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Iranian Official Denies Executing Minors, Stonings

Tehran, 11 January 2005 (Radio Farda) -- An Iranian official today denied that Iran is executing criminals under the age of 18 or stoning people to death.

Speaking in Tehran, judiciary spokesman Jamal Karimi-Rad dismissed such reports as foreign propaganda intended to distort the image of the Islamic republic.

Agence France Presse says that no sentence of stoning has been carried out in Iran for more than a year, apparently under pressure from the European Union, which has made human rights a part of its ongoing effort to develop closer trade relations with Iran.

Human rights groups say that while Iran is apparently observing a moratorium on stoning people to death, there are cases of minors being executed in the country.

Western experts say some of the youth are being held in prison until they are 18 to be excuted after their birthday.

(AFP/Radio Farda)