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Victim’s parents hang young Iranian killer

Teen offender executed despite calls to halt execution

An Iranian man was hanged Sunday reportedly by the parents of his victim whom he murdered in a brawl as a teenager, despite international calls urging the Islamic republic to stop such executions.

Behnoud Shojaee had been convicted of stabbing to death 17-year-old Ehsan Nasrollahi during a fight in August 2005 when he himself was aged 17, Iranian news agencies reported.

His execution was postponed at least once last year and again in August.

"The mother and father of Ehsan Nasrollahi themselves carried out the punishment in the Evin prison," the agency ISNA said in reference the notorious detention facility in Tehran.

Amnesty International has said Shojaee intervened to stop a fight between a friend and Nasrollahi , and stabbed Nasrollahi with a shard of glass after being threatened with a knife.

Former Iran judiciary chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi had agreed in June last year to suspend Shojaee's death sentence to give the victim's family a chance to pardon him under Islamic sharia, law.

And a judiciary bill is now awaiting parliament's approval that aims to ease punishments for offences committed by youths and make it harder for courts to sentence minors to death for murder.

But Nasrollahi's family refused to pardon him.

"We didn't stop our efforts until the last moment to gain their clemency but unfortunately it was fruitless and the execution was carried out," judiciary official Fakhredin Jafarzadeh was quoted as saying by ISNA.

Under sharia, the family can spare a murderer from execution by accepting blood money for the victim's life and leaving the convict to serve only a prison sentence.

The mother and father of Ehsan Nasrollahi themselves carried out the punishment in the Evin prison

ISNA

Execution of child offenders

Shojaee’s case drew international attention and several domestic human rights groups also strongly called for halting the execution.

In June 2008, the United Nations human rights arm asked Iran not to execute four offenders sentenced to death over crimes committed when they were minors, including Shojaee.

Seventeen people have been executed in the past two years for crimes committed when under the age of 18, according to rights groups in February.

Iran is a signatory to a U.N. convention on children's rights which stipulates that members cannot execute convicts found guilty of committing crimes as minors.

Last month, the presidency of the 27-nation EU said it was "deeply concerned" by reports of the imminent executions of Shojaee and two other juvenile offenders, saying they would be a direct contravention of Iran's international commitments.

Condemning "the continued widespread occurrence of death sentences and executions" in Iran, the Swedish EU presidency urged it to halt the planned executions and consider alternative sentences for juvenile offenders.

At least 135 other juvenile offenders were known in May to be facing death sentences in Iran, according to a report issued by Amnesty International.

Tehran says the death penalty is a necessary tool for maintaining public security and is applied only after exhaustive judicial proceedings.

Iranian officials reject accusations of human rights violations and accuse the West of double standards, stressing that under Islamic law it is only the family of the victim which can pardon the life of a murderer.

Murder, adultery, rape, armed robbery, apostasy and drug trafficking are all punishable by death under Iran's sharia law, practiced since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

We didn't stop our efforts until the last moment to gain their clemency but unfortunately it was fruitless and the execution was carried out

Fakhredin Jafarzadeh