Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi has condemned the execution of an Iranian minor found guilty of murder, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.
Ali-Reza Mola Soltani, who was 17 years old, was publicly hanged
on September 21 in the city of Karaj, west of Tehran, for the murder of popular athlete Rouhollah Dadashi in July.
Dadashi, a powerlifter and bodybuilder who twice won competitions for the strongest man in Iran, was stabbed to death.
Speaking with Radio Farda the day of the execution, Ebadi said the hanging constitutes a violation of Iran's international commitments. She pointed out that Mola Soltani stabbed the victim in a street fight without knowing his identity and bore no specific grudge against him. He was therefore not guilty of premeditated murder, Ebadi said.
Ebadi deplored the fact that a number of passers-by assembled to watch the public hanging.
Ebadi said five minors have been executed in Iran over the past year, including two men under 18 hanged two months ago after being found guilty of homosexuality.
"Unfortunately, Iran has the highest rate of execution of persons under the age of 18 in the world; this is a disgrace to its establishment," Ebadi said.
A prosecution spokesman argued that Mola Soltani had reached "religious maturity" according to the lunar calendar, and there were therefore no longer any legal obstacles to his execution.