Tag Archives: legal and reports

From cradle to coffin: child executions In Iran

(2023: Video has now been set to private by the owner – https://www.youtube.com/v/9Am9Q-kpR7w)

LOCATION Portcullis House, London

SPEAKER UK Foreign Office Minister, Ivan Lewis

DATE June 30, 2009

Many thanks for inviting me here tonight to mark the launch of the Stop Child Executions report into juvenile executions in Iran.

The launch of this report is timely: we have all been watching with concern the aftermath to the election in Iran. We have said repeatedly that we do not want to interfere in Iran’s internal affairs: it is for Iranians to decide who should govern them.

But with our EU partners we have condemned the arrest and detention of peaceful demonstrators and journalists. People everywhere in the world have the right to express their views freely and peacefully.

We must continue to speak out when we see such tragic events, particularly given that Iran’s human rights record is a cause for concern to us all.

The plight of the 130 children currently on death row throughout Iran is just one such concern that must remain at the very forefront of all our minds.

No doubt you will all remember what you were doing early on the morning of the 1 May, when you learned of the tragic news that Delara Darabi had been put to death, hanged for a crime she was accused of committing when she was just 17.

Despite six years of tireless campaigning for her release by the international community, led by Stop Child Executions, Delara was executed suddenly and without warning. Neither her family nor her lawyer was told until it was too late.

It is a fitting tribute that Delara’s artwork adorns the cover of this pamphlet.

Unfortunately her death is the latest in a terribly long list. Iran has executed at least forty juvenile offenders since 1999, and is one of the only countries to continue this unacceptable practice.

Such acts are simply wrong.

They are also in clear violation of internationally accepted norms and legal standards. The Iranian government must know this, not least because it has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and actively participated in the drafting of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Both unequivocally prohibit the use of the death penalty against people convicted of crimes committed under the age of 18.

The Iranian government has committed themselves to protecting and enshrining the rights contained within. They have also agreed to hold themselves accountable before the international community.

The UK Government is determined to help that happen. Alongside our EU partners we are committed to speaking out publically against the death penalty wherever it is applied, and make representations on behalf of each and every juvenile at risk of execution.

Over the last eighteen months we, alongside our EU partners, have made direct representations to the Iranian authorities on behalf of juveniles facing the noose.

And international pressure has made a difference. In many cases they have been issued a stay of execution.

Yet this is not enough.  Words are not enough.  And the present situation  has made it even harder for us to get our message across.

The international community and civil society has a role to play.  We are strongest when we work together.

That is why the work of organisations such as Stop Child Executions is so important.

Not only do they provide valuable information for the outside world, they provide hope and support to the victims and their families, and also to millions of Iranians who are campaigning for their government to abolish juvenile executions for good.

I am extremely encouraged by the publication of this comprehensive report.  It provides irrefutable evidence as to the situation on the ground and makes many excellent recommendations for both Iran and the international community to take forward.

Importantly, the report highlights the many legal inconsistencies in Iran’s judiciary and stark contradictions between its actions and its human rights commitments.

Reports such as this are particularly important as Iran prepares to stand before the UN’s Universal Period Review in 2010.

The UN’s “UPR” process is an increasingly effective mechanism used to examine member States’ human rights records.  The UK government is committed to engaging with the process and hope we can work together with organisations such as SCE and the Foreign Policy Centre to make that happen.

Publications and events like this serve to remind the Iranian authorities that the eyes of the world are on them. Their actions do not go unnoticed.

In conclusion, I want to thank the authors of this report for doing just that.

And for reminding us all here tonight just how far Iran really is from implementing its freely undertaken human rights commitments, and why we must all continue to work together to fight for the rights of those who are denied a voice.

Source: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/newsroom/latest-news/?view=Speech&id=20448954

Launch of child executions report for policy makers and activists….

Report Launch: ‘From Cradle to Coffin: A Report on Child Executions in Iran’

Date: Tuesday 30th June, 6pm

Venue: Thatcher Room, Portcullis House, Houses of Parliament

Speakers include:

Bill Rammell MP, Minister of State with responsibility for the Middle East, Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Nazanin Afshin-Jam, President of Stop Child Executions

Geraldine Van Bueren, Professor of International Human Rights Law, Queen Mary, University of London

Tom Porteous, Director, Human Rights Watch UK

Chair: Alistair Carmichael MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Abolition of the Death Penalty

The Foreign Policy Centre, in partnership with Stop Child Executions, is hosting the launch of a major new report entitled, ‘From Cradle to Coffin: A Report on Child Executions in Iran’ written by Stop Child Executions and Tahirih Danesh. The report aims to provide a comprehensive documentation and analysis of Islamic Republc of Iran’s executions of minors since the 1979 Revolution. It will highlight inconsistencies in the Iranian legal system, as well as contradictions between Iran’s record of executing minors and its international human rights commitments. The report will put forward clear recommendations for action by the international community and human rights campaigners. Hard copies of the Report will be available free of charge at this event.

