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October 21 2008 | IRAN


Deputy state prosecutor Zabhi's countermand: executions of juveniles won't be stopped

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 TEHERAN, 20 OTT - In Iran si potra' continuare ad  impiccare i minorenni o coloro che sono stati condannati a morte  per un omicidio compiuto da minorenni. Lo ha precisato il vice  procuratore generale dello Stato, Hossein Zebhi, che la  settimana scorsa aveva suscitato le speranze in un'abolizione  della pena capitale per i minori, affermando che, in base ad una  ''direttiva'' dell'apparato giudiziario, essi dovevano essere  condannati al massimo all'ergastolo.

La ''direttiva'', ha sottolineato oggi Zebhi in dichiarazioni  pubblicate dal quotidiano Kargozaran, non si applica alla legge  del taglione (Qesas in arabo), che e' quella seguita in Iran per  punire i colpevoli di omicidio. ''Il Qesas -ha detto Zebhi - non  e' sotto l'autorita' dello Stato, ma un diritto alla punizione  privata riconosciuto alle famiglie (degli uccisi) secondo la  legge islamica. Quindi solo se le famiglie perdonano l'omicida  egli puo' avere salva la vita''. Indipendentemente, dunque, dal  fatto che il colpevole fosse minorenne al momento del delitto.

Un'avvocatessa iraniana impegnata nella difesa dei diritti  umani, Nasrin Sotudeh, ha comunque sottolineato che la  ''direttiva'', emessa dal capo dell'apparato giudiziario,  ayatollah Mahmud Hashemi Shahrudi, ''non e' cosa nuova'' e i  giudici non sono obbligati a seguirla. Negli anni passati  Shahrudi ha preso altri provvedimenti simili per sospendere sia  le esecuzioni dei minorenni sia le lapidazioni, ma senza  riuscire a fermare queste pratiche. (ANSA).

 AFP Iran : peine de mort toujours possible pour les mineurs en cas  de meurtre.

 TEHERAN, 20 oct 2008 - L'adjoint du procureur général  iranien, Hossein Zebhi, est revenu sur ses précédentes déclarations  sur l'interdiction de la peine de mort pour les mineurs en affirmant  qu'elle restait applicable en cas de condamnation pour meurtre, a  rapporté lundi la presse.

M. Zebhi a distingué le meurtre des autres crimes punissables de  mort selon la loi iranienne, comme les viol, vol à main armée,  trafic de drogue ou encore adultère.

La loi prévoit en cas de meurtre que la famille de la victime  est seule compétente pour faire appliquer ou non un verdict de peine  de mort, car elle peut accorder le pardon au meurtrier dont la peine  est alors commuée en prison.

La loi du talion est reconnue par la législation mais son  application est de la responsabilité de la victime ou de sa  famille.

"La peine peut être réduite dans le seul cas où la famille  accorde son pardon", a dit M. Zebhi, selon le quotidien modéré  Kargozaran.

Il y a quelques jours, M. Zebhi avait déclaré que "si des  accusés de moins de 18 ans commettaient un crime, le maximum de la  peine encourue sera la prison à vie", ajoutant que les mineurs  coupables de trafic de drogue ne seraient pas condamnés à mort.

En la matière, la politique du pouvoir judiciaire est "de  réduire les peines et, dans ces cas, la peine de mort n'est pas  appliquée" car seul le pouvoir est compétent pour décider de la  nature du châtiment.

Il n'a pas précisé ce qu'il en était des condamnations à mort  pour vol à main armée, viol et adultère commises par des mineurs.

La première annonce de M. Zebhi avait été saluée par  l'organisation de défense des droits de l'Homme Amnesty  International, qui y avait vu "un pas salutaire".

L'Iran a pendu cette année six jeunes reconnus coupables d'avoir  commis des crimes avant leur majorité, mais leur exécution a eu lieu  après leurs 18 ans, selon les informations d'Amnesty International.

