Tthe Iranian judiciary postponed the execution of Behnoud Shojaee, a young man sentenced to death for having killed a man in a street brawl in Tehran in August 2005 when he was a 17 years old minor. He was initially scheduled to be put to death at 5:00am today (May 7th 2008).
Today, Ayatollah Shahrudi the head of the Islamic republic judiciary system gave one month to Behnoud to ask the victims family to pardon him . By shifting the responsibility of execution to the family of the victim ,when under international pressure, the Islamic Republic judiciary often tries to relieve itself from responsibility of ordering the death penalty of a juvenile.
Following a report in an Iranian newspaper, Behnoud’s death order was first brought to international attention by Stop Child Executions Campaign on December 23, 2007 which was followed by an urgent call by Amnesty International on January 8, 2008 .
In a letter to the the head of Iran’s judiciary dated April 27th 2008 , Behnoud’s new co-attorney Mohammad Mostafaei broke the news of Behnoud’s imminent execution in 10 days. Immediately SCE and Nazanin Afshin-Jam contacted Amnesty International, World Coalition Against Death Penalty, The United Nations, Canadian government and other resources in Europe.
Amnesty International quickly responded by publishing another urgent call on April 29th, 2008 which resulted in many letters worldwide being written to the Iranian officials. On May 2nd we also posted an article published in Iran’s Etemaad-Meli newspaper by Behnoud’s attorney questioning the validity of Behnoud’s execution order which was in violation of Iran’s commitment to International conventions of the rights of the child.
Thanks to the contacts with the Swedish Parliament members and the presidency of the European Union by our European liaison , Pia Atiabi, the EU presidency in a strong letter to Iranian officials demanded a halt to the execution two days prior to the scheduled execution
Many Iranians such as TV and Cinema Actors also pleaded the Iran’s judiciary and victims family to stop Behnoud’s execution.
Today we were pleased to be informed that faced with international pressure the head of Iran’s judiciary has delayed Behnoud’s execution for one month pending the victims family’s pardon. According to prevailing laws in Iran, victims’ families can either demand the implementation of the death sentence or receive blood money instead. So far the victim’s family have not been responsive to the pleas to stop execution of Behnoud.
Stop Child Executions and Nazanin Afshin-Jam , thank Behnoud’s attorneys Mohammad Mostafaei and Mohammd Oliyaee-Fard, Amnesty International, European Union and its presidency, Pia Atiabi, Iranian actors and each and every organization and individual who made a difference by making direct pleas to the Iranian officials pressuring them to abide by UN treaties, the ICCPR and CRC, to which they are state-party.
Please sign the petition to Stop Child Execution to stop Iran’s violation of children Rights. Please visit SCE news blog For further action on behalf of Behnoud and the 100+ other minors on death row at the moment