Last updated: 20 September, 2011

Amnesty urges 11th-hour stay for Iran death row teen

Human rights group Amnesty International called on Tuesday for an 11th-hour stay of execution for a 17-year-old due to be hanged after being convicted of the murder of a man billed as Iran’s strongest.

Alireza Molla-Soltani was sentenced to death last month for the murder of Ruhollah Dadashi, a popular athlete whom he told the trial he killed only in self-defence after a driving dispute led to a confrontation.

He is scheduled to be hanged in public on Wednesday in a public square in the sprawling Tehran satellite city of Karaj, which was the scene of the alleged murder, even though he was a minor at the time of the alleged offence.

“The fact that Iran has decided to execute a 17-year old shows how little respect the authorities have for international human rights standards,” said the London-based watchdog’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui.

“Executing juvenile offenders is strictly forbidden under international treaties that Iran has signed up to.

“While we acknowledge the seriousness of the crime for which Alireza Molla-Soltani has been convicted, hanging a minor for acting in what appears to be self-defence is wrong and legally dubious,” she added.

Two of the boy’s friends, who were with him on the night of the alleged murder, are reportedly scheduled to receive 80 lashings each in public in the same Karaj square on Wednesday, Amnesty said.

It called for their immediate halting, noting that floggings constitute cruel punishments amounting to torture, which are forbidden under international law.