Iran: Two teenagers face execution in defiance of international law

The boys - Mostafa (surname unknown), a student, aged, 16, and Sina (surname unknown), a musician, aged 17- are at risk of imminent execution for murder.

Their sentences have reportedly been upheld by the Supreme Court, and could be carried out at any time.

According to the Iranian daily newspaper E'temad, Mostafa was convicted of killing a drunken man in the Pars district of Tehran.

The drunken man was reportedly harassing a girl when Mostafa intervened to stop him. The man reportedly started hitting Mostafa, who eventually killed him in the ensuing scuffle.

E'temad also reported that Sina, a musician and music teacher in Tehran, was convicted of murder after a dispute with a man over cannabis in October 2004.

Sina reportedly told the court that he was addicted to drugs and had gone to a park in Tehran on the day of the incident to try and obtain cannabis from a drug dealer.

He allegedly stabbed the drug dealer to death during a fight.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

"The Iranian authorities should act immediately to prevent the execution of these two teenage boys.

"Iran's defiance of the international ban on executing child offenders is a growing concern and calls into question Iran's willingness to abide by international human rights standards.

"By halting these executions, suspending all other death sentences imposed on child offenders and abolishing all such executions, Iran would be signalling its willingness to respect its own human rights commitments."

As a party to the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, Iran has undertaken not to execute anyone for an offence committed when they were less than 18 years old.

For approximately four years, the Iranian authorities have been considering legislation that would prohibit the use of the death penalty for offences committed under the age of 18.

Iran has executed at least seven child offenders in 2005. Most recently, Kayhan newspaper reported that a 17-year-old was among four men under the age of 23, named only as A.P., B.K., H.K. and H.J., who were executed on 23 August in Bandar Abbas, southern Iran.

They were reportedly convicted of kidnapping, rape and theft. A.P. and B.K. reportedly received 74 lashes each before they were executed.

In 2004 Iran executed three child offenders, including a 16-year-old girl - Atefeh Rajabi - who was publicly hanged in the street for "acts incompatible with chastity".

In total there were at least 159 executions in Iran in 2004, the second-highest figure for any country in the world.

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