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Iran: 'End of child executions' UPDATED

UPDATE 20 OCTOBER 2008: A senior judicial official in Iran has said that the judicial execution of juvenile offenders convicted of murder will continue in the country. Hossein Zabhi, the Assistant Attorney General for Judicial Affairs, made the statement on Saturday, clarifying a misleading statement given on Thursday that was welcomed both in Iran and internationally.

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Amnesty's original statement read:

Amnesty International calls on the Head of Iran’s Judiciary to apply with immediate effect the announcement that it will end the death penalty for those under the age of 18, irrespective of the type of crime allegedly committed.

The statement by Hossein Zabhi, Assistant Attorney for Judicial Affairs in Iran, refers to all types of crime currently punishable by death under Iranian law. In lieu of the death penalty, the directive instructs judges to issue juveniles with sentences ranging from 15 years to life imprisonment.

Amnesty International UK’s Death Penalty Campaign Manager, Kim Manning-Cooper said:

“An end to child executions in Iran is greatly welcome but long overdue.

“Iran has a long history of executing juvenile offenders. It is the only country in the world to have executed a child offender this year. In fact according to our information, six juvenile offenders have been hanged in 2008.

“We now urge the authorities to follow up this announcement by implementing it as soon as possible, so that we can quickly see an end to the execution of juvenile offenders.”

Amnesty International urges Iran's parliament, the Islamic Consultative Assembly, or Majles, to ensure that the directive is incorporated quickly into legislation currently under review, and for the higher legislative body, the Council of Guardians, to support this initiative.

Amnesty International calls for the legislation and implementation to adhere to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Iran is a state party, which prohibits life imprisonment without the possibility of release for offences committed by persons below 18 years of age.

Kim Manning-Cooper continued:

“This development is also a major achievement for the scores of human rights defenders both in Iran and around the world who’ve been campaigning for this for many years.

“Let’s also hope that this paves the way to complete abolition of the death penalty in Iran.”

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