If you would like to attend the event or want further

information please send an email to: events@fpc.org.uk

نامه به آیت الله شاهرودی در باره اعدام دلارا دارابی

Here is the Persian translation of the SCE letter to Ayatollah Sharudi about Delara darabi , demanding those responsible for her illegal execution to be brought to justice. It will be much more effective if the letter is send to addresses listed below in Persian. (you can copy paste it). The English text can be found here:  http://scenews.blog.com/4938967/ 

ریاست قوه قضاییه  

آیت الله محمود هاشمی شاهرودی

دفتر روابط عمومی

 خیابان خوش زبان شماره ۵۷، خیابان پاستور نبش

تهران، ایران

info@dadiran.ir :  ایمیل


نامه سرگشاده به آیت الله شاهرودی در باره اعدام دلارا دارابی


سازمان نوجوانان را اعدام نکنید  نامه زیر را در رابطه با اعدام دلارا دارابی به آیت الله شاهرودی رئیس قوه قضاییه  ارسال داشته و از وی پیگرد رسمی مسببین قتل غیر قانونی دلارا را خواستار شد


برای جلوگیری از تکرار این گونه بی‌ عدالتی‌ها می بایست شدیدا خواستار عملکرد در مقابل اینگونه رفتار ضد بشری باشیم . ما از همگان تقاضا داریم که این نامه یا نامه‌هایی‌ مشابه را با نام خود به دفتر و آدرس آیت الله شاهرودی و دیگر مسؤلان ارسال نمایید. لطفا همچنین این نامه‌ را در سایت‌ها و وبلاگهای اینترنتی درج و به ایمیل آدرس‌های خود ارسال فرمایید و از دیگران نیز بخواهید که این کار را تکرار کنند


به نام خداوند بخشنده مهربان  ( برگرفته از قرآ ن)


حضرت آیت الله شاهرودی ریاست قوه قضاییه جمهوری اسلامی ایران


خبر ناگهانی اعدام دوشیزه دلارا دارابی در زندان شهر رشت پرسشهای بسیاری برای افکار مردم دلسوز ایران و جهان برنگیخت. علا رغم دستور رسمی‌ شما مبنی بر توقف دو ماهه اعدام دلارا دارابی و بدون آگاهی‌ قبلی‌ به خانواده و وکلای مدافع وی ، در اولین ساعت‌های روز آدینه ۱۱ اردیبهشت ماه  ۱۳۸۸ دلارا دارابی به دار آویخته شد


بنا به قوانین رسمی‌ جهوری اسلامی ایران نوجوانانی که محکوم به مرگ میباشند تنها پس از دادن خبر و اخطار ۴۸ ساعته  رسمی‌ به خانواده و وکلای مدافع و تنها در حضور آنان میبایست اعدام شوند. اما در مورد دلارا هیچ یک از این شرایط مراعات نشد


حضرت آیت الله شاهرودی


گیریم که جمهوری اسلامی ایران علیرغم ‌ تصویب رسمی‌ دو قرارداد سازمان ملل در باره حقوق کودکان و حقوق زندانیان که مورد تایید شورای نگهبان نیز رسیده، هیچ گونه مسئولیت نداشته و میتواند نوجوانانی را که قبل از ۱۸ سالگی جرمی‌ مرتکب جرم شده ا‌ند اعدام کند


گیریم جمهوری اسلامی ایران هیچ گونه مسئولیتی ندارد که به قوانین بین‌المللی همانند قوانین خودش احترام بگذارد ولو اینکه این قوانین مورد تایید مجلس جمهوری اسلامی قرار گرفته باشد


گیریم که نشست نخستین دادگاه دلارا دارابی که بدون حضور وکیل مدافع وی تشکیل و به کار خود ادامه داد کاری قانونی بوده است


گیریم که اختصاص فقط چند ساعت از وقت دادگاه برای تعیین و تصمیم گیری برای مرگ یا زندگی یک دختر جوان کافی‌ بود


گیریم که اعتراف نخستین که از دلارا دارابی گرفته شده بود صحت داشت و یک دختر نوجوان ۱۷ ساله وحشتزده و پریشان را نباید از عواقب حقوقی اینگونه اعتراف و خود گناههکاری قبل از گرفتن آن آگاهی‌  میدادند     


