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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 June 2007, 07:17 GMT 08:17 UK
Iran rapped over child executions
By Pam O'Toole
BBC News

Two Iranian youths are prepared for hanging in Mashhad, Iran (file picture)
Amnesty says 24 child offenders have been executed in Iran since 1990
Human rights group Amnesty International has called on Iran to halt the execution of child offenders.

In a new report, it says Iran is the only country to have executed child offenders so far this year.

It lists the names of 71 other child offenders it says are known to be facing the death penalty.

The organisation defines a "child offender" as a person convicted of crimes they committed when they were under the age of 18.

In a report entitled Iran: the Last Executioner of Children, Amnesty says that since 1990, 24 child offenders have been executed in Iran - more than in any other country in the world.

Two children executed so far this year
71 other child offenders face the death penalty
24 child offenders have been executed in Iran since 1990
Source: Amnesty International

Eleven of these people were still under 18 at the time of their execution, while the others were kept on death row until they reached 18 or were convicted and sentenced after reaching that age, the report says.

"Only three other countries have executed child offenders in the past three years according to information received by Amnesty International," says Drewery Dyke of Amnesty International.

"In three years, Iran has executed more child offenders than all those other countries combined. It's now the case that as of June 2007, Iran is the only country to have executed child offenders, having executed two in 2007."


Amnesty notes Iran denies executing children.

But it says it is calling on the Iranian authorities to halt further executions of child offenders and amend laws so no minors who commit crimes can be sentenced to death.

Amnesty's Drewery Dyke says public opinion in Iran is increasingly opposed to the death penalty for those who commit crimes under the age of 18.

"Iran is isolated in this regard. And it's a tragic isolation, because it does not seem to be what defenders in Iran want, it does not seem to be entirely what a large part of the judiciary wants.

"It's a practice that is increasingly out of step with what Iranians themselves expect from their judicial system."

Amnesty says a draft law proposed by the judiciary in 2001 and still under consideration by the Iranian authorities could pave the way for the abolition of the death sentence for minors - or at least result in a reduction in the number of offences for which child offenders could be sentenced to death.

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