Saturday, May 2, 2009

Iran Hangs Young Woman Convicted of Murder

Saturday , May 02, 2009


Iran has hanged a young woman who was convicted of murder when she was a minor, her lawyer said Saturday, drawing condemnation from international human rights groups who have sought to end capital punishment for juvenile offenders.

Authorities executed the 23-year-old woman Friday in northern Iran without informing her lawyer or allowing the family to be present, said the lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaei. She was 17 at the time the crime was committed, in 2003.

Iran executes more juvenile offenders than any other nation — eight last year and 42 since 1990, according to Amnesty International. Friday's was the second such execution this year in Iran, Mostafaei said.

While a few other countries are known to have executed juvenile offenders in recent years — Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Sudan and Pakistan — Iran has accounted for more than two-thirds of such executions in the past four years, according to rights groups.

The U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Iran has signed, bans capital punishment for offenders who committed crimes before their 18th birthday.

"Iran continues to deny that it executes juvenile offenders, but the secret nature of this execution demonstrates that the government knows that these killings are illegal and shameful in the eyes of the world," said Zama Coursen-Neff, deputy director of the children's rights division at Human Rights Watch.

The prisoner executed Friday, Delara Darabi, initially pleaded guilty to killing her father's cousin, but later retracted her confession and said her boyfriend carried out the killing. She told a judge that she had initially confessed because her boyfriend told her that, as a minor, she would not be executed and she could save him from being put to death, her lawyer said.

Her boyfriend, who was 19 at the time of the killing, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for complicity in murder.

Iranian law requires authorities to inform a prisoner's lawyer at least 48 hours before an execution, but Mostafaei said he was not given warning that the sentence was to be carried out.

The lawyer said Darabi called her parents just moments before the execution. He quoted her as saying, "Oh, Mother, I see the hangman's noose in front of me. They are going to execute me. Please save me."

The woman's parents were not allowed inside the prison to meet her for a last time, Mostafaei said.

"She was denied a legal right guaranteed under the law," he said. "The hasty execution and the ignoring of legal provisions suggests that some authorities were happy to put an end to her life," he said.

Mostafaei said the execution of juvenile offenders is a "gross violation of international law" and a "breach of Iran's international obligations and commitments."

The European Union also condemned Darabi's execution, saying the punishment ran "counter to the international commitments that Iran has voluntarily accepted."

Mostafaei said the court did not seriously consider his arguments in the woman's defense.

For example, he said, Darabi was left-handed, while all the evidence suggests the crime was committed by someone who was right-handed.


Lucky Charms said...

First of all, I don't believe in capital punishment. Even if a person has murdered someone, what right do we have to murder the murderer? Don't we just become killers ourselves then? If a person truly has murdered someone, then they will be punished in the afterlife for their crimes. As mere humans, we have no right to play executioner. Secondly, if Iran signed an agreement not to use capital punishment on a minor, and has continued to do so anyway, then it deserves all the criticism and scrutiny it's receiving.

Inigo Montoya said...

She obviously was not the person that carried out the murder, and almost all of her legal rights were violated. Women are prosecuted more harshly in court then men, and their punishments are harsher too.

reagan 08 said...

Lucky Charms, hypocrisy in that part of the world is just their way of convincing us to turn a blind eye to the truth. Yasser Arafat, terrorist/murderer/really bad guy, renounced his militant hatred of Israel in front of President Clinton and still continued to pursue terror and violence. Duplicity should come as no surprise to anyone in this case.

John Connor said...

Let me think, death or 10 years in prison?

critter said...

I'd like to point out the article really has no end. But it was a good one. The fact that so many laws were violated during the process of the execution is ridiculous. If I were her lawyer or her parents I would be furious.

bulbasaur75 said...

I believe that sometimes death is not the worse punishment. I would prefer to see someone that deserves punishment to rot in a cell for the rest of their life. I think that is a worse punishment than letting them slide away into death.

i.heart.doritos. said...

It is totally crazy that this can happen, or at least it seems crazy to me living on the other side of the world. The persecution and lack of legitimate justice is unacceptable.

Mr. Phil said...

As i am a little wary about the use of capital punishment I do find some issues here but it is not the age of the defendant. Seventeen is old enough to know better and the UN should work to set an upper limit to what they mean by minors because i think it is often way to high. Now in regards to her innocence the procedure taken here was clearly flawed.

pawbearcatpaw said...

I don't agree with killing the murderers either but it also seems that in Iran they don't fairly kill murderers. If this was a person who had a lot of power or even was just male they probably wouldn't have been executed. said...

i agree with doritos... it is crazy to think that this is occurring on the otherside of the world. but it is. and rotting in a cell may seem like a good option. but what if they get out. what if there is an appeal. then the person that murdered someone you loved is back out on the streets to commit another crime. is that truly safe?