Iran Human rights
Soghra Najafpour (31) has been sentenced to death by a court in the city of Rasht (by the Caspian sea) for a crime she has allegedly committed at the age of 13, reported the Iranian daily newspaper Etemaad today.
At the age of nine, Soghra Najafpour was sent by her family to work as a servant in a doctor’s home in the northern city of Rasht. Four years later she was accused of the murder of Amir, the eight-year-old son of the family. Soghra Najafpour reportedly confessed to the murder during interrogation; soon afterwards, however, she denied that she was involved.
Under the trial she had said that the real murder was a man who used to sexually abuse her. One day while the man (who according to unconfirmed sources is Amir’s father) was abusing her, Amir entered the room and witnessed the crime. In an attempt to get rid of him, the man pushed the young boy away, and that is how young Amir hit his head to the wall, fell to the ground, and lost consciousness. The boy was then thrown into a well. She also said that she wasn’t physically capable of carrying Amir and throwing him into the well.
The man didn’t confess to Soghra’s version of the story. But based on Soghra’s confession, the judge sentenced her to 100 lashes for immoral acts!
Nevertheless she was sentenced to death, as the judge did not believe her to be innocent. At the age of 17, Soghra Najafpour was taken to be executed, but the victim’s mother requested the authorities to postpone the execution to a later time.
Since Amir’s family didn’t take further steps to carry out Soghra’s death sentence, Soghra was released from jail on bail in October 2007. After reviewing the materials and evidence in Soghra’s case, Judge Teimori, head of Rasht’s criminal court, approved Soghra’s release on a bail corersponding to $6,000.
When Amir’s parents learned of Soghra’s freedom, they once again requested the court to ensure Soghra’s execution.
She was transferred to the jail few weeks later. On 23 October, the human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh who is defending Soghra, submitted an appeal to the Supreme Court calling for a review of the case of Soghra Najafpour. The Supreme Court decided to send the case to another court for reconsideration.
The court has now once again sentenced Soghra Najafpour to death.
If the sentence is approved by the supreme court, the 31 years old Soghra who has spent 19 years in jail will be facing execution for an alleged crime at the age of 13.