گیریم که ۵ سال اصرار دلارای افسرده در زندان که کماکان تا پای دار به بی‌ گناهی خویش اصرار میورزید هیچ اهمیتی نداشت


گیریم که دلارا دارابی هرگز حق قانونی برای تجدید نظر را نداشت تا شاید بتواند با بازسازی صحنه قتل ثابت کند که آیا اصلا ممکن بود که دختری کوچک جثه و چپ دست چنین جنایتی را مرتکب شود یا نه


گیریم که دلارا دارابی اصلأ بدون هیچ شک و تردیدی قاتل و مجرم بود و سن کم ۱۷ سالۀ او نیز هیچ اهمیتی در تخفیف صدور حکم اعدام برایش نمیتوانست داشته باشد


گیریم که که حکم رسمی‌ شما بعنوان رئیس دیوان عالی‌ کشور مبنی بر ۲ ماه تعلیق در اجرای حکم اعدام در مورد دلارا دارابی هیچ اهمیتی برای قضات پایین تر، مسئولین زندان و مجریان حکم اعدام در شهر رشت نداشت


گیریم که خانواده مقتول یک روز قبل از اعدام اصرار به اجرای فوری اعدام دلارا دارابی  کردند


گیریم که تکرار بیشمار واژه “بخشنده و مهربان” که سر آغاز هر سوره قرآن که کتاب مقدس مسلمانان است هیچ ربطی‌ به سرنوشت دلارا دارابی نداشت


گیریم که تمامی ۱۱ نکته درج شده در بالا صحت داشته ، ولی آیا


طبق قوانین جمهوری اسلامی ایران، آیا این حق قانونی دلارا دارابی نبود که قبل از اعدام او، به خانواده و وکیلش ۴۸ ساعت فرصت و اطلاع رسمی‌ بدهند؟

دست کم و به عنوان یک انسان، یک مسلمان و یک ایرانی‌ و بنا به قوانین جمهوری اسلامی ایران آیا دلارا دارابی این حق را داشت که درهنگام اعدام، خانواده و یکی از وکلایش حضور داشته باشند؟


در روز اعدام دلارا دارابی آیا قوانین جمهوری اسلامی ایران پامال شد  یا نه؟


 چرا فردی چون دلارا در پیش قانون بخاطر قتل مسؤل شناخته میشود در صورتیکه آنان که اقدام به قتل غیر قانونی دلارا شدند هنوزدر مقابل قانون مسوول شناخته نشده اند؟


 آیا باید قوانین درج شده جمهوری اسلامی ایران مورد اجرأ قرار گیرد یا این که این قوانین تنها کلمات و نوشتاری هستند که هر مقام رسمي‌ با نام و لباسی میتواند آنها را زیرپا بگذارد؟


حضرت آیت الله ، بعنوان رئیس قوه قضاییه  ، اگر انتظار دارید که ایرانیان به قوانین احترام گذاشته و به آن طبق مندرجات آن عمل کنند و هنگام قانون شکنی مسوول شناخته شوند، پس در آن صورت آنان که مسؤل قتل غیر قانونی  دلارا دارابی بودند نیز باید تحت پیگرد و مجازات قانونی قرار گیرند


با احترام،


سازمان نوجوانان را اعدام نکنید

Head of the Judiciary

Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi

c/o Director, Judiciary Public Relations and Information Office

Ardeshir Sadiq

Judiciary Public Relations and Information Office

No. 57, Pasteur St., corner of Khosh Zaban Avenue

Tehran, Iran

Email:               info@dadiran.ir  (In the subject line write: FAO Ayatollah Shahroudi)

Salutation:        Your Excellency


Judiciary spokesperson

Alireza Jamshidi

Howzeh Riyasat-e Qoveh Qazaiyeh / Office of the Head of the Judiciary

Pasteur St, Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e Jomhuri

Tehran 1316814737, Iran

Email:              info@a-jamshidi.ir

Salutation:        Dear Sir



Leader of the Islamic Republic

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

Islamic Republic Street – End of Shahid Keshvar Doust Street, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Email:               info_leader@leader.ir

via website: http://www.leader.ir/langs/en/index.php?p=letter (English)

http://www.leader.ir/langs/fa/index.php?p=letter (Persian)

Salutation:                           Your Excellency       


Director, Human Rights Headquarters of Iran

Mohammad Javad Larijani

Howzeh Riyasat-e Qoveh Qazaiyeh / Office of the Head of the Judiciary

Pasteur St, Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e Jomhuri

Tehran 1316814737, Iran

Fax:                        +98 21 3390 4986 (please keep trying)

Email:                    info@dadgostary-tehran.ir (In the subject line write: FAO Javad Larijani)

Salutation:          Dear Mr Larijani

and to diplomatic representatives of Iran accredited to your country.

