URGENT: 4 juveniles to be executed


SCE Campaign
by SCE Campaign

PUBLIC AI Index: MDE 13/049/2008
13 March 2008

UA 71/08 Fear of execution

IRAN Naser Qasemi (m), aged 23 ]
Mohammad Reza Haddadi (m), aged 18 ]
Reza Hejazi (m), aged 19 ] child offenders
Iman Hashemi (m), aged 18 ]

Naser Qasemi, Mohammad Reza Haddadi and Reza Hejazi are all in prison awaiting execution for murder. The death sentence of Iman Hashem is expected to be approved imminently. All are all in prison awaiting execution for murder. They were all aged under 18 at the time of their alleged crimes and their death sentences have been approved. They could all be hanged at any time. The Head of the Judiciary has the power to issue a stay of execution at this stage.

Naser Qasemi, from Kermanshah province in western Iran, was 15 years old in 1999 when he and an uncle, who was armed, tried to steal some maize from a farm near his home. They were discovered by farm workers, and in the fight that ensued, one of the farm workers was shot and killed. The uncle initially escaped but Naser was arrested and charged with murder. He has been detained for eight years, during which he has faced a number of trials and retrials, as a result of which he was sentenced to death on three occasions. The victim's family have demanded 1,500 million Rials (approximately US $164,000) as diyeh (“blood money”), but Naser Qasemi's family have been unable to raise this amount. The Society for the Right to Life (Anjoman-e Haq-e Hayat), an Iranian human rights group has been campaigning on his behalf. It is not clear where he is being held.

Mohammad Reza Haddadi, aged 18, is held in Adelabad prison in the city of Shiraz. He was sentenced to death in January 2004 by a court in Kazeroun for the murder of a man in 2003. He had confessed to the murder, but retracted the confession during his trial, saying he had claimed responsibility for the killing because his two co-defendants had offered his family money if he did so. Mohammad Reza Haddadi stated during the trial that he had not taken part in murder of a man who had offered him and the two others a lift in his car. The two others later supported Mohammad Reza Haddadi's claims of innocence, and withdrew their testimony that implicated him in the murder. His co-defendants, both over 18 at the time of the crime, are said to have received lesser sentences. However, in July 2005, a branch of the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence against Mohammad Reza Haddadi. The case is awaiting final approval by Ayatollah Shahroudi, the Head of Iran's Judiciary.

Juvenile offenders Reza Hejazi and Iman Hashemi are imprisoned in the Central Prison in the city of Esfahan, in central Iran.

Reza Hejazi – then aged 15 - was among a small group of people involved in a dispute with a man on 18 September 2004, which resulted in the man being fatally stabbed. Reza Hejazi was arrested and tried for murder, and on 14 November 2005 he was sentenced to Qesas (retribution) by Branch 106 of the Esfahan General Court. The sentence was approved by Branch 28 of the Supreme Court on 6 June 2006, although under Iranian law he should have been tried in a juvenile court. The case was referred for mediation between Reza Hejazi and the victim's family, to try and arrange for the payment of diyeh, but no sum has yet been agreed. If no agreement is reached, Reza Hejazi will be executed.

Iman Hashemi was 17 in June 2007 when his brother Majid was arrested for fatal stabbing of a man in a fight. Following his brother’s arrest, Iman Hashemi was said to have presented himself to the investigating authorities and confessed to having murdered the man, though he later implied in court that he had been coerced into confessing. Despite his family’s insistence that he was innocent, a court in Esfahan sentenced him to Qesas for murder on 13 January 2007. On 26 May 2007, Branch 42 of the Supreme Court upheld the verdict. Distraught, on 29 September 2007 his brother Majid set himself on fire. Four months later he died of his injuries. The verdict has not been approved by the Head of the Judiciary.


