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death penalty outrage

By ATWadmin On January 17th, 2007

nazaninwithlawyer.bmpNazanin Fatehi (pictured left) at her retrial last week. Her lawyers received verbal confirmation from the court that she will be exonerated from the charge of murder.  However the court has ruled that disproportionate force was used by Nazanin while trying to defend herself and her 15-year old niece from rapists. Accordingly, they have asked Nazanin to pay “dieh” (blood money) to receive a pardon from the family of the deceased. Once this amount is paid, Nazanin can be released from prison.

Her laywers are appealing as Nazanin is innocent for acting in self-defence and  should not have to pay any money at all (3 out of the 5 judges came to this decision re the dieh). The appeal may take several months, so in the meantime arrangements may be made to have Nazanin released from prison by paying bail money into court – a sum set at a staggering (and impossible) $40,000.  Neverthless her mother extended her thanks to all who signed the petition and pushed this case into the limelight. "You brought us the only one wish that we had: freedom of our daughter. May God give all of you, our brothers and sisters health and happiness for all that you have done ".

There are at least 23 child offenders on death row in Iran.  Iran and Pakistan are the only countries known to have executed child offenders during the last year. Iran are a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which forbids executing someone who was under the age of 18 at the time of the offence.  To get round this, the Iranian authorities keep the youths locked up in jail until they have turned 18 before they execute them. Legislation banning the death penalty for child offenders have been considered for several years, but it has never been passed.

info from Save Nazanin campaign

29 Responses to “death penalty outrage”

  1. This girl made a mistake in the choice of her "crimes". To have international sympathy one must gas Kurdish villages.

  2. ..the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which forbids executing someone who was under the age of 18 at the time of the offence. To get round this, the Iranian authorities keep the youths locked up in jail until they have turned 18 before they execute them….

    That isn’t a way of getting round the convention. No matter what age they execute someone if they were under 18 at the time of the offence then it is a breach of the convention to execute them no matter how long they keep them in jail to age them.

  3. Colm: Who is going to stop them?

  4. http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGACT500012004
    "Since 1990 Amnesty International has recorded 34 executions of child offenders – 19 of them in the USA. Since 2000 there have been 14 – nine of them in the USA. But even in the USA, such executions are not widespread: 16 of the 38 US states whose laws retain the death penalty exclude its use against child offenders, as does the federal government, and only three states – Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia – have executed child offenders since 2000."

  5. Alan, I went to AI’s website and their posterboy was Napoleon Beazley, executed in TX for an execution style murder he committed at 17 years 7 months. After the US supreme Court refused to hear his case, the Tx Court of Appeals stayed the case for a final review.

    http://www.txexecutions.org/reports/270.asp

  6. Incredible, Alison’s last paragraph can just as easily apply to Texas! How come we don’t hear any more of this?
    Charles…..?

    BTW. Well done, Alison, and all those involved in the campaign on behalf of this girl.

  7. Cunningham, After reading the last paragraph, I suppose it would apply to my great state. I’m no lawyer, but I know that juries have some leeway as regards to age. Premeditation has something to do with it. Read the link I posted above. Being 4 months shy of 18 was not a mitigating factor. Also, the U.S. Suremes gave the green light.

  8. First of all i think child executions in the US are wrong. However i very much doubt that the US would execute someone like Nazanin, who, had she submitted to rape, would have been executed for crimes against morality, much less had her up in court for defending herself. Or Ateqeh Rajabi (sometimes reported as Atefeh) who was sixteen when she was executed in Iran for allegedly having committed "acts incompatible with chastity" (having sexual intercourse with an older man), and for removing her hijab while arguing with her judge in court.

  9. I have just read Alison’s blog ‘Making Headlines’ re a Mr Moderate Moslem,(if you haven’t read it – it is about a moderate moslem making noises of how the rest of the world should bow out of his world). Now I wonder what his position on the case of Nazanin would be?

  10. Alison: I can not imagine a woman even being charged with first degress murder, let alone face a death sentence based upon that fact scenario here in the U.S. However, there have been situations were a child offender has been executed as Alan pointed out above and that is more problematic. It is generally in a situation where the crime was so terrible that the minor was tried as an adult. It is a very troubling concern. There was even a case, the name escapes me now, in which a state was arguing for the right to medicate a prisoner into a competency (which he didn’t have otherwise) so he could be executed. In effect, they were making him mentally better so they could execute him.

  11. Mahons, as a lawyer, what is your opinion of the level of due process given to those convicted of a capital crime? Since the Supremes are often brought in, isn’t the level quite high?