Par ailleurs, au moins un mineur a été exécuté cette année,  selon la presse iranienne.

Amnesty International, comme beaucoup de militants des droits de  l'Homme, fait campagne pour la fin de la peine de mort pour les  mineurs depuis de nombreuses années.



 Iran official casts doubt on ban of youth executions.

TEHRAN, Oct 20 - An Iranian official has cast doubt on reports that the judiciary has banned executions of juvenile offenders, saying in comments reported on Monday that only a victim's family could commute a killer's sentence.

Hossein Zebhi, assistant for judicial affairs to Iran's prosecutor-general, said in a statement carried by the IRNA news agency last week that a directive was issued commuting death sentences for offenders under 18 to life in jail.

The move was welcomed by Western rights groups which have criticised the Islamic Republic for sentencing youths to death for crimes committed while they were juveniles and carrying them out when they reach 18.

U.S.-based Human Rights Watch said it should save more than 130 offenders on death row.

But Zebhi appeared to take a different line in comments carried on Monday by the Etemad-e Melli daily, suggesting it was for the victim's family to decide the fate of the murderer.

"The principle of retribution ... is not up to the government, rather it is up to the private plaintiff," Zebhi was quoted as saying. "Only if the next of kin give their consent can there be a reduction in the punishment." In last week's report by the official IRNA news agency, Zebhi said offenders under the age of 18 would have their death sentences commuted to life in prison, regardless of the crime.

He said the sentence could be reduced for good behaviour.

Human Rights Watch said in a statement on Friday a similar directive was issued in 2004 banning executions of people under 18 but that this did not stop judges issuing death sentences against juvenile offenders.

It said Iranian officials had justified some death sentences by arguing that executions in murder cases were not executions, but rather enforcement of the private right to retribution of the murder victim's family.

One Iranian lawyer said past directives issued by the judiciary had often been ignored because judges argued they were in conflict with Iran's Islamic law, sharia.

Iran regularly rejects accusations of rights abuses, saying it is implementing sharia. Tehran accuses Western countries of double standards.

Since January 2005, Iran has been responsible for 26 of the 32 known executions of juvenile offenders worldwide, Human Rights Watch said, adding that six juvenile offenders had been executed in 2008.

(Writing by Fredrik Dahl; Editing by Dominic Evans)



Iran maintains death penalty for teenagers convicted of murder.

          Robert Tait and Noushin Hoseiny


          Monday October 20 2008 14.43 BST

          Article history Iran is to continue with the death penalty for juveniles convicted of murder despite moving to end the practice for those found guilty of lesser offences.

The Iranian deputy state prosecutor, Hossein Zabhi, said it remained necessary to execute those who had committed murder before reaching the age of 18 under the country's Islamic laws.

The legislation demands an "eye for an eye", as defined in the Qur'an.

Zabhi's comments greatly dilute the effects of a state directive, issued last week, which instructed judges to curtail the use of capital punishment for those who had committed crimes as children.

The directive was hailed by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch as a major step forward in Iran's attitude towards child executions.

Both organisations had voiced hopes that the decision, taken by the Iranian judiciary chief, Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, would save around 120 teenagers currently awaiting execution.

Iranian law carries the death penalty for several offences, including drug trafficking, apostasy and rape.

Human rights lawyers say the vast majority of minors on death row have murder convictions and would be unaffected by the change.

"The new directive bans execution of criminals who are under 18 only if they have committed crimes related to narcotics that carry death penalty," Zabhi told the Associated Press.

"We can't deny a victim's family the legal right to ask for Islamic qesas ... eye for eye retribution." He added that those convicted of serious drug offences would be given life sentences with the possibility of parole for good behaviour.

However, Mohammad Mostafai, a lawyer who has represented many juvenile defendants, said the number of people reprieved would be in single figures, dismissing the directive as an attempt to ease international pressure.


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