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Iranian Minor Offender 'Faces Imminent Execution'

Mohammad Reza Haddadi
Mohammad Reza Haddadi
The parents of a juvenile offender in Iran have been told by judicial officials that their son will be hanged on July 7, the jailed man's brother has told RFE/RL's Radio Farda.

Mohammad Reza Haddadi was sentenced to death in 2004 for a murder he allegedly committed the previous year -- when he was 15 years old.

His brother Rahmatullah said Haddadi had been set up by his co-defendants, who were over 18 years of age at the time the crime was committed.

"[Mohammad Reza] did not commit murder; he was fooled by his two co-defendants," Rahmatullah Haddadi told Radio Farda. "They told him that if he claimed responsibility for the murder they would give money to his family."

Haddadi's lawyer, however, told Radio Farda on July 6 that he did not think his client would be executed today.

Mohammad Mostafaei noted that he has not been informed of Haddadi's impending execution and that as his lawyer he must -- according to the law -- be notified 48 hours before the execution.

Yet Mostafaei said he knew of cases in Iran in which death sentences were carried out without prior notice being given to the lawyer -- even though such
actions violate the law.

Haddadi's case was one of three highlighted on July 6 by European Union foreign-policy chief Catherine Ashton, who said she was "deeply concerned" about reports his execution "may be imminent."

Rahmatullah Haddadi noted that his brother had no previous criminal record.

He added that Haddadi's death sentence had been issued by a lower court. No other court sessions were allowed despite the seriousness of the sentence and the fact that it involved a minor.