ACTION CALL: Letter to Ayatollah Shahrudi about Delara Darabi

Stop Child Executions has sent the following letter about Delara Darabi to Iran’s head of judiciary, Ayatollah Shahrudi asking him to bring those responsible for Delara’s illegal execution to justice. 

To prevent repeat of such injustices we must strongly demand accountability for such inhumane actions. 

We ask everyone to also send this or similar demand with your name to the office of Ayatollah Shahrudi and others addresses listed below as soon as possible.  Please also post it on different internet sites and send to your email list and ask to be forwarded. We will also post and send the letter in Persian after translation. 

“In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate”             

                    Quote from Quran 


Your Excellency Ayatollah Shahrudi, the head of Judiciary of the Islamic Republic of Iran: 

The unexpected news of the execution of Ms. Delara Darabi in the prison of city of Rasht has raised many questions in the minds of the caring citizens of Iran and the world.

Despite your official order for a two month stay of the execution and without any prior notice to her family or attorneys, in the early morning hours of Friday May 1, 2009 Delara Darabi was hanged.

According to official laws of the Islamic Republic, Iranian juveniles convicted to death sentence only after 48 hours official notice to the family and attorneys and only in their presence can be executed; however neither of these requirements was met in the case of Delara Darabi.

Your Excellency Ayatollah Shahrudi:

Presuming that the Islamic Republic despite its official ratifications of the both UN Conventions of the Rights of the Child and the Rights of Prisoners which had also been approved by Iran’s Guardian Council has no obligation in their implementations and can execute those juveniles who have committed a crime before the age of 18:

Presuming that the Islamic Republic of Iran has no obligation to respect the international laws as its own after they have already been approved by the Iranian parliament:

Presuming that it was legal and just that the initial court hearing of Delara Darabi continued its session without the presence of her first attorney:

Presuming that a few hours of court time were sufficient enough to decide the life or death of a young girl:

Presuming that the initial confession that was taken from Delara Darabi was true and a scared 17 year old minor should not have been made aware of her self-incrimination rights and consequences of such confession before obtaining it:

Presuming that the five years that Delara languished in prison, claiming her innocence until the end had no weighted significance:

Presuming that Delara Darabi had no legal appeal rights for reconstruction of the murder scene to establish whether or not this small framed left-handed girl committed the offence or not:

Presuming that Delara Darabi was guilty of murder beyond a reasonable doubt and her 17 years of age had no bearing on the death penalty verdict:

Presuming that your official order as the head of the judiciary to grant a two month stay of execution for Delara Darabi had no significance to the lower judges, prison officials and the executioner in the city of Rasht:

Presuming that the victim’s family insisted on Delara Darabi’s immediate execution the day before she was hung:

Presuming that the numerously repeated words of “merciful and compassionate” in the very beginning of every chapter of the Muslim holy book Quran had no relevance to Delara Darabi’s fate:

Presuming all of the above 11 points:

  • In accordance to the laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran was it not Delara Darabi’s right, for her family and attorney to be given 48 hours official notice before her execution?
  • And at the very least as a human, a Muslim and an Iranian and according to the laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran did Delara Darabi have the right to have her family and attorney present at the time of hanging?
  • On the day of the hanging of Delara Darabi were the laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran violated or not?
  • Why is one like Delara held responsible before the law for murder while the others responsible for her illegal execution are not?
  • Should the written laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran be implemented or are they simply written words that can be violated by anyone with an official title or clothing?

Your Excellency, as the head of the judiciary if you expect Iranians to respect and act according to the written laws and be held responsible when the laws are broken, then also those who were responsible for the illegal execution of Delara Darabi should be brought to justice. 


