Stop Execution of juveniles and political prisoners!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Rouhi Shafii

The Iranian government has accelerated its reign of executions despite international condmentations. Two categories of prisoners are at the immidiate risk of execution: a number of people who were detained before or after the presidential elections in June 2009 and the juveniles who have commited murder and were sentenced to death while under the age of 18. At the moment 5 of the many political prisoners have recieved the death penalty by the courts. They have been tried without the presence of a lawyer. One of the prisoners who is very ill and was detained months before the elections is accused of participating in thedemonstrations and acting against national security.The execution of juveniles has also accelarated. At the moment three juveniles are at immidiate risk of hanging. Last week, Behnood Shojaie was hanged in Evin prison despite the efforts of human rights activists as well as other personalities and the family of Behnoud. The hanging was carried out not by an executioner but by the parents of the victim, Ehsan. Ehsan's mother and father pulled the stool from under Behnood's feet to let him perform the dance of death in front of the bewildered crowd who gathered outside the prison to protest against the hanging. Ever since, I have been wondering how a woman, a mother, though in mourning for the loss of her son would be so brutally brain-washed to be able to act as executioner and kill another person, though the murderer of her son? How can that be possible? Who is responsible for the institutionalisation of such brutality and violence that has plagued the Iranian society in recent decades? Ehsan's mother announced that she is now free of grief and sleeps happily after she killed Behnood! How can that be possible? What goes on in our society needs a thorough and complete research on the sychological and sociological aspects of the concept of revenge, retribution (Quesas) verses forgiveness and mercy. As Iranians we need to look into these terms and how they have been applied in recent decades in our society. From the onset, the Islamic regime brought with it the vocubulary and the culture of death and retribution. It manifested these concepts in the early days of the revolution by executing without trial or summararily trials of those who were in charge in the previous regime. 
 We Iranians are in part to be blamed for closing our eyes from the onset to those brutalities. We share the responsiblity of contributing and the institutionalisation of violence in our country. It is now up to us to deal with this spiral malice and eradicate it from the root. It is not an easy task. Violence is constituted in the fabric of the Islamic regime and many, who today have recognised the symptoms and distanced themselves from it and even joined the opposition were involved in acts of violence themselves or the least kept their silence about it. These are the people who primarily bear the responsibility to talk about their experiences and criticise their role as the functioneries of the regime. We, as members of the civil society in any category and position, inside or outside Iran have a duty and responsibility not to keep our silence for a moment and accelarate our efforts by campaigning against the detention of peaceful demonstrators, political activists, writers, journalists and memebers of the civil society, by condemning torture in prisons in all forms and shape, forced confessions under torture and above all the death penalty in its universality and by getting the attention of the international community especially human rights organisation. To eradicate the legacy of three decades of violence against the people especially with the participation of a group of those people which goes into the wider society is not an easy task. We are at the begining of a long stretch of road which will eventually end to the victory of light against darkness and knwoledge against ignorance.

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