Executing children

Sixteen year old Ateqeh Rajabi was executed for ‘acts incompatible with chastity’ and publicly hanged on a street in the city centre of Neka, Iran. She had no legal representation and was mentally ill. The judge, who had time to criticise her dress sense, hanged her himself and sentenced her co-defendant to 100 lashes. Ateqeh’s sentence was carried out on 15 August and, sometime later, her grave was robbed. Ateqeh Rajabi was one of four children executed in Iran this year and ten have been executed since 1990, so it’s an upward trend.

It’s an extreme case, but a robust judicial system will take extreme situations in its stride. Here a remote and, on its own terms, highly moral community has succeeded in finding a hate figure to persecute and murder. While the Iranian Supreme Court – which is supposed to keep a check on things – has been proved incompetent.

Ateqeh Rajabi’s fate has been highlighted by Amnesty International as part of its on-going campaign against the death penalty and the execution of children in particular. Children can receive the death penalty in just five countries, so it’s a campaign with success in its sights. The other four are China, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the United States of America.

Coming back to Iran. The good news is that the Guardian Council, Iran’s highest legislative body, is considering a ban and Iran is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, both treaties that outlaw the execution of children. You can do a tiny little bit to nudge them along with just two clicks. First, click this e-mail link, then click send. You may add or subtract from my suggested text as you see fit, but please keep it polite.

If it seems unlikely to you that a polite e-mail will make a difference, you should read these quotes from people to whom Amnesty International has made a difference. If you get any sort of reply, you should let Amnesty know.
Control Arms……Executing children II

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