Iran Must Stop Wednesday’s Execution of Two Juvenile Offenders, Urges Amnesty International

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Iran Must Stop Wednesday’s Execution of Two Juvenile Offenders, Urges Amnesty International

WASHINGTON - The Iranian authorities must
halt the execution of two juvenile offenders due to be executed on Wednesday,
five days after the execution of Delara Darabi who had been convicted of
a crime she was alleged to have committed while still under 18, Amnesty
International said today.

“The international consensus against executing
child offenders reflects the widespread recognition that because of children’s
immaturity, impulsiveness, vulnerability and capacity for rehabilitation,
their lives should never be written off--however heinous the crimes of
which they are convicted,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, deputy director
of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa program.

“The scheduling of these executions, just
days after the appalling execution of Delara Darabi, show that the Iranian
authorities have total disregard for international law which unequivocally
bans the execution of those convicted of crimes committed under the age
of 18.”

Juvenile offenders, Amir Khaleqi and Safar
Angooti are both due to be executed on Wednesday, May 6, at 4 a.m.
local time in Evin prison. At least 135 other juvenile offenders are known
to be on death row in Iran.

According to their lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaie,
Amir Khaleqi killed a man during a fight when he was drunk. Amir does not
remember how the incident happened but was so remorseful that he turned
himself into the police. He was 16 years old at the time. Amir was eventually
convicted, despite the court taking into consideration that he was intoxicated,
and a juvenile offender.  

The Head of Judiciary granted a two-month
stay of execution for Amir in February which has now expired and his execution
is scheduled to take place tomorrow, Wednesday, May 6.
Safar Angooti was convicted of murder at
age 17. According to the newspaper Etemad, in April 2008,
Safar Angooti stabbed a rival suitor who was talking to a girl he liked
and was sentenced to death.  Safar claimed that he had killed the
man but not intentionally.

According to reports, Mohammad Mostafaie
was himself arrested this morning when he left a meeting with Judiciary
Spokesman, Ali Reza Jamshidi, in which he tried to get the executions halted.
He was released after a few hours.

“There may still be time to save the lives
of Amir Khaleqi and Safar Angooti who, like Delara, may be killed for crimes
they allegedly committed when they were still minors,” said Hadj Sahraoui.

 
The organization urged the Iranian authorities
to adopt new legislation that would ban, once and for all, the execution
of juvenile offenders, including those convicted of murder (qesas). The
compelling need for such legislation has recently been highlighted yet
again by the execution of Delara Darabi, and the further prospect of two
other young deaths.  

Since January 2009,
Iran has executed at least two people for crimes they were alleged to have
committed while under 18. No other country has done so since 2007.

Amnesty International’s members are launching
worldwide activities on Wednesday, May 6, in front of Iranian embassies
to protest the execution of Delara Darabi, hoping the publicity will stop
tomorrow’s possible execution of Amir Khaleqi and Safar Angooti.
Secretary general Irene Khan will lay white
lilies in front of the Iranian embassy in London to protest against the
execution of Delara Darabi and other juvenile offenders in Iran.
         
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning
grassroots activist organization with more than 2.2 million supporters,
activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human
rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates
and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice,
freedom, truth and dignity are denied.

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We are people from across the world standing up for humanity and human rights. Our purpose is to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied. We investigate and expose abuses, educate and mobilize the public, and help transform societies to create a safer, more just world.

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