Foreign Policy

Iran Executes 5th Juvenile Offender of 2009

| by Amnesty International

Amnesty International has condemned the execution of an alleged juvenile
offender in Iran on Thursday, at least the fifth such execution in

Mosleh Zamani was hanged at Dizel Abad Prison at 4am, along with
four other unidentified prisoners.

He was sentenced to death in 2006 for
allegedly raping his girlfriend when he was 17.

"Once again, despite
domestic and international calls for the Iranian authorities to uphold their
international obligations, they have executed someone who was under 18 at the
time of his alleged crime," said Philip Luther, Deputy Director of Amnesty
International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme. "How many more will die
before Iran stops this dreadful practice?"

Mosleh Zamani’s death brings
the number of alleged juvenile offenders executed in Iran since 1990 to at least

Amnesty International was told that 200 people demonstrated outside
the prison on Wednesday in protest at the executions.

The organization
has called since 2007 for Mosleh Zamani’s death sentence to be

Iran is a state party to the International Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child
(CRC). Both of these prohibit the use of the death penalty against juvenile
offenders, people under 18 at the time of the offence of which they have been

Iran is one of very few countries in the world that still
execute juvenile offenders.

According to Amnesty International's
information, Mosleh Zamani was convicted of abducting a woman several years
older than him, with whom he was allegedly having a relationship, and raping
her. His death sentence was confirmed by the Supreme Court in July 2007. He may
not have had adequate legal representation.

Previously held in Sanandaj
Prison in Kordestan province, Mosleh Zamani was recently transferred to Dizel
Abad Prison in Kermanshah province, where he is believed to have been placed in
solitary confinement on 11 December 2009, frequently a signal that execution is
imminent. However, his execution was not carried out at that time, apparently
for medical reasons.

Amnesty International had also learnt that Mosleh
Zamani's alleged victim had asked that his life be spared, stating that they had
had consensual sex. The Appeal Court judge refused to take that into
consideration, stating instead that Mosleh Zamani should be executed in order to
"set an example" to other young Iranians.

"It is all the more important
in death penalty cases, where the accused faces an irreversible punishment, that
international standards for fair trial are observed," said Philip Luther. "Time
and again we hear of cases where proceedings do not appear to meet those

In many cases, juvenile offenders under sentence of death in
Iran are kept in prison until they pass their 18th birthday, after which their
executions are scheduled. In this period, some win appeals against their
conviction. Others have their sentence overturned on appeal and are freed after
a retrial. Some are reprieved by the family of the victim in cases of murder and
are asked to pay diyeh (compensation) instead.Some, however, do not benefit from
such measures and are consequently executed.