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Iran Hangs A Child Offender

Iran this week hanged a man for a murder he was was convicted of committing at the age of 15.

Reza Hejazi, 20, was executed on August 19 at Isfahan city prison.

Hejazi’s lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaie, told RFE/RL's Radio Farda that he had sought a stay of execution while negotiating with the victim’s family. Under Iranian law, the victim’s family has the right to pardon the accused by accepting so-called “blood money.”

Mostafaie said officials had agreed with his request, but that Hejazi was later executed anyway, despite their pledge.

Human rights activists, including Tehran-based Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, have condemned the execution as a violation of international conventions on child rights. Iran is a party to the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which prevent signatories from executing convicts under the age of 18.

Rights activists argue that Hejazi is considered a juvenile offender since he was a minor at the time of the crime.

Under Iran’s laws, however, the legal responsibility age for boys is 15, while girls are punishable from the age of 9.

Along with Hejazi, four other men, including a drug dealer and a rapist, were hanged in Iran on August 19.

Amnesty International says more than 190 people have been executed in Iran this year. Under the country’s Islamic laws, murder, armed robbery, adultery, and drug trafficking are crimes punishable by death. Last year, Iran reportedly carried out 317 executions -- the highest rate of execution in the world after China.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.


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