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Asia-pacific

Artist's execution sparks outrage

Latest update : 2009-05-02

Iran has executed Delara Darabi, despite the country's head of judiciary having recently granted a two-month stay of execution. The 23-year-old artist was convicted for a murder committed when she was 17, but had since claimed she was innocent.

REUTERS - Iran has executed a woman convicted of murdering her father's cousin when she was 17, Iranian media reported on Saturday.

 

Human rights groups criticised Iran's execution on Friday of 23-year-old Delara Darabi in the northern city of Rasht.

 

"Delara Darabi, a painter charged with murder, was executed on Friday morning in Rasht prison without her lawyer and family being informed of her execution," the daily Etemad reported on Saturday.

 

The Czech presidency of the European Union strongly condemned the execution of Darabi and urged Iran to "avoid juvenile executions".

 

"Such human rights violations erode the ground for understanding and mutual trust between Iran and the European Union," the presidency said in a statement.

 

Etemad said Darabi had been in jail for five years and had initially confessed to the murder because she believed she would be pardoned as the crime was committed when she was a minor.

 

"Amnesty International is outraged at the execution of Delara Darabi, and particularly at the news that her lawyer was not informed about the execution," Amnesty said on its website.

 

Human rights groups have criticised Iran for sentencing minors to death. Iran says it only carries out the death penalty when a prisoner reaches the age of 18.

 

Iran has executed at least 42 juvenile criminals since 1990, including seven in 2007, according to the groups which say Saudi Arabia and Yemen are the only two other countries to do so.

 

Murder, rape, adultery, armed robbery, drug trafficking and apostasy are all punishable by death under Iran's sharia law.

 

Rights groups had praised Iran when it seemed to have ended the practice in October 2007. But a judiciary official later clarified Iran's position, saying juvenile offenders could still face execution for murder but not for other capital crimes.

 

Iran regularly rejects accusations of human rights abuses, saying it is following Islamic sharia and accusing Western governments of double standards.

 

Date created : 2009-05-02

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