This morning, Iranian authorities executed Delara Darabi in Rasht Central Prison. She is the second person to be executed this year after being convicted of a crime she was alleged to have committed while still under 18, Amnesty International revealed today.
“Amnesty International is outraged at the execution of Delara Darabi, and particularly at the news that her lawyer was not informed about the execution, despite the legal requirement that he should receive 48 hours’ notice. This appears to have been a cynical move on the part of the authorities to avoid domestic and international protests which might have saved Delara Darabi’s life,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme.
Delara Darabi was executed despite her having been given a two-month stay of execution by the Head of the Judiciary on 19 April.
“This indicates that even decisions by the Head of the Judiciary carry no weight and are disregarded in the provinces,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui.
Delara Darabi was convicted of murdering a relative in 2003 when she was 17. She initially confessed to the murder, believing she could save her boyfriend from the gallows, but later retracted her confession. She was being detained at Rasht Prison in northern Iran since her arrest in 2003, during which time she developed a significant talent as a painter.
Amnesty International does not consider her trial to have been fair, as the courts later refused to consider new evidence which the lawyer said would have proved she could not have committed the murder.
Amnesty International had campaigned for her life since her case came to light in 2006, urging the Iranian authorities to commute her death sentence and calling for a her re-trial in proceedings that meet international standards.
The execution of Delara Darabi brings the number of executions in Iran this year to 140. She is the second woman known to have been executed. Iran has executed at least forty two juvenile offenders since 1990, eight of them in 2008 and one on 21 January 2009, in total disregard of international law, which unequivocally bans the execution of those convicted of crimes committed when under the age of 18.