Iran hangs man sentenced when 17

Oct. 13, 2009 at 1:03 PM
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TEHRAN, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- An Iranian convicted of a fatal 2005 fight when he was 17, was executed by hanging with the victim's mother pulling the stool from under him, his lawyer says.

Behnoud Shojaie was put to death Monday even though the victim's parents at one point had pardoned him, Human Rights Watch, based in New York, said in a release.

"The Iranian judiciary's enthusiasm to execute juvenile offenders despite its international obligations and objections in Iran itself to such brutal acts is shocking," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director for Human Rights Watch. "This is a callous affront to basic human dignity."

The rights group said the hanging was carried out even though Sadegh Ardeshir Larijani, the new head of Iran's judiciary, had issued a stay Aug. 19. Attorneys say Shojaie killed Ehsan Nasrollahi during a 2005 fight, when he was 17, and was convicted of murder despite defense pleas that the crime was actually involuntary manslaughter.

The rights group quoted Shojaie's lawyer as saying many in the crowd of about 300 who had assembled for the execution urged his life be spared and the condemned man begged for his life. It appeared the victim's mother would forgive him and call off the execution after placing a noose around his neck, but she instead "pulled the stool and executed him," the lawyer was quoted as saying.

Human Rights Watch said Shojaie's death was Iran's third execution of a juvenile this year.

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