Stop Child Executions


Head of the Judiciary

Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi

c/o Director, Judiciary Public Relations and Information Office

Ardeshir Sadiq

Judiciary Public Relations and Information Office

No. 57, Pasteur St., corner of Khosh Zaban Avenue

Tehran, Iran

Email:               info@dadiran.ir  (In the subject line write: FAO Ayatollah Shahroudi)

Salutation:        Your Excellency


Judiciary spokesperson

Alireza Jamshidi

Howzeh Riyasat-e Qoveh Qazaiyeh / Office of the Head of the Judiciary

Pasteur St, Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e Jomhuri

Tehran 1316814737, Iran

Email:              info@a-jamshidi.ir

Salutation:        Dear Sir



Leader of the Islamic Republic

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

Islamic Republic Street – End of Shahid Keshvar Doust Street, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Email:               info_leader@leader.ir

via website: http://www.leader.ir/langs/en/index.php?p=letter (English)

http://www.leader.ir/langs/fa/index.php?p=letter (Persian)

Salutation:                           Your Excellency       


Director, Human Rights Headquarters of Iran

Mohammad Javad Larijani

Howzeh Riyasat-e Qoveh Qazaiyeh / Office of the Head of the Judiciary

Pasteur St, Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e Jomhuri

Tehran 1316814737, Iran

Fax:                        +98 21 3390 4986 (please keep trying)

Email:                    info@dadgostary-tehran.ir (In the subject line write: FAO Javad Larijani)

Salutation:          Dear Mr Larijani

and to diplomatic representatives of Iran accredited to your country.


Iran’s Presidential candidate Karoubi calls for an end to child executions

Karoubi and hardline editor clash over execution of minors

Washington, 30 April (WashingtonTV)—Presidential candidate and National Trust Party chairman, Mehdi Karoubi, on Thursday blasted an opinion column published yesterday in Iran’s hardline Kayhan newspaper, which accused him of being a mouthpiece for Israel, after he called for an end to the execution of minors accused of serious crimes, Saham news website reports.

“These are the howls of the new mafia which I hear from the mouth of Kayhan,” Karoubi said in response to Kayhan’s accusation in its Goft-o-Shenoud [gossip] column, that he was repeating “gibberish” put in his mouth by the “foot soldiers of the Zionist regime [Israel].”

In a note published on Monday, Kayhan asked, which minor has been sent to the death squad in our country, causing Mr. Karoubi, “the Sheikh of reforms”, to cry “oh executions”?
In another piece in Kayhan’s opinion column, which many Iranian media analysts believe is written by the paper’s editor, Hossein Shariatmadari, Karoubi is said to be an illiterate person.
Reacting to Kayhan, Saham news – the official news website of the National Trust Party – reports that Karoubi viewed Shariatmadari’s insults as directed toward scholars of Islam and Islamic jurisprudence, who, following the innovative [Persian: ijtihadi = independent interpretation and reasoning based on sacred text scholarly] vision of the imam [Ayatollah Khomeini] and taking into account issues of time and place, have called for commuting [death] sentences] against minors.
First among these Islamic scholars is Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi-Shahroudi, Iran’s Judiciary chief, Karroubi said, adding that Shariatmadari “says everyone is illiterate. These are the howls of the new mafia, which I hear from the mouth of Kayhan. Of course, we hope that someday the market of one and all inquisitors will be shut, but of course, according to these people, talk of pardoning convicts is gibberish,” he said.
Sources: Saham news, Kayhan newspaper

© WashingtonTV 2009. All rights reserved.

Steps by parliament towards an end to child executions in Iran?

Source: Deutsche Welle http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,4207804,00.html


The Iranian Parliament’s Special Rapporteur on Legal Rights Amir Hossein Rahimi announced a verdict that “Hudud” crimes and “ghesas” crimes retribution will not carry the death penalty for those who have committed an offence before the age of 18 years.

(to understand more about “Hadd” and “Ghesas” see here:  )


According to a report by Iran’s state sponsored news agency, IRNA, Special Rapporteur Amir Hossein Rahimi said that they are working on a bill written for the commission of the Islamic Penal Code. A portion of the bill deals with the issue of executions of those who have committed an offence before the age of 18. According to this bill, if there is any doubt about the mental capacity and physical capacity of the offender under 18 years, the punishment of execution for Hadd and Ghesas will not be carried out. This bill is being sent for final approval by the Assembly of Experts.


“Approval of this bill is an important breakthrough” said Amin Hossein Rahimi, “because currently children (9 year old girls and 15 year old boys) are considered adults under Shari’a law. If they have not reached their 18th birthday and there is doubt about their mental and physical age, they will not be punished with retribution.  Rahimi said this bill is among other things that was produced and brought forward to the  Head of Judiciary Ayatollah Hashemi Shahourdi


Attorney and Sociologist Dr. Mohammad Seifzadeh said in an interview with Deutsche Welle “Child Rights have been accepted by Iran, establishing a child below the age of 18 years and therefore not criminally responsible for their actions below that age”.

