“Justice is not served through dollar signs”: Nazanin Afshin-Jam

At 11:00 am on Tuesday, Iranian Juvenile Seyed Reza Hejazi who was only 15 at the time of an alleged crime was killed by hanging in the Isfahan prison yard by direct approval of Iran’s head of judiciary Ayatollah Shahrudi.

As state party to the Article 6 (5) of the ICCPR and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) Iran’s government is forbidden to carry out executions of those guilty of crimes below the age of 18 years. Not only does Iran’s judiciary continue to violate international laws but they even continue to violate their own laws. The heartless judiciary of the Islamic Regime in Iran did not even inform Reza Hejazi’s attorney Mohammad Mostafaei 48 hours in advance of the planned execution, as required by Iran’s own law. Informed by Reza Hejazi’s parents, Mr. Mostafaei traveled to the city of Isfahan and inquired about the execution. He was assured by the authorities that Reza’s execution was halted but on his way back to the city of Tehran he was notified that Amir was executed. Exactly at the same time that they blatantly lied to Mr. Mostafaei, they were preparing Reza’s execution which happed an hour later.

Before Reza’s execution, his attorney Mohammad Mostafaei in a phone interview complained about the lack of due process and proper notification -which is the most basic human right of a prisoner before execution. He said: ” The only authority who can really order a halt to all child executions is Iran’s head of judiciary, Ayatollah Shahrudi.” . He added :”They did not even give us time to properly mediate with the victim’s family… …Unfortunately I don’t understand why they have such a rush to exercise the executions faster than other verdicts…I don’t understand what is the benefit to them in rushing to implement executions?!”. In his blog after news of Amir’s execution he wrote: ” I have a lot to say from the fact that Amir’s execution was not communicated to me, to why the prison authorities misinformed me about their intent to that fact that Reza did not deserve to die”

After hearing the sad news, Nazanin Afshin Jam , the co-founder and the president of Stop Child Executions said: “I  can’t express how terribly sad I was this morning when I received news of Reza Hejazi’s execution. I can’t imagine how his family must be feeling at the tragic loss of their son especially since there was so much injustice leading up to his execution. It is that much more painful knowing that those others implicated in the fight that lead to the death of Vahid Sadeghian, had enough money to “buy their life” while Reza did not have such an opportunity. Justice is not served through dollar signs. Justice is when someone serves time in order to reflect their wrongdoing and become rehabilitated to the point where they are no longer a threat to society.”

Unfortunately SCE team had less than 16 hours to act. We even contacted UN authorities but considering the time difference with Iran and the UN working hours there was just not enough time.

Stop Child Execution has been documenting all child executions and every case of injustice with the name of the judges and those directly responsible. Someday Iran’s officials and judiciary themselves will stand trial for their violation of children and human rights and their crimes against humanity.