To: Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
Head of the Judiciary
Islamic Republic of Iran
We are writing to urge you to stop the executions of four juvenile offenders at risk of imminent execution in Iran, and to express our general concerns about the use of the death penalty against juvenile offenders in Iran.
In the last decade, the execution of juvenile offenders has all but stopped throughout the world. Iran is now the only countries in the world to execute juvenile offenders on a regular basis and since 2004 is the only country to have executed a juvenile offender every year. In 2007, Iran, Saudi Arabic and Yemen (where the age of the executed youth was disputed by the authorities) were the only countries in the world to continue to execute juvenile offenders. For example, in 2000 Pakistan enacted the Juvenile Justice System Law, which abolished the death penalty for people under the age of 18 at the time of the crime in most parts of the country. The USA also banned the execution of juvenile offender in 2005.
Please take urgent steps to ensure that Behnouod Shojaee, Mohammad Feda’i, Saeed Jazee and Salah Taseb, who are all reported to be at risk of execution before the end of July 2008, are not executed. Their executions would be gross violations of international law. Behnoud Shojaee Mohammad Feda’i and Saeed Jazee were sentenced to retribution for murders allegedly committed when they were only 17; Salah Taseb was only 15 at the time of his alleged offence.
International law defines a juvenile offender as a person who is under the age of 18 at the time of the offence, regardless of their age at the time of the trial and sentencing. International law, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), to which Iran is a state party, prohibits the execution of juvenile offenders.
Nevertheless, Iran has continued to sentence juvenile offenders to death, and to carry out their execution. At least 33 executions of juvenile offenders have been carried out in Iran since 1990. In recent years, this has included eight juvenile offenders executed in 2005; four juvenile offenders executed in 2006, at least seven juvenile offenders executed in 2007 and two so far in 2008, one of whom was still under the age of 18 at the time of execution. Around 150 juvenile offenders are believed to remain on death row in Iran.
In the majority of cases documented by Amnesty International, the crime for which a juvenile offender has been executed, or is currently under sentence of death, is for murder. While Iranian law makes a distinction between death sentences imposed for murder, and those imposed for other crimes, international law makes no such distinction. All instances where juvenile offenders are put to death by the state following a judicial process are forbidden by international law.
We urge your government, as a State party to the ICCPR and the CRC, to bring your domestic legislation in line with your commitments under international law, and abolish the death penalty as a sentence imposed on persons for having committed crimes before the age of 18. No other juvenile offender should be executed and all juvenile offenders currently under sentence of death in Iran should have their sentences commuted immediately.
Balochistan Human Right Watch (BHRW)
Attention: This letter was a 'sample' appeal letter from AI orginaly which was send to us for using in connection with the appeal