Iran is one of only six countries in the world in which child offenders may face execution. This is despite Iran’s obligations under international law, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to prohibit the execution of juvenile offenders. In the last four years Iran has executed more child offenders than in all those other countries combined. At least 79 child offenders are now on death row in Iran. This number could be considerably higher since not all sentences may have been made public. For more information about executions of child offenders in Iran, please see: Iran: The last executioner of children (MDE 13/059/2007, June 2007), //web.amnesty.org/library/index/engmde130592007 Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases, and supports the global trend away from the use of the death penalty, powerfully expressed in the UN General Assembly’s resolution calling for a worldwide moratorium on executions on 18 December 2007.


Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in English, French, Arabic, Persian or your own language:
- calling for an immediate halt to the executions of Naser Qasimi, Mohammad Reza Haddadi, Reza Hejazi and Iman Hashemi, all convicted of crimes allegedly committed when they were under the age of 18;
- calling on the authorities to declare a moratorium on the implementation of the death penalty as called for by the UN General Assembly in December 2007, and to commute the death sentences passed on Naser Qasimi, Mohammad Reza Haddadi, Reza Hejazi and Iman Hashemi;
- reminding the authorities that Iran is a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which prohibit the use of the death penalty against people convicted of crimes committed when they were under 18.


Leader of the Islamic Republic
His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei

The Office of the Supreme Leader
Islamic Republic Street - Shahid Keshvar Doust Street
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: info@leader.ir
Salutation: Your Excellency

Head of the Judiciary
Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
Howzeh Riyasat-e Qoveh Qazaiyeh / Office of the Head of the Judiciary
Pasteur St., Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e Jomhouri, Tehran 1316814737, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: info@dadgostary-tehran.ir (In the subject line write: FAO Ayatollah Shahroudi)
Salutation: Your Excellency

His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
The Presidency, Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: dr-ahmadinejad@president.ir OR via website: www.president.ir/email

and to diplomatic representatives of Iran accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your section office, if sending appeals after 24 April 2008.

Working to protect human rights worldwide



more from SCE Campaign

4 juveniles to be executed

by . (not verified) on

If they have committed a crime, they deserve it.

David ET

Lucifercus (not verified)

by David ET on

If you are concerned about a human rights situation anywhere in the world (including UK) you can contact amnesty via their website at: www.amnesty.org

You can also search by issue or the country. UK: //www.amnesty.org/en/region/europe-and-central-asia/western-europe/uk

Regardless the issues that you are bringing up is irrelevant to the subject of child executions in Iran nor justify it but it simply is a distraction to it.

If you feel strongly about an isuue , it would be a good idea to start a campaign or join one or write a blog about the subject of your interest which are not relevant to the 4 youth that facing execution in Iran now. 

Ali P.


by Ali P. on

Thanks for the posting.


URGENT CALL by Amnesty

by Lucifercus (not verified) on

on behalve of the social situation of youth and youth-justice in the united kingdom.
Over 12,000 children are remanded into custody every year in Britain, yet half do not receive prison sentences. In a weekly five-part series Press TV reports on the growing trend for youth imprisonment in the UK.

Throughout the late 1970s and 1980s there was a significant reduction in the use of custody for children, including those on remand, as a direct result of the policies of the then Conservative Government. Consequently 14-year-old boys and 14 to 16-year-old girls were excluded from prison remand.

Further lobbying resulted in prison remands for 15 and 16-year-old boys to also be abolished in 1991. Instead, direct remands into local authority secure units were introduced, based on the need to protect the public from “serious harm”. The aim of these units was on attending to the physical, emotional and behavioural needs of the young people remanded therefore focusing on rehabilitation rather than imprisonment.

However, due to a lack of suitable accommodation, the Government failed to fully implement this change pending the expansion of local authority secure units by the department of health. Therefore in 1991 there were only 290 approved secure places for children but 1,263 children remanded into prison custody.