According to Seifzadeh, “By acknowledging this point of view in the bill, parliament has taken a positive step forward but the law which differentiates punishment between adults and children and the establishment of a juvenile court was approved 49 years ago in Iran (1339). Seifzadeh said he has issues with all Islamic laws and expressed this in a conference before the Center for Human Rights Defenders, whom he is one of the founders.

He believes all Islamic law must be changed to reflect and represent today’s time and standards. He believes that there are many different interpretations of Islamic law by different leaders, philosophers and Islamic lawmakers which proves that the laws must be changed to be in accordance to the present time.

Seifzadeh says that the laws created after the Revolution are generally dubious, weak, aggressive and controversial. He suggests Iran abide by their obligations to international promises and follow in accordance to international treaties which they have signed. Seifzadeh suggests that Iran has no other choice but to change the laws because the regime has gradually understood that executions and other harsh punishments do not reduce crimes.


Interviewer: Keivandokht Ghahari

Writer: Farid Vahidi.

Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi issued national call to action called “Stop Child Executions”

Source: http://www.iranhumanrights.org/2009/04/dhrcaction/

National Call to Action by The Defenders of Human Rights Center


Stop Child Executions

The Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC) has issued a national call to action titled: “Stop Child Executions” demanding the end to child and juvenile executions. This national call to action is the third of such nationally focused efforts spearheaded by the Defenders of Human Rights Center and follows the convening of the “Committee to Defend Free, Healthy and Fair Elections” in August 2007 and the “National Council on Peace” in November of 2007 by this human rights NGO. The Defenders of Human Rights Center aims to increase public awareness and due attention among experts to this important issue, with the aim of identifying suggestions and strategies for ending the practice of child executions in Iran. This call to action has been issued while keeping in mind religious teachings in Islam and asks officials within the judiciary, the executive branch and the legislative branch to defend the right to life of children by taking steps to end the punishment of execution for child and juvenile offenders. The national call to action to “Stop Child Execution” will commence activities on the 19th of April, 2009. The text of the National Call to Action to Stop Child Executions is provided below:

Stop Child Executions: A National Call to Action

Every society has the right to defend the rights of its citizens against criminals and in so doing devise an appropriate response. This response should be devised based on the law, which needs to be developed based on a collective wisdom and reasoning.

From long ago, in various societies, the concept of taking responsibility for criminal actions has come to be an accepted norm. However it too is norm that those who commit crimes need to have the mental capacity and mental growth necessary to understand the consequences of their actions. As such those who do not benefit from sufficient mental capacity or who have not reached the age of adulthood and sufficient maturity necessary for such an understanding are not fit to be punished. Given this concept, many countries have signed onto international protocols that seek to protect the right to life of juvenile offenders who are under the age of eighteen. Furthermore, these countries have ensured that individuals under the age of 18 who commit crimes do not receive sentences of execution.

Statistics demonstrate that in the year 2005 only five countries in the world implemented the death penalty for juveniles under the age of eighteen.  These minors have received the death penalty either as children or as teenagers.  Further, the sentences of execution for these juveniles have been=2 0implemented either in their teenage years or these juveniles are awaiting their eighteenth birthday after which their sentence of execution will be implemented.

Unfortunately in the past decade our country, Iran, has been one of the main countries responsible for issuing death sentences to juvenile offender guilty of criminal offenses.

The Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC) believes that death sentences for juveniles under 18 years of age not only constitute injustice to the children of this land, but creates a violent and inhuman impression of Iran across the world.  As such, the Defenders of Human Rights Center has issued a national call to “Stop Child Executions.”

It should be noted that the Iranian government is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as well as the Convention on the Rights of the Child. All three of these international agreements stress the need for all countries to end the execution of children under the age of eighteen.

The Defenders of Human Rights Center believes that the execution of minors as a social issue requires legal awareness designed to change the law, the need to adopt preventive and straightforward legal measures supportive of children’s rights as well as cultural, civil and social awareness raising activities designed to increase knowledge among the general public about the negative impact of seeking retributive measures seeking revenge which only work to promote violence. It should be noted that in our religious teachings as well the concepts of forgiveness and pardon have been greatly stressed. We believe that to address crimes we have to address their root causes and we have to identify the most foundational and appropriate strategies for reforming and improving our society.

The Defenders of Human Rights Center requests judiciary officials, officials in the executive branch of the government and the legislature to adopt measures designed to protect the life of children and to immediately end the death penalty for juvenile offenders. As such we ask the following:

A. We ask the legislature to use its first opportunity at adopting legislation to pass supportive legal measures in line with international human rights standards so that juvenile offenders who commit crimes while under the age of 18 no longer receive the death penalty.

