Rights group asks Iran to stay execution

Dec. 8, 2009 at 6:42 PM
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TEHRAN, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- Amnesty International called on the Iranian government to halt the execution of a juvenile offender scheduled for Wednesday.

Mohammad Reza Haddadi, now 21, was sentenced to death for a crime that occurred when he was 15 and which he denies committing, the human rights organization said Tuesday in a release.

Masoumeh Tahmasebi, one of Haddadi's lawyers, said that she had not been informed of the scheduled execution, as is required under Iranian law, but that another prisoner called Haddadi's father to tell him his son would be executed Wednesday, Amnesty International said. This is the fourth time Haddadi's execution was scheduled and postponed and only the head of the judiciary, Ayatollah Sadeqh Larijani, can now stop the execution from occurring.

"It is shocking that Iran continues to flout international law by arranging to kill those accused of committing crimes when they were children," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International's Middle East deputy program director. "Not only did Mohammad Reza Haddadi not receive a fair trial, but the repeated halting and rescheduling of his execution date has also compounded his suffering,"

Haddadi was sentenced to die in 2004 for a murder that occurred when he was 15. He initially confessed, but later retracted his confession, saying he claimed responsibility for the killing because his two co-defendants had offered to give his family money if he did so. His co-defendants also supported Haddadi's claims of innocence.

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