This led to a damaging loophole in the system with a perverse result. Prior to its abolishment, any child under 17 years of age could only be remanded in custody if the local authority had applied to the court for a certificate of unruly character or a secure accommodation order. This ensured that the child had come to the notice of the local authority services as well as the courts, and that both had agreed that custody was the last and only resort.

But with the abolishment of this rule the courts had the power to remand directly into local authority units. The failure to provide enough units resulted in the courts remanding directly into prison custody - the only accommodation available - without recourse to the local authority.

Before this was amended an event occurred that was to change everything. On the afternoon of 12 February 1993, two-year-old Jamie Bulger was abducted and murdered by two ten-year-old boys. The murder of a child by two other children caused an immense public outpouring of shock, outrage and grief.

Both boys were sentenced to life and ordered to serve a minimum of 10 years behind bars. But the popular press and sections of the public felt that the sentence was too lenient. The Sun newspaper handed a petition bearing 300,000 signatures to the then home secretary, Michael Howard, in a bid to increase the minimum sentence.

In 1995, bowing to increasing pressure, the two boy's minimum period to be served was increased to 15 years. However two years later, the Court of Appeal ruled that Michael Howard's decision was unlawful and the home secretary lost the power to set minimum terms for life-sentence prisoners under the age of 18 years. Subsequently in 2002, the home secretary lost complete power of this for any life-sentence prisoner.

In the wake of this tragic event a more punitive approach to dealing with young people involved with the criminal justice system was discernible, with public and political perceptions of youth crime affected by media reports of 'bail bandits' and 'persistent' young offenders.

In the same month, in what was effectively a policy U-turn, the Prime Minister John Major said that society should 'condemn a little more and understand a little less' while the future prime minister Tony Blair, then shadow home secretary, said Labour would be “tough on crime as well as the causes of crime”.

Corkey says: “The murder of Jamie Bulger onset the legislative changes that have made custody more readily available, and the harsher sentencing and remand decisions that have characterised the treatment of young people who break the law since the early 1990s.”

It is ironic that the reaction and change bought about from the devastating loss of one innocent child's life, would ten years later be denying the innocence of many others.

This change in mood continued throughout the decade despite a change in Government in 1997. Labour introduced the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 to establish the overall framework for the delivery of youth justice services and the youth justice board and young offending teams were formed.

But the focus remained on imprisonment rather than rehabilitation. For example the Act abolished the principle of Doli Incapax, which literally translates as “incapable of crime”, a test of maturity required in the case of children aged between 10 and 13. This centuries old protection for children had required the Crown Prosecution Service to prove that the child had known that their actions had been seriously wrong. But now 10-year-old children were being treated the same way as adult offenders.

In the coming years, there were two further major law changes that cemented this change in attitude. In 2001 the criteria to be met prior to a secure remand were substantially relaxed. This has resulted in children being remanded to secure units or young offender institutes for “imprisonable” offences, only because they committed an offence on bail or while remanded to local authority accommodation.

Whereas before a child was only remanded into custody in those cases where it was necessary to protect the public from “serious and imminent danger” it could now be used to “prevent the likelihood of further offences”. It seemed that the presumption of “innocent until proven guilty” was slowly diminishing.

Judge John Samuels QC admits: “There is a real psychological pressure not to grant bail when the reasons for doing so are recorded and may be published if the defendant, while on bail, commits further offences. The new acts, while enshrining the principle of a presumptive entitlement to bail, formulate exceptions to that entitlement in language which makes it sufficiently broad to cover a multiplicity of circumstances with relative ease.”

The latest Criminal Justice Bill in November 2003 went even further. The new legislation actually reversed the presumption in favour of bail in certain cases. Now, instead of requiring the courts to justify their use of prison, the onus falls on defendants to prove that they should not be remanded in custody.

Higham says: “Those with chaotic lives or previous convictions will find it virtually impossible to persuade the courts that they present no further risk and should be granted bail. Prison is no longer a place for criminals, but for the mentally ill and desperate in society, who often end up remanded in custody.
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