The Islamic Republic of Iran lies once again.
On the eve of the 63rd UN General Assembly Panel on the Promotion of
the Rights of the Child, Hossein Zebhi , Iran's Deputy State Public
Prosecutor announced an end to child executions. This was reported in
BBC Persian News, Radio Farda, and the cover of Iran's daily state run
newspaper Etemaad .
Stop Child Executions organization (SCE) along with 300 other NGO's
from 82 countries who had lobbied the General Assembly to fully
implement the absolute ban on the juvenile death penalty had welcomed
SCE President and co-founder Nazanin Afshin-Jam had stated: "we are
being cautious as we have seen announcements before where the Islamic
Republic of Iran's officials have reneged on their statements". SCE
Vice President David Etebari wrote "we must assure that the recent
announcement by a non-senior official is not just a temporary effort
to diffuse the current pressure but a genuine first step to
permanently end juvenile executions".
Unfortunately SCE's doubts were founded and the international
community was deceived once again by the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Only three days after Iran's initial announcement, Zebhi retracted
from his statement and told Associated Press and Iran News Agency
(IRNA) that the ban on execution only referred to juvenile drug
traffickers and that death sentences based on the right of revenge
(Ghisas) will still continue. It is believed by SCE that it is not
coincidental that Zebhi retracted his earlier position of a complete
ban on child executions once the General Assembly meetings had ended.
"Life imprisonment will be the punishment for juveniles convicted of
first rate drug crimes. We can't deny a victim's family of the legal
right to ask for Islamic ghisas, or eye for eye retribution. The
judges are still required under Iran's Islamic laws to issue death
sentences to those convicted of murder if the victim's family refuses
financial compensation" Zebhi told Associated press.
Iran's penal code follows Islamic law and the final say in capital
punishment cases goes to the victim's family, which can pardon the
perpetrator or accept compensation in lieu of execution. The head of
Iran's Superior court Hosesin Mofid said: "Based on verses of the
Holy Quran, retribution is the right of the victim's family and we
must distinguish this right from executions".
Mohammad Mostafaei, a lawyer who represents more than 20 juveniles on
death row said "Iran has signed two global conventions banning capital
punishment for crimes committed before the age of 18, but the practice
continues...Human rights activists won't give up the fight until
execution of under 18 people is abolished altogether in Iran".
In Stop Child Execution's recently published comprehensive list of
recommendation and solutions to end child executions in Iran, had
asked the United Nations to set deadlines and ultimatums for the
Government of Iran and in the case of non-compliance to issue
disciplinary actions through appropriate departments
Stop Child Executions wishes for the international community to
continue to pressure the government in Iran to put a permanent ban on
child Executions and also put pressure on the United Nations to
enforce international human rights law.
To sign the petition and learn what you can do to Stop Child
Executions or make a donation please go to www.stopchildexecutions.com