Iran: Outrage at execution of child offender Delara Darabi

Amnesty International has expressed outrage at the execution in Iran this morning of Delara Darabi, a child offender executed despite an international ban on capital punishment of those convicted of crimes committed when under the age of 18.

Delara Darabi was hanged in Rasht Central Prison earlier today, becoming the second person to be executed in Iran this year after being convicted of a crime she was alleged to have committed while still under 18. Ms Darabi was executed despite her having been given a two-month stay of execution by the Head of the Judiciary on 19 April.

Amnesty International Middle East and North Africa Programme Deputy Director Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui said:

“Amnesty International is outraged at the execution of Delara Darabi, and particularly at the news that her lawyer was not informed about the execution, despite the legal requirement that he should receive 48 hours' notice.

“This appears to have been a cynical move on the part of the authorities to avoid domestic and international protests which might have saved Delara Darabi's life.

"This indicates that even decisions by the Head of the Judiciary carry no weight and are disregarded in the provinces.”

Delara Darabi was convicted of murdering a relative in 2003 when she was 17. She initially confessed to the murder, apparently believing she could save her boyfriend from the gallows, but later retracted her confession. She was being detained at Rasht Prison in northern Iran since her arrest in 2003, during which time she developed a significant talent as a painter.

Amnesty does not consider her trial to have been fair. The courts refused to consider new evidence that her lawyer said would have proved she could not have committed the murder. The human rights organisation had campaigned for her life since her case came to light in 2006, urging the Iranian authorities to commute her death sentence and calling for a re-trial in proceedings that met international standards.

The execution of Delara Darabi brings to at least 140 the number of executions in Iran so far this year. She is the second woman known to have been executed this year and the second child offender. Since 1990 Iran has executed at least 42 child offenders, eight of them in 2008 and one on 21 January 2009. These executions went ahead in total disregard of international law, which unequivocally bans the execution of those convicted of crimes committed when under the age of 18.

Please join us on Wednesday 6 May to lay flowers in Delara Darabi's memory

View latest press releases