Iran’s Children on Death Row

“I am a murderer!” The young voice trembled on the other side of the telephone line. “I was 15 when I committed the murder. I regret what I did. It was an accident. Please save me! I want to live. I want to be free. I am living the last days of my life. Any day now they may take me to the noose. I want to survive. Is there anybody there who can save me?”

The short conversation fades into the distant tumult of Adel Abad Prison in Shiraz, a city in southwest-central Iran, where Behnam Zare’ has been awaiting execution for three years.

In the spring of 2005, Behnam was a freshman in high school when a scuffle over pet pigeons broke out between him and his friend Mehrdad. Minutes later, Behnam had become his buddy’s murderer. He says he still has no recollection of how it really happened.

Behnam, still a minor at the time he was arrested, landed in prison. Not long after the judicial process began he was convicted of murder in the primary court and sentenced to death.

Iran is among the very few countries in which children under the age of 18 can be sentenced to death. Although a signatory to the United Nations’ International Convention on the Rights of the Child and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which prohibit the ill-treatment and execution of children or juvenile offenders under any circumstance, the Islamic Republic still preserves for itself the right of over-ruling the treaties.

What understanding and humanitarianism can you expect from the religious freaks of Iran? I suppose this is the ideal state for them, Sharia laws!!!

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