Amnesty outraged at Iran juvenile execution

Woman allegedly committed crime while under 18, making putting her to death illegal under int'l law.

gallows 248.88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
gallows 248.88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Delara Darabi was put to death over the weekend in Rasht Central Prison, becoming the second woman to be executed in the Islamic republic this year. Amnesty International said it was "outraged" at the execution, drawing particular attention to the fact that her lawyer was not informed about it, despite the legal requirement that he should receive 48 hours' notice. "This appears to have been a cynical move on the part of the authorities to avoid domestic and international protests which might have saved Delara Darabi's life," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa Program. Darabi was executed despite her having been given a two-month stay of execution by the Head of the Judiciary on April 19, which Sahraoui said indicates "that even decisions by the Head of the Judiciary carry no weight and are disregarded in the provinces." Darabi was convicted of murdering a relative in 2003 when she was 17. She initially confessed to the murder, believing she could save her boyfriend from the gallows, but later retracted her confession. She was being detained at Rasht Prison in northern Iran since her arrest in 2003. Amnesty claimed the trial was not fair, citing the court's refusal to consider new evidence, which her lawyer said would have proved her innocence. The organization had campaigned for Darabi's life since her case emerged in 2006, urging the Iranian authorities to commute her death sentence and calling for a retrial in proceedings that meet international standards. Darabi's death brings the number of executions in Iran in 2009 to 140. Iran has executed at least 42 juvenile offenders since 1990, eight of them in 2008 and one on January 21 of this year, in total disregard of international law, which unequivocally bans the execution of those convicted of crimes committed when under the age of 18, Amnesty said.