B. We request fervently that the representatives of the people in the Parliament adopt legislation which increases the criminal age of responsibility to eighteen years of age and in so doing make a distinction between the concept of criminal responsibility and the age of religious responsibility-which in essence addresses the age of prayer and worship and religious duty. This action is essential because it will allow Iran to meet its international obligations and will end the dichotomous, contradictory and often multiple interpretations with respect to legal age of responsibility as they pertain to national and international laws.


A. We ask the government officials in the executive branch who are responsible for the security and the psychological well-being of society to act as guarantors for the implementation of international conventions to which our country is a signatory and obligated.  We ask government officials to actively follow through with respect to their responsibilities and obligations to protect the life of the children of our society and to protect the right to life of juveniles offenders who have received the death penalty.

B. The violent actions of children and teenagers, which at times end in murder, and for which a sentence of retribution (Qesas or an eye for an eye) is implemented, have their roots in cultural and behavioral training.  As such, we expect policy makers of our country to work with cultural institutions such as educational institutions and schools in an effort to prevent murder and violence and to teach about human rights.

And finally, of the Judicial officials who are charged with preparing and drafting procedural legislation for juvenile courts and juvenile offenders we ask that you:

A. Courageously and in a straightforward manner change the criminal age of responsibility to eighteen in the legislation for juvenile courts and juvenile offenders and like many progressive Islamic countries, end all forms of the death penalty for children under the age of eighteen.

B. Provide appropriate and serious oversight for adjudication in juvenile cases  including the identification of competent courts for juveniles, provisions of and assurance for the right to legal representation for juvenile offenders and the right of incarcerated juveniles to maintain contact with family members, so that all steps designed to reform and train children who have fallen victim to social harms and who have committed crimes can be taken while still protecting their rights.


The Call to End Child Executions has been prepared by the Defenders of Human Rights Center and has been presented to government officials and published for consideration by the public. As such, we ask that all experts in the field of Islamic jurisprudence, law as well as social and cultural activists to assist us in the National Call to End Child Executions.

The Defenders of Human Rights Center

19 April 2009

Prominent religious leaders and lawyers in Iran call for an end to child executions


Statement of a Group of Islamic Jurists, Lawyers and Social and Political Activists in Opposition to the Execution of Juveniles


A group of Islamic jurists, lawyers, and social and political activists have issued a statement expressing their opposition to the death penalty for juvenile offenders. The Petition has been signed by the following individuals:

Mohammad Bastenegar, Religious Intellectual;

Rakhshan BaniEtemad, Filmmaker;

Jafar Panahi, Filmmaker;

Dr. Habibollah Peyman, Religious Intellectual;  

Dr. Gholamabbas Tavasoli, Sociologist;

Hojat-ol-Islam Mohammad Javad Hojati Kermani, Islamic Jurist and Scholar (Mojtahed);

Ezzat –ollah Sahabi, Religious Intellectual;

Dr. Ahmad Sadr Haj Seyyed Javadi, Lawyer;

Dr. Ali Asghar Gharavi, PhD in Philosophy;

Azam Taleghani, Religious Intellectual;

Shirin Ebadi, Lawyer and Nobel Peace Prize Recipient;

Hojat-ol-Islam Mohammad Taghi Fazel Maybodi, Islamic Jurist;

Dr. Nasser Katouzian, Lawyer and University Professor;

Hojat-ol-Islam Mehdi Karoubi, Islamic Jurist;

Dr. Mohammad Mojtahed Shabestari, Islamic Jurist and Scholar (Mojtahed);

Dr. Sadighe Vasmeghi, PhD in Islamic Jurisprudence;

Dr. Ebrahim Yazdi, Religious Intellectual; and

Hassan Yousefi Eshkevari, Islamic Jurist and lawyer


Based on the religious teachings, this communiqué emphasizes on endowing children, less than 18 years of age, who commit social wrongs the opportunity of moral rehabilitation. Also, the society of human rights defenders in a similar communiqué, titled: “Stop Death Penalty for Children” started its operation aimed at stopping issuance and execution of death penalty for children less than 18 years of age. According to “Children’s Rights Defenders” site the communiqué, issued on Ordibehesht 6th, 1388 (Iranian Calendar) corresponding April 26, 2009. is as follows:


