International protests against execution of Delara Darabi

A flower-laying protest organized by Amnesty International UK outside the Iranian embassy in London on Wednesday is planned to take place from 4-6pm at 16 Princes Gate, SW7 1PT. It will protest against the execution of Delara Darabi and the many other juvenile offenders on death row in Iran.

The laying of white lilies in front of the embassy by Amnesty International’s secretary General Irene Khan, along with other members of the organization, is one of many protests planned to take place outside Iranian embassies worldwide.

“The international consensus against executing child offenders reflects the widespread recognition that because of children’s immaturity, impulsiveness, vulnerability and capacity for rehabilitation, their lives should never be written off – however heinous the crimes of which they are convicted,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

The Iranian authorities ordered a stay of execution on Wednesday, for two juvenile offenders sentenced to death for crimes committed before they reached the age of 18, according to media reports. It is not yet clear how long the suspensions will last.

“The scheduling of these executions, just days after the appalling execution of Delara Darabi, show that the Iranian authorities have total disregard for international law which unequivocally bans the execution of those convicted of crimes committed under the age of 18,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui.

Amir Khaleqi and Safar Angooti, were both due to be executed on Wednesday at 4am local time in Evin prison. They are on the death row for committing murder at the ages of 16 and 17 respectively.

Their stay of execution order came five days after the execution of Delara Darabi, for a murder she was alleged to have committed when she was 17.

Since January 2009, Iran has executed at least two people for crimes they were alleged to have committed while under the age of 18. No other country has done so since 2007. At least 135 other juvenile offenders are known to be on death row in Iran.

Amnesty International has urged the Iranian authorities to adopt new legislation that would ban, once and for all, the execution of juvenile offenders, including those convicted of murder.

The lawyer for the two juvenile offenders, Mohammad Mostafaie, said that Amir Khaleqi killed a man during a fight when he was drunk. Amir does not remember how the incident happened but was so remorseful that he turned himself into the police. He was 16 years old at the time. Amir was eventually convicted, despite the court taking into consideration that he was intoxicated, and a juvenile offender.

The Head of Judiciary granted a two-month stay of execution for Amir in February that has now expired.

Safar Angooti was convicted of murder at the age of 17. According to the newspaper Etemad, in April 2008 Safar stabbed a rival suitor who was talking to a girl he liked and was sentenced to death. Safar claimed that he had killed the man but not intentionally.

According to reports, Mohammad Mostafaie was himself arrested on Tuesday when he left a meeting with Judiciary Spokesman, Ali Reza Jamshidi, in which he tried to get the executions halted. He was released after a few hours.