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Iran hanging violates own international agreement

Latest update : 2008-08-20

A 20-year-old Iranian was hanged on Tuesday for stabbing a man to death five years ago. Iran is a signatory of two international agreements banning the executing of offenders who were minors at the time of their crime.


Iran has hanged a man for a murder committed at the age of 15, in violation of an international convention on child rights, one of five people executed on a single day, press reports said Wednesday.
  
Reza Hejazi, 20, was hanged on Tuesday in a prison in the central city of Isfahan for stabbing a man to death in a fight in 2003, the reformist Etemad newspaper said.
  
The execution came as several prominent film stars were summoned before a Tehran court over the launch of a campaign to raise "blood money" to save the life of another young man on death row for murder committed when he was 17.
  
Shortly before Hejazi was to go to the gallows, prison officials agreed to his lawyer's request to stay the execution so that he could negotiate with the victim's family, Etemad said.
  
But the authorities went ahead with the hanging later in the day in the absence of his lawyer and family.
  
Four rapists and drug traffickers were also hanged in prison on Tuesday, bringing to at least 172 the number of executions in Iran this year, according to an AFP count.
  
Iran is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, whose signatories commit to not executing minors who were under the age of 18 at the time of the offence.
  
The European Union and international human rights groups have sought to raise the age of legal responsibility in Iran's Islamic law, which deems a boy punishable from the age of 15 and a girl from the age of nine.
  
The conservative judiciary maintains that minors are not executed in Iran, but in some cases murderers have been hanged after reaching the age of 18.
  
But 17-year-old Mohammad Hassanzadeh was hanged in the western city of Sanandaj in June and several young men are behind bars facing execution for murders committed as minors.
  
On many occasions rights activists have sought to stop such executions by negotiating with the victim's families, who under Iran's Islamic law have the right to pardon a murderer or ask for their execution.
  
The family can spare a murderer from execution by accepting blood money for the victim's life, leaving the convict to serve only a prison sentence.
  
Two of Iran's most popular movie stars and a prominent director have started raising money to save Behnoud Shojai, who is to be hanged for the murder three years ago of a fellow teenager he committed at the age of 17.
  
But a Tehran criminal court on Tuesday summoned veteran actor Ezatollah Entezami, actor Parviz Parastooi and director Kiumars Pourahmad and blocked their bank accounts, Kargozaran newspaper said.
  
According to Iran newspaper, the victim's family had filed a complaint against the fundraisers and demanded their prosecution.
  
"I wanted the execution of my son's murderer from the beginning and never said I wanted blood money," said the father of Ehsan, who was killed by Shojai when he was also 17.
  
Amnesty International reported that in 2007 Iran applied the death penalty more often than any other country apart from China, executing 317 people during the year.
  
Capital offences in the Islamic republic include murder, rape, armed robbery, drug trafficking and adultery.
  
In Tuesday's other hangings, a man identified only as Asghar and another unnamed convict were executed in Isfahan prison for raping two women in 2006, Etemad said.
  
Gholam Reza, convicted of smuggling opium and Amin, who had tried to smuggle heroin to a prison where he was serving a life sentence, were hanged in Karaj in Tehran province, Iran newspaper said.
  

Date created : 2008-08-20

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