Iran Paper Says Execution of Minors Could Still Continue Despite New Promises
[… ] Therefore, on the basis of article 32 of the amendment to the law for fighting against narcotics all death sentences must be approved by the prosecutor general of the country and by the head of the Supreme Court before they are carried out. If the death sentences are not approved by one of those two above-mentioned legal officials they cannot be carried out. In these two institutions [the prosecutor’s office and the Supreme Court] the death sentences for the offenders who are less than 18 years of age will be commuted with two degrees of amnesty on the basis of the policies of the Judiciary [death penalty would be commuted to life sentence and in case of good behaviour the sentence would be reduced to 15 years]. Consequently, on this basis, the death sentences for offenders who are less than 18 years of age will be made null and void. If those people have shown good behaviour during the period of their detention they would even be freed on bail.
The silence of the judiciary
The news created so much joy that for a few hours it dispelled all anxiety and all concerns about the execution of minors (young offenders below the age of 18), hoping that at least it would reduce those numbers. However, the reality was somewhat different. In response to the questions of all officials, all reporters or all defence lawyers all judiciary officials have the following sentences on their lips: “Young people will not be executed but the sentence of retribution [qisas] will be implemented in their case.” All the smiles, thanks and interviews lasted only for a single day, because yesterday once again the deputy prosecutor general of the country gave an interview to announce a decision with great happiness. He explained: “The principle of retribution for minors (young people below the age of 18) is basically not a governmental penalty [hadd- e hokumati], but is a personal penalty. The legal laws and the laws of the Shari’a have basically given this right to those who own the blood [a person close to someone who has been killed and who should receive satisfaction from the murderer]. Only if those in charge of the blood express their satisfaction the penalty can be reduced by one degree according to the public aspect of the crime [the public right to the punishment of the criminals].”
Consequently, on the basis of this worrying explanation, the execution of minors still remains intact, and the situation of some 100 minors who have been condemned to retribution on charges of murdering someone, or who would be sentenced, has not changed compared to a day earlier. Nevertheless, judicial authorities calmly dismissed the large titles of articles by foreign media that, quoting a morning newspaper, had reported “the elimination of the execution of minors in Iran.” They merely dismissed such reports with a smile. This was exactly the same as they had done in reaction to the happiness of foreign and some domestic media that had reported “the elimination of the punishment of stoning to death in Iran.”