Mohammad Reza Haddadi (15) to be executed on Thursday

October 8th in parts of the world including Iran is the Day of the Child. Article 37(a) of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, signed by Iran , states that no capital punishment shall be imposed for offences committed by persons below eighteen years of age.

Islamic regime in Iran is planning to execute Mohammad Reza Haddadi, one day after the Day of the Child, for an alleged crime at the age of 15. The execution is scheduled after direct order of head of Iran’s judiciary Ayatollah Shahrudi.

Iran is the only country in the world who has executed juveniles in 2008. So far at least 6 juveniles are known to have been executed this year. Yesterday Stop Child Executions  released the most comprehensive list of recommendations ever published for ending the practice of juvenile executions in Iran. The document was accompanied with a list of 140 Iranian children facing death penalty in Iran. SCE has requested the UN to immediately create a task force to address the child executions in Iran and to hold the government of Iran responsible and subject to disciplinary action by the international community:

Mohammad Reza Haddadi, aged 18, is held in Adelabad prison in the city of Shiraz. He was sentenced to death in January 2004 by a court in Kazeroun for the murder of a man in 2003. He had confessed to the murder, but retracted the confession during his trial, saying he had claimed responsibility for the killing because his two co-defendants had offered his family money if he did so. Mohammad Reza Haddadi stated during the trial that he had not taken part in murder of a man who had offered him and the two others a lift in his car. The two others later supported Mohammad Reza Haddadi’s claims of innocence, and withdrew their testimony that implicated him in the murder. His co-defendants, both over 18 at the time of the crime, are said to have received lesser sentences. However, in July 2005, a branch of the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence against Mohammad Reza Haddadi and later authorized by Ayatollah Shahroudi, the Head of Iran’s Judiciary.

Stop Child Executions, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and many others worldwide have demanded a halt to executions of Mohammad Reza Haddadi.

Stop Child Executions recognizes the right and responsibility of governments to bring to justice those suspected of criminal offenses, but is opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances especially for those person guilty of crimes committed before the age of 18.

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