iran’s embassy in your country and the media. 
– Call on the Iranian authorities to immediately halt the execution of Behnam Zare.
– Express concern that Behnam Zare was sentenced to death for a crime committed when he was under 18;
- Calling for the death sentence against Behnam to be commuted;
– Remind the authorities that Iran is a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which prohibit the use of the death penalty against people convicted of crimes committed when they were under 18, and that the execution of Behnam Zare would therefore be a violation of international law;
– Urging the authorities to pass legislation to abolish the death penalty for offences committed by anyone under the age of 18, so as to bring Iran’s domestic law into line with its obligations under international law;
– Stating that you acknowledge the right and responsibility of governments to bring to justice those children suspected of criminal
offences, but unconditionally opposes their death penalty.

Head of the Judiciary
Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
Email: (In the subject line: FAO Ayatollah Shahroudi)
Fax: +98 21 3390 4986 (please keep trying, if the called is answered, say “fax please”)

Leader of the Islamic Republic
Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei, The Office of the Supreme Leader

Director, Human Rights Headquarters of Iran
 Mohammad Javad Larijani
C/o Office of the Deputy for International Affairs
Fax: + 98 21 5 537 8827 (please keep trying)

and to diplomatic representatives of Iran accredited to your country.


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