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Turmoil in Tehran

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By Michelle Malkin  •  June 27, 2007 09:46 AM

There’s rioting over gas rationing in Iran. Bloggers covering the turmoil here , here, and here. Iran is blaming–who else?–the U.S. for the unrest.

Meanwhile, human rights groups are paying attention to Iran’s execution of minors:

In a troubling report on the execution of minors in Iran, Amnesty International said yesterday that at least 71 child offenders are on death row and more than 24 have been executed since 1990, more than in any other country.

Defendants younger than 18 are being hanged after swift decisions and hurried procedures, said the report, “Iran: The Last Executioner of Children.” Of the 24 child offenders reported executed, 11 were still younger than 18 at the time of their deaths.

The 41-page report lists names and details of each known case but says the actual number of executions was higher because many death penalty cases in Iran go unreported…

…Iranian officials deny that the government executes minors, although two such executions have been recorded this year, according to Amnesty’s Iran country specialist, Elise Auerbach.

Under Iranian law, capital offenses include adultery by married people, incest, rape, four convictions of an unmarried person for fornication, three convictions for drinking alcohol, or four convictions for homosexual acts among men.

The report noted the emergence in recent years of a growing movement for the abolition of the death penalty for minors. The report said activists, lawyers, journalists and children’s rights advocates have stepped up to represent minors on death row and in some cases prevented executions by highlighting miscarriages of justice. They have campaigned for an abolition of the laws allowing for such executions, putting themselves at great personal risk and facing bureaucratic harassment and travel bans.

In one case outlined in the report, Sina Paymard was a 16-year old drug addict in 2004 when he was sentenced to death for knifing a man during a fight over a marijuana purchase. Two weeks after his 18th birthday in 2006, he was taken to the gallows to be hanged.

With a noose around his neck, Paymard’s final request was to play the ney, a reed flute, which his father had given him. The mellifluous tune moved the victim’s relatives, who agreed to a payment from his family in lieu of his execution. After the family struggled to collect the $160,000, the victim’s relatives refused to accept it. Paymard remains on death row in a prison in Karaj.

Several of the child offenders on death row are members of minority groups, such as Iranian Arabs, Afghan refugees, homosexuals, and young girls who had been abused and molested.

***

The Corner’s Iran round-up here.

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