Juvenile Offender faces Imminent Execution despite Retraction of Sentence
Local officials insist on implementing execution of Abu Moslem Sohrabi, who claims he acted in self defense after being raped
(21 July 2008) The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran is calling on the Iranian Judiciary to halt the imminent execution of Abu Moslem Sohrabi for a crime he allegedly committed at the age of 17. Local officials are reportedly proceeding with plans to execute Sohrabi despite an order from the Judiciary to re-investigate the case, in which Sohrabi claimed he acted in self defense after being raped.
“This case epitomizes the vulnerability of the Iranian people and particularly juveniles in a system without due process and the Rule of Law, and which ignores the world regarding juvenile executions. Iran’s Judiciary must halt this execution now,” the Campaign stated.The case of Sohrabi does not meet the requirements for execution even under Iranian laws. Sohrabi is accused of murdering a man named Amin, eight years older than himself. Sohrabi claims that the murder was an act of self-defense during a confrontation between them in outskirts of Firoozabad, Fars province, in December 2001. Amin had sexually assaulted and raped Sohrabi on two previous occasions. The confrontation ensued after Amin initiated another attempt to sexually assault Sohrabi.
In a letter to the Supreme Court, the judge who issued the original death sentence, Mohammadi Moghadam, retracted his ruling in light of evidence that Sohrabi was a rape victim and acted in self-defense.
Sohrabi’s lawyer, Gholamhussein Raiisi, has publicly stated that although he submitted an appeal to the Judiciary and the authorities in Tehran ordered a re-investigation to the case, local officials in Fars are resisting this order and have initiated proceedings to implement Sohrabi’s execution.
According to information received by the Campaign, the local officials claim the order from Tehran does not specifically demand a stay of execution, and insist on carrying out the execution. The Campaign believes the head of the Judiciary should immediately suspend the local officials for disobeying the ruling.
As a party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Iran is obligated to abolish the execution of juveniles for crimes committed while under the age of 18. However, Iran continues to execute juvenile offenders in large numbers.
There are currently at least 150 children on the death row. Only a handful of countries continue to implement such executions. According to Amnesty International, there are only seven juvenile offenders on the death row in other countries: three in Saudi Arabia, three in Sudan, and one in Yemen.