Iran: Urgent appeal for a young man facing execution for playground death when aged 16

Amnesty International today launched an urgent appeal for Ali Mahin Torabi, convicted of a murder committed when he was 16 years old and now at risk of imminent execution. Now aged 21, he is being held in Reja'i Shahr prison in Karaj, near Tehran and his death sentence could be carried out at any time.

Amnesty is asking people to go to www.amnesty.org.uk/deathpenalty to send an urgent message to the Iranian authorities, urging them to stop the execution.

Iran is the only country in the world that still executes child offenders – people convicted of crimes committed before they were 18. Over 70 child offenders are currently facing execution in Iran. Amnesty International is urging the Iranian authorities to implement a moratorium on all executions of child offenders as a first step towards a complete ban on such executions.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

“These appeals can work – pressure from within Iran and from people around the world has stopped executions in the past. If enough people join us and contact the Iranian authorities, we may be able to save Ali’s life.

“Executing someone is cruel and inhumane, whatever the circumstances. But the execution of child offenders is particularly sickening.

"The Iranian authorities must step into line with the rest of the world and end this shameful practice.”

On 3 February 2003, Ali Mahin Torabi was detained in connection with a playground fight at the Bani Hashemi High School. He was 16 years old at the time. Ali reportedly stabbed a schoolmate named Mazdak Khodadian, who died from loss of blood. Ali Mahin Torabi has repeatedly stated that he only realised his schoolmate had been stabbed after he heard shouting from the crowds that had gathered during the schoolyard disturbance and that his blow was not intentional.

The lawyer for Ali Mahin Torabi has repeatedly drawn attention to the lack of clarity and doubts surrounding the events leading to the death of Mazdak Khodadian, noting for example that the coroner reported that the blow did not enter the victim in a direct manner and that it was not consistent with an intentional blow.

According to reports, Mazdak Khodadian's mother demanded payment of “diyeh” (blood money) in order to pardon Ali Mahin Torabi. However her husband is refusing this and is demanding that the execution be carried out. Without agreement between all the blood relatives of the victim, Ali Mahin Torabi remains at risk of execution.

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