Delara Darabis death: shocking news

Working at Amnesty you’re supposed to be kind of unshockable. But you know what … it ain’t so!

For example … I got to my desk this morning and took a call even before I’d sat down properly. It wasn’t good news. In fact it was shockingly bad. Delara Derabi, a 22-year-old woman in Iran had been executed earlier today. Amnesty’s Iran researcher had just heard the news and was passing it on to Amnesty UK as we’d been active in the international campaign to highlight her case (more info here).

This is NOT what you want to hear at the beginning of the working day. What can you say? Obviously it’s yet another human rights outrage coming out of Iran (which sometimes seems to have an unending stock of them).

Delara, as readers of this blog will know, was a young person (aged 17) accused of a serious crime (murder) who ended up receiving a death sentence despite the execution of child offenders being unequivocally banned under international law. If this isn’t outrage enough, add in these four facts:

(1) There is dispute about the fairness of her trial, but no retrial was permitted

(2) She may have actually taken the blame for the killing to protect her boyfriend (tragically believing that as a juvenile she would at least not face hanging)

(3) Almost unbelievably, Iran’s Head of the Judiciary only very recently (19 April) ruled that nothing should happen in her case for at least two months

(4) The hanging went ahead today without even Delara’s lawyer being told, a blatant breach of the Iranian legal requirement that they should receive 48 hours' notice in these situations

And take a look at these outrageous statistics: Iran has now already executed at least 140 people so far this year, with Delara becoming the second woman and the second child offender. Since 1990 Iran has executed at least 42 child offenders, eight of them last year alone.

More figures: last year Iran executed by Amnesty’s reckoning at least 346 people, the second highest number of any country in the world. At its current rate of killing, then, it’s set to go above 400 this year, ie more than one a day.

So, yes, I am shocked. If you’re in the London area and free this coming Wednesday (6 May) afternoon between 4-6pm, please come to a special event to lay flowers for Delara outside the Iranian embassy (more details will be posted on the front page of the Amnesty website).

We want to mark her atrocious and outrageous death and also send the clear message to the Iranian authorities that there should be no further child offender executions in Iran. Thanks.

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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