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EXECUTION OF 16 YEARS OLD GIRL OUTRAGES PUBLIC OPINION

By Safa Haeri
Posted Friday, August 27, 2004

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PARIS, 27 Aug. (IPS) Iranians and international community expressed outrage at reported execution of the 16-year-old Ateqeh Rajabi on vague charges of un-Islamic behaviour.

According to Press reports from the Islamic Republic, Ms. Rajabi was publicly hanged on a street in the city centre of Neka in the northern province of Mazandaran, on 15 August, for "acts incompatible with chastity".

The lower court judge was so incensed by her protestations that he personally put the noose around her neck.

Faced with domestic and international outcry of dismay, the authorities said the young girl was “mentally incompetent”.

However, informed sources revealed that Ms. Ateqeh was sentenced to death by the judge, a cleric, because during the "trial", she expressed outrage at the misogyny and injustice in the Islamic Republic and its Islam-based judicial system.

“The lower court judge was so incensed by her protestations that he personally put the noose around her neck after his decision had been upheld by the Supreme Court”, the sources reported.

The execution of Ateqeh Rajabi is the tenth execution of a child offender in Iran recorded by Amnesty International since 1990. Amnesty International has urged Iran’s judicial authorities to halt further executions of child offenders - people who were under 18 years old at the time of the offence. This is to bring Iran’s law and practice in line with requirements of international human rights law.

Amnesty International that expressed “outrage” at the execution of the young girl believes that the execution of Ateqeh Rajabi underlines the urgent necessity that Iran pass legislation removing provision for the execution of child offenders, thereby preventing further execution of child offenders, and bringing Iran into line with its obligations under international law.

In an article published Friday 27 August 2004 in the Germany-based internet newspaper Iran Emrooz, Dr. Hoseyn Baqer Zadeh, an Iranian human rights activist observed that the laws of the Islamic Republic are the “most inhuman, segregationist, insulting and discriminatory” against women.

“While, according to Islam-based laws, a woman accused of adultery faces capital punishment, a man can have several wives and commits adultery without punishment”, he observed.

The Islamic Republic are the “most inhuman, segregationist, insulting and discriminatory” against women.

Actually, a man who murdered his wife during her trial in a court in Shahr Rey near Tehran had been acquitted by the court that was judging the case of the woman accused of relations with another man “outside marriage”.

Interestingly, female lawmakers at the present conservatives-dominated Majles, or parliament have opposed attempts by lawyer Shirin Ebadi, the human rights activist and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for 2003 for improving the conditions of women in Iran.

Amnesty International is alarmed that this execution was carried out despite reports that Ateqeh Rajabi was not believed to be mentally competent, and that she reportedly did not have access to a lawyer at any stage.

According to report on “Peyk-e Iran” internet website, Rajabi was sentenced to death approximately three months ago, by a lower court in Neka in the northern Iranian province of Mazandaran, for "acts incompatible with chastity".

During her trial, at which a lawyer did reportedly not represent her, the judge allegedly severely criticised her dress, harshly reprimanding her. It is alleged that Rajabi was mentally ill both at the time of her crime and during her trial proceedings.

But experts have not confirmed this. On the same night that she was buried, unknown individuals reportedly removed Ateqeh’s corpse from the grave. The Rajabi family have lodged a complaint and have called for an investigation.

The co-defendant of Ateqeh Rajabi, an unnamed man, was reportedly sentenced to 100 lashes. He was released after this sentence was carried out.

It is reported that although Ateqeh’s national ID card stated that she was 16 years old, the Mazandaran Judiciary announced at her execution that her age was 22.

The Supreme Court upheld the death sentence and Ateqeh Rajabi was publicly hanged in the city centre of Neka on 15 August.

The co-defendant of Ateqeh Rajabi, an unnamed man, was reportedly sentenced to 100 lashes. He was released after this sentence was carried out.

A bill to raise the minimum age for execution to 18 was reportedly under consideration by parliament in December 2003. However, the bill is believed to have been not ratified by the Guardian Council, Iran’s highest legislative body.

As a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Iran is bound not to execute child offenders. Both treaties provide that capital punishment shall not be imposed for offences committed by persons under 18 year of age at the time of committing the offence. ENDS ATEQEH EXECUTED 27804

 
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EXECUTION OF 16 YEARS OLD GIRL OUTRAGES PUBLIC OPINION
Women are condemned to death for adultery, not men, under Islamic laws



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