Re “Iran’s Leader Criticizes U.S. Policies Around World” (news article, Sept. 26):
In his interview with The New York Times, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran made the claim that juvenile offenders are not executed in Iran.
In fact, Iran leads the world in the execution of juvenile offenders — those whose alleged crimes occurred before they were 18.
At least eight juvenile offenders were executed in 2007, and six have been executed so far in 2008.
The most recent execution, of Behnam Zare, took place on Aug. 26. He was only 15 at the time he allegedly killed a man during a scuffle.
At least 132 juvenile offenders remain under sentence of death, including Soghra Najafpour, who was 13 at the time of a murder that she insists she did not commit.
The inadequacy of the judicial proceedings in which death sentences are handed down further compounds this atrocity.
On Sept. 2, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights called on Iran to end juvenile executions. Mr. Ahmadinejad’s government should heed this call and immediately cease this abhorrent practice.
Chicago, Sept. 30, 2008
The writer is the Iran country specialist for Amnesty International USA.