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Iran hangs minor for murder: report

world Updated: Jun 12, 2008 12:51 IST

AFP
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Iran has hanged a 17-year-old boy in the western city of Sanandaj in defiance of international conventions prohibiting the execution of minors, the Kargozaran newspaper reported on Thursday.

Mohammad Hassanzadeh, who was convicted of killing a 10-year-old boy in 2006, was executed in the Sanandaj prison on Tuesday, the paper reported.

The execution came even though Iran's judiciary chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi had advised the local court to "settle the issue through reconciliation" with the victim's family.

"None of our efforts to reach an agreement with the victim's family was successful and therefore the sentence was carried out on Tuesday morning," an unnamed local judicial official was quoted as saying by the paper.

Under Islamic sharia law, the family can spare a murderer from execution by accepting blood money for the victim's life and leaving the convict to serve a prison sentence.

The human rights watchdog Amnesty International has already condemned the execution as "yet another blatant violation by the Iranian authorities of their international obligations."

Iran is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child which prohibit the execution of minors who were under the age of 18 at the time of the offence.

The report in Kargozaran was the first confirmation inside Iran that the execution had taken place. Amnesty said Hassanzadeh was "about 15" at the time of the offence.

Hassanzadeh's hanging was carried out on the same day Shahroudi issued an order to stay for one month the execution of two youths due to be hanged in Tehran who had committed murders while minors.

The report said that Hassanzadeh was 17-and-a-half at the time of the hanging.

The European Union and international human rights groups have been pressuring Iran to stop executing those convicted of crimes they committed under the age of 18.

The judiciary has maintained that minors are not executed in Iran but rights groups have complained after several documented cases of convicts being hanged after reaching the age of 18.