  12. Charles: I probably would phrase it differently. I don’t think people on trial are "afforded" due process. I think it is their fundamental right. Clearly many are convicted after being afforded due process, fair trials and excellent review of their cases by thoughtful jurists. However, many are not, and even the sometime intervention of the Supreme Court doesn’t hide the fact that the application of the death penalty is often flawed. The statistics demonstrate it is applied more often to the poor and to minorities who can not afford the same kind of defense as others. There have been capital trials in which the defense lawyer literally slept during portions of the trial or failed to mount a zealous defense. It is a scary thing. When you consider proesecutorial misconduct (such as appears to be the case in the Duke Rape case) you have quite a few factors floating around that should cause concern.

  13. Of course if they executed a few more lawyers I might be swayed to support the death penalty.

  14. Thanks Mahons, both in the thoughtful response and in sharpening up my question.

  15. Charles: Don’t let on that I was ever thoughtful. It will ruin my reputation for vitriol among some of the far left leaning visitors to the site. I can’t have them thinking there is hope.

  16. Sorry. You’re arrogant and ossified!

  17. Interesting to read that the US has not signed the CRC whereeas Iran has.

  18. >>the crime was so terrible that the minor was tried as an adult<<

    How can that ever be explained, never mind justified? – the extent or horror of the crime is sometimes such that the perpetrator suddenly becomes an adult in the eyes of the law!

    Do you also have cases where a 16-year-old does something so well that he is allowed to vote?

    Also, we know from the linked sites that the USA shares with Somalia (!) the distinction of being the only countries not to have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child so far, but how can America’s obligations under other treaties with similar provisions protecting minors be reconciled with the fact that in this century so far the US is responsible for more child executions than all other countries of the world put together?

  19. Charles – LOL. That is the spirit!!

    Alison – Good point and excellent following up on the main story. Clinton actually did sign the treaty, but all treaties have to be ratified by the Senate and this one has not been ratified (I believe the present administration is opposed to it). Puts us in the unhappy company of Somalia.

  20. Alison, I thought about that, but I think it has to with our federal system. The Supremes say the DP is constitutional. Therefore Tx has the sovr. right to enact capital punishment. The Federal gov doesn’t have the right to speak for Tx on this issue. But Tex. can’t sign it either, even if we wanted to.

    mahons??

  21. Cunningham: Hold your horses. I didn’t say I approved of trying minors as adults, especially in capital situations. I was trying to explain how it came to be.

    I was able to do something very well when I was sixteen that perhaps I should have been allowed to vote. After all it was quite like pulling a lever.

    I don’t know how to reconcile the position and would not want to try. I suspect the opposition to it stems more from a frustration with the UN in general.

  22. Charles – Well Texas hasn’t had a right to sign treaties since it stopped being a Republic, back when you and I were young. Short story version, Texas has the right to enact legislation permitting the death penalty that will only be found unconstitutional if the means is cruel and unusal.

  23. Got to run. The forces of sobriety require my continued vigilance against their triumph. I am off to the Pub. Goodnight to all.

  24. >>After all it was quite like pulling a lever.<<

    You mean they would let you go and exercise your franchise instead of staying at home exercising something else?

  25. Re Clinton signing the treaty. How could the Senate ratify, when SCOTUS has said it’s constitutional? Can SCOTUS declare a treaty unconst?

  26. Well you could have signed it and then ignored it thus rendering it useless like Iran.

  27. Just wondering something:
    "Iran are a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)"

    -which Iran signed those treaties? The Iran of the Shah (pre-1979), or the post-’79 Iran of the Ayatollahs?

  28. Tom,

    http://www.ohchr.org/english/countries/ratification/11.htm
    Convention on the Rights of the Child
    Participant: Iran (Islamic Republic of)
    Signature: 5 Sep 1991
    Ratification: 13 Jul 1994

    Charles,
    http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/constitution.articlevi.html
    Aticle VI
    "This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land"
    …but…
    "This [Supreme] Court has regularly and uniformly recognized the supremacy of the Constitution over a treaty." – Reid v. Covert, October 1956, 354 U.S. 1, at pg 17.

  29. Alan, I tip my hat to your research skills. This answers Cunningham’s question:

    "how can America’s obligations under other treaties with similar provisions protecting minors be reconciled with the fact that in this century so far the US is responsible for more child executions than all other countries of the world put together?"

    Because the Supreme law of the United States is our Constitution, which is interpeted by the Supreme Court.