Amnesty International – URGENT ACTION: Ali, a 16-year-old student, may be at risk of imminent execution for the murder of another student in his high school, which took place between mid-January and mid-February 2003. Amnesty International has recently learned that Ali was sentenced to death in June 2004, and his sentence has already been confirmed by the Supreme Court.
Iran: Ali [surname unknown”> (m), aged 16
PUBLIC AI Index: MDE 13/002/2005
UA 14/05 Fear of imminent execution
19 January 2005
IRAN Ali [surname unknown”> (m), aged 16
Ali, a 16-year-old student, may be at risk of imminent execution for the murder of another student in his high school, which took place between mid-January and mid-February 2003. Amnesty International has recently learned that Ali was sentenced to death in June 2004, and his sentence has already been confirmed by the Supreme Court.
According to a report in the daily newspaper Etemad, Ali and his classmate Milad [surname unknown”>, were responsible for keeping discipline among their fellow pupils at the high school. On the day of the incident, the victim, 16-year-old Mazdak Khodadadian, had arrived late for his lessons having left some important belongings (jamamadi-esh) at home. Milad ordered him to speak to the schools head teacher (nazem). At the request of Mazdak Khodadadian, Ali and Milad met him at the school gate at the end of the day. According to Alis testimony, Mazdak Khodadadian started an argument with the two young boys and hit Ali. Ali, who was carrying a knife in his pocket, reportedly lunged at Mazdak Khodadadian but did not realise he had stabbed him. It is only when Ali heard the shouting of the students who had gathered around them that he realized that Mazdak was wounded. Mazdak Khodadadian was transferred to hospital and later died from his injury.
The case reportedly went before Branch 122 of the Karaj General Court, where the head of the Special Court for Children (Dadgah-e Vije-e Jorayem-e Etfal) sentenced Ali to death, or qesas (retribution). Milad was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment for his participation in the incident. Branch 27 of the Supreme Court has reportedly upheld Alis sentence, though Amnesty International is unaware of the date when this occurred. It is thought that Ali remains in detention, awaiting execution.
According to a 15 January 2005 report on the internet news site, ILNA, at least 30 other individuals under the age of 18, who have been sentenced to death, are currently detained in a juvenile detention centre (Kanoun-e Eslah va Tarbiyat) in Tehran and Rajai Shahr, a town close to Tehran.
As a party to the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, Iran has undertaken not to execute anyone for an offence committed when they were under 18 years old. For the last three years, Iranian authorities have been considering legislation that would prohibit the use of the death penalty for offences committed under the age of 18. Article 41 of this law requires the authorities to have child offenders examined by psychiatrists and social workers.
Iran has executed at least three child offenders in 2004. In addition to this, on 12 November 2004, a 14-year-old boy died after receiving 85 lashes for eating in public during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. According to unconfirmed reports, the metal cable used to flog him struck the back of his head, causing a brain haemorrhage.
Amnesty International opposes the death penalty as the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment, in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Iran is a state party. Article 6 of the ICCPR states: “Sentence of death shall not be imposed for crimes committed by persons below eighteen years of age”.