Iran: Stop today's execution of two juvenile offenders

The Iranian authorities must halt the execution of two juvenile offenders due to be executed today (6 May), Amnesty International said today. The scheduled executions come just six days after Iran’s execution of Delara Darabi, a young woman who had been convicted of a crime she was alleged to have committed while still under 18,

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

Amnesty International members are launching worldwide activities today in front of Iranian embassies to protest at 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. She will be joined by Amnesty activists and by Alistair Carmichael, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Abolition of the Death Penalty.

WHAT: Laying of white lilies to protest at the execution of Delara Darabi and other child offenders
WHEN: 4pm-6pm, Wednesday 6 May 2009
WHERE: Iranian embassy, 16 Princes Gate, London SW7 1PT

Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme, said:

“The international consensus against executing child offenders reflects the widespread recognition that because of Children's rights’s immaturity, impulsiveness, vulnerability and capacity for rehabilitation, their lives should never be written off – however heinous the crimes of which they are convicted.

“The scheduling of these executions, just days after the appalling execution of Delara Darabi, shows 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.”

According to Mohammad Mostafaie, the lawyer of the child offenders facing execution today, Amir Khaleqi killed a man during a fight when he was drunk. He was 16 years old at the time. Amir does not remember how the incident happened but was so remorseful that he turned himself into the police. He 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 on Wednesday 6 May.

Safar Angooti was convicted of murder at age 17. According to the newspaper Etemad, in April 2008 he 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 their lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaie, was himself arrested yesterday 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.

Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui said:

“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.”

Amnesty International urges 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.

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