Omid Memarian

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

RIGHTS-IRAN: List Sheds Light on Death Row Children

Omid Memarian

UNITED NATIONS, Jun 18 (IPS) - A human rights group has published the first detailed list of juvenile offenders on Iran's death row, finding that at least 114 children under the age of 18 are awaiting the ultimate penalty.

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran says that two child offenders have already been executed this year, and notes that Iran's judicial system is so opaque, it is unclear whether others on the list have already been put to death. At least one of those awaiting execution, Ahmad Noorzehi, was just 12 years old at the time of his crime. "Iran is the only country putting child offenders to death in great numbers," Hadi Ghaemi, a spokesperson for the campaign, told IPS. "This barbaric practice is justified in the name of Islamic law, but many religious scholars have challenged it," he added.

Launched on Wednesday, the list is the result of comprehensive research by prominent Iranian human rights defender Emad Baghi. It forms part of a book he has written called "Right to Life II", which argues that such executions are not sanctioned by Islamic law as claimed by Iranian authorities. (Read the rest of this piece here.)


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