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Iran Executes Woman Convicted Of Crime As A Minor


Delara Darabi

Delara Darabi

Iran has executed a 23-year-old woman, Delara Darabi, for a crime committed when she was a minor.

Darabi’s lawyer Abdolsamad Khoramshah confirmed to Radio Farda that she was executed this morning in prison in the northwestern city of Rasht.

Darabi was arrested when she was 17 years old in connection with the murder of a relative. At that time, she and her 19-year-old boyfriend, Amir Hossein Sotoudeh, tried to rob the house of her father's 58-year-old female cousin, Mahin, and the cousin was killed.

Darabi initially confessed to the murder. But she later retracted her confession, saying she had made it because Sotoudeh told her she could not be executed for murder because she was underage.

In an interview in April, Darabi's lawyer Khoramshah told Radio Farda that "it is very unlikely that the murder was committed by a girl with a frail body. A strong young man was there. How is it possible that the murder was done by a weak girl?"

Sotoudeh was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment for complicity in the murder.

The head of the judiciary had recently delayed Darabi’s execution to allow her family to negotiate with close kin of the victim in the hope that they might accept payment in lieu of capital punishment in the case.

High-Profile Case

Human rights groups including Amnesty International had urged the Iranian authorities to commute her death sentence because she was a minor at the time of the crime.

Darabi's case has alarmed human rights activists, and her tragic fate has made her a symbol of the dozens of juvenile offenders who currently face execution in Iran.

Iran is one of the few countries that executes people for crimes committed as juveniles.

Many Iranians campaigned, through Facebook and Twitter, for Darabi's life to be spared. She reportedly attempted to commit suicide in her cell in 2007.

On death row, Darabi told the story of her life through her paintings, most of them dark. An exhibition of her paintings was held in Tehran in 2006.

Iran is a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Those accords prohibit the execution of people convicted of crimes committed when they were under 18.

In a 2007 report, Amnesty International described Iran as the "last executioner of children," which it defines as anyone under the age of 18.
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