 In the Name of God

All religions and all legal disciplines view children to be exempt from punishments intended for adults.  As such, they have provided children an opportunity to comprehend the blessing of life, benefit from education and discipline and learn about best interests and that which is harmful.  As such, contemporary international customs and norms views the enforcement of punishments, especially the harshest of punishments namely the death penalty, for individuals under the age of 18, as unacceptable.  The laws of many countries as well as the perspectives of many Iranian experts reinforce these customs.  When the Holy Qoran invites us to forgive even those who have intentionally committed murder, then without a doubt Islam consents to our taking steps to bestow the blessings of life on those individuals who are under the age of 18 and who have yet to understand life’s riches and vices.  Given that the religious decrees issued in this regard can be revised and that the protection of life is logical and also constitutes one of the most important principles of all religions and given the fact that Iran has rightly agreed to international customs through its ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, we strongly demand that death penalty not be issued or implemented in cases where individuals under the age of 18 have committed a crime and we seek the reform of existing laws in this respect.


Amnesty International’s new report on executions in 2008

Source: Death Sentences and Executions in 2008  (ACT 50/003/2009) http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ACT50/003/2009/en

Amnesty International remained concerned about the application of the death penalty in Iran. Some of the cruel and inhumane methods used to execute at least 346 people in 2008 included stoning and hanging.13 The number of public hangings in Iran decreased in 2008 after the Chief Justice issued a decree banning them.


Amnesty International was also concerned about proposals by the authorities in Iran to widen further the already wide scope of application of the death penalty. In 2008 a new law was passed that allows the application of the death penalty against people convicted of illegal audiovisual activities (pornography) and a proposed law prescribing the death penalty for apostasy, heresy and witchcraft and for certain internet-related crimes that “promote corruption and apostasy” was being drafted.


In July 2008 Amnesty International and nine other human rights organisations issued a joint public statement calling for an end to the execution of juvenile offenders in Iran.14Many human rights defenders in Iran continue to campaign vigorously against such executions and for an end to executions by stoning. Despite these efforts the authorities in Iran executed eight juvenile offenders in 2008 in flagrant violation of international law.15 Iran was the only country in the world in which juvenile offenders were known to have been executed in 2008.



Article 6(5), ICCPR and Article 37(a) of the CRC prohibit anyone under 18 years old at the time the crime was committed from being sentenced to death. The major regional treaties in Europe, the Americas and Africa also have similar provisions.


More than 100 countries that retain the death penalty for some crimes have outlawed the execution of juvenile offenders. A small number of countries, however, continued to execute child offenders in flagrant violation of international law.


Amnesty International is concerned that the Arab Charter on Human Rights (ACHR), which entered into force in 24 March 2008, clearly fails to prohibit the imposition of the death penalty on those under the age of 18. Article 7(a) of the Charter prohibits the imposition of the death penalty against persons under 18 years of age except where it is permitted under national legislation. This, clearly, leaves room for states to execute juvenile offenders in flagrant violation of international law, in particular the ICCPR and the CRC, but without necessarily breaching the terms of the ACHR.

Child Rights expert receives position at OHCHR

Stop Child Executions would like to congratulate long time supporter and defender of children facing the death penalty, Christian Salazar Volkmann in his position as the High Commissioner’s representative in Colombia Source: United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

Source: http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900SID/LSGZ-7PSEJV?OpenDocument
Date: 02 Mar 2009 BOGOTÁ — The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, which is based in Geneva, announces the appointment of Mr. Christian Salazar Volkmann, a German citizen, as his Representative in Colombia. Mr. Salazar Volkmann was selected through the standard United Nations recruitment process and will start functions on 2 March 2009.

Mr. Salazar Volkmann brings to this position proven commitment to the work of human rights, through his work in Guatemala, Vietnam and Iran, as well as strong skills in interagency coordination, programming and management. Mr. Salazar Volkmann has worked with UNICEF and the German Society for Technical Cooperation GTZ. He has consistently supported the rights of the child and the prevention of juvenile executions and has researched, extensively applied, and trained on human rights based approach to programming.

In Guatemala, he provided technical advice to the Human Rights Office of the Archdioceses of Guatemala, to the Truth Commissions of Guatemala and to the Inter-American Court for Human Rights on gross violations of children’s rights on behalf of UNICEF and GTZ. Furthermore he was responsible for a variety of programmes related to peace building, peace education, legal reform and alliances of child rights defenders.
Mr. Salazar Volkmann holds a masters’ degree in communication sciences, philosophy and economics as well as a PhD in political sciences. He has published extensively, in several languages, on issues related to juvenile justice, social policy, equity, governance, human rights and civil society and coordinated the elaboration of numerous thematic reports on children’s rights. In recent publications, he promotes intercultural dialogue on child rights, women’s rights and juvenile justice in Islam.