Delara Darabi

A young woman was executed in violation of Iranian law

all credits Stop Child Executions
originally published 1st May 2009

Updates on this case will be listed at the foot of this item

Delara Darabi was executed in secret in Rasht Prison on 1st May 2009, without prior notification given to her attorney. She was sentenced to death for a murder that happened during a break-in when she was 17 years old. According to Delara the murder of her father’s female cousin was committed by her 19 year old boyfriend Amir Hossein Sotoudeh, whom she was in love with. Delara initially confessed to the murder, but soon retracted her confession.

She claimed that Amir Hossein asked her to admit responsibility for the murder in order to protect him from execution, believing that since she was under the age of 18, she could not be sentenced to death.

Delara Darabi’s death sentence was given by a lower court in the northern city of Rasht. Branch 107 (juvenile court) confirmed her execution in her second trial and yet again in Branch 33 of the Supreme Court. Amir Hossein received a prison sentence of 10 years for his involvement in the crime. Amnesty International made several statements in Delara’s support.

Delara was originally scheduled to be executed April 20, but her execution was stayed and postponed for two months by the head of the judiciary after massive domestic and international pressure.

But then she was unexpectedly executed in violation of Iran’s own laws, less than two weeks later, in what was probably a cynical move by the Iranian authorities to avoid more protests. Her attorney was not informed in advance, to avoid news about the execution leaking out.

On 20th January 2007 Delara attempted suicide by cutting her wrists; however her cell-mate noticed the incident and called for help. She was rushed to the hospital, where she was revived.

Delara was the most well known Iranian minor on the death row. She was also a talented artist and continued her art work in prison. In 2006 there was an exhibition of her paintings in Tehran. In his blog Iranian attorney, Mohammad Mostafaei who represents many Iranian juveniles on the death row wrote this morning: “She was not a murderer. I swear she was not“

Amnesty International Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme, Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui stated that “Amnesty International is outraged at the execution of Delara Darabi, and particularly at the news that her lawyer was not informed about the execution, despite the legal requirement that he should receive 48 hours’ notice.

This appears to have been a cynical move to avoid domestic and international protests which might have saved Delara Darabi’s life.. This indicates that even decisions by the Head of the Judiciary carry no weight and are disregarded in the provinces”.

“Iranian leadership and judiciary must be held responsible for execution of Delara Darabi” said Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam spokesperson of Iran Human Rights group. “Lack of strong and sustainable reactions from the world community is one of the main reasons why Iranian authorities continue execution of minors.

Iranian authorities have learned that their violations of the human rights lead just to some verbal protests from the world community, without any practical consequences… It is the time that UN and world community show that UN’s conventions are more than just formalities” said Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam who asks UN and EU to condemn Delara’s execution and put sanctions on the Iranian authorities.”

“As long as the international community and United Nations do not officially and seriously hold the government of the Islamic Republic and individuals within it fully responsible for such obvious crimes against children and humanity and as long as the gross human rights violations in Iran are being ignored by the leaders and governments of the world, the notion of accepting the regime of Iran in to the world’s civil community remains to be an unreal expectation and at best a slap in the face of all Iranians and the humanity.


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