Iranian officials lie about record of child executions


SCE Campaign
by SCE Campaign

Iranian Women Center

According to a statement by Mohammad Mostofi, a lawyer, official international statistics indicate that thirty-two minors have been executed across the world, and twenty-six of the victims were from Iran.  He continued: “in 1372 (1993), the child convention was passed in the Islamic parliament.  According to article 37 of this convention, Ghesas (exact punishment), life in prison and execution were banned for convicts under the age of eighteen and the age of eighteen was established as the start of the legal age.  The last article of the convention is allocated to an exception which states that in cases where conflicts arise between legal and religious laws, then latitude shall be given to the legal laws.

The Guardian Council is a body of government composed of legal experts and religious figures, and members are charged with examining the conflicts between legal and religious law.  In advice presented to the parliament by the Guardian Council, conflicting legal and religious law exceptions are clearly defined, and article 37 is not included among the list of exceptions, indicating the article is indeed in accordance with the religious law.

In other countries, even in Saudi Arabia, execution has not occurred during the last year.  In Iran, 100 minors with death sentences are waiting to reach eighteen years old before their execution order can be carried out.  In this regard, I conducted an interview with Jamshidi, who is the speaker for the judicial branch in the Islamic Republic.  Mr. Jamshidi asked me a number of times to turn off the voice recorder.  He stated: “We do not proceed with executions of condemned prisoners below eighteen years of age.  Execution is not comparable to Ghesas (exact punishment).  We do not exercise executions of people below eighteen - for instance, transporting narcotics carries a death penalty for people above eighteen.  For those below eighteen, the death penalty is not exercised.  However, Ghesas is an exercise of one’s private rights, and we do not have the right to forsake it”.

Mr. Jamshidi did not recognize any difference between execution and Ghesas, and in response to my question, “whether Ghesas is another form of taking one’s life?” Mr. Jamshidi responded: “Ghesas is a religious rite, and it has to be obeyed”.

When I asked whether “the Guardian Council, which represents the reconciliation of legal and religious laws, has approved this law?” Mr. Jamshidi stated: “In this regard, the Guardian Council has delineated the conflict between the legal and religious laws – in this case the Council has reverted to the side of religious laws”.

If we separate Ghesas from execution, we still face a number of exceptional executions, including the execution of a youngster identified as Makvan Movaledzadeh, who was executed for having a homosexual relationship, not committing a murder.  Mehdi Pouran is another youngster who has been accused of the same act, and he is now waiting for a decision on his fate.

Mr. Jamshidi also announced attempts by the judicial branch to prevent the execution of minors, and stated: “Whether we can take any measure for those below eighteen or not – we have recently presented a new bill to the parliament, in which we have established the legal age for execution as eighteen”.

Mosa Ghrbani, a fundamentalist member of the Islamic Council and a member of the Legal Commission, expressed lack of knowledge about the bill and immediately after making the statement, discontinued the phone conversation and refused to answer other questions.

Mr. Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran, in his recent trip to the Unites States, in a news conference claimed: “We do not practice the execution of minors in Iran”.  The claim came as surprise to those who are familiar with the executions news.  Among government supporters, the statement was interpreted as: “the statement is accurate, if we distinguish the executions from Ghesas”.


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