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The Iranian Lawyer Who Saves Children From The Death Penalty

"The Guardian" has a compelling Persepolis-inspired animation about Mohammad Mostafaei, an Iranian lawyer who has saved 20 out of the 40 juveniles he has defended against the death penalty in Iran.

To mark a new Amnesty report about the rise in executions in the Middle East, the animation tracks Mostafaei's journey into law. He was 14 when he first saw a notice for a public execution. Intrigued, he went to watch, expecting to see a hardened criminal. Instead he saw a trembling young man.

("The Guardian" also has a compelling account of a man who was arrested when he was 16 and spent seven years on death row.)

After that he decided to pursue law and has made a career defending juveniles on death row and women who have been sentenced to death for stoning. A staunch critic of the Iranian judicial system, he left the country in 2010 and sought asylum in Norway.

In 2009, Mohammad Mostafaei co-produced a video for RFE/RL about juvenile executions, where the filmmakers talk to juvenile offenders on death row, as their parents and advocates frantically beg the victims' family for forgiveness.

Iran’s Child Offenders on Death Row
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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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