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Statement of a Group of Islamic Jurists, Lawyers and Social and Political Activists in Opposition to the Execution of Juveniles
Sat 25 04 2009

A group of Islamic jurists, lawyers, and social and political activists have issued a statement expressing their opposition to the death penalty for juvenile offenders. The Petition has been signed by the following individuals:

Mohammad Bastenegar, Religious Intellectual;
Rakhshan BaniEtemad, Filmmaker;
Jafar Panahi, Filmmaker;
Dr. Habibollah Peyman, Religious Intellectual;
Dr. Gholamabbas Tavasoli, Sociologist;
Hojat-ol-Islam Mohammad Javad Hojati Kermani, Islamic Jurist and Scholar (Mojtahed);
Ezzat –ollah Sahabi, Religious Intellectual;
Dr. Ahmad Sadr Haj Seyyed Javadi, Lawyer;
Dr. Ali Asghar Gharavi, PhD in Philosophy;
Azam Taleghani, Religious Intellectual;
Shirin Ebadi, Lawyer and Nobel Peace Prize Recipient;
Hojat-ol-Islam Mohammad Taghi Fazel Maybodi, Islamic Jurist;
Dr. Nasser Katouzian, Lawyer and University Professor;
Hojat-ol-Islam Mehdi Karoubi, Islamic Jurist;
Dr. Mohammad Mojtahed Shabestari, Islamic Jurist and Scholar (Mojtahed);
Dr. Sadighe Vasmeghi, PhD in Islamic Jurisprudence;
Dr. Ebrahim Yazdi, Religious Intellectual; and
Hassan Yousefi Eshkevari, Islamic Jurist and lawyer.

Based on the religious teachings, this communiqué emphasizes on endowing children, less than 18 years of age, who commit social wrongs the opportunity of moral rehabilitation. Also, the society of human rights defenders in a similar communiqué, titled: “Stop Death Penalty for Children” started its operation aimed at stopping issuance and execution of death penalty for children less than 18 years of age. According to “Children’s Rights Defenders” site the communiqué, issued on Ordibehesht 6th, 1388 (Iranian Calendar) corresponding April 26, 2009. is as follows:
In the Name of God
All religions and all legal disciplines view children to be exempt from punishments intended for adults. As such, they have provided children an opportunity to comprehend the blessing of life, benefit from education and discipline and learn about best interests and that which is harmful. As such, contemporary international customs and norms views the enforcement of punishments, especially the harshest of punishments namely the death penalty, for individuals under the age of 18, as unacceptable. The laws of many countries as well as the perspectives of many Iranian experts reinforce these customs. When the Holy Qoran invites us to forgive even those who have intentionally committed murder, then without a doubt Islam consents to our taking steps to bestow the blessings of life on those individuals who are under the age of 18 and who have yet to understand life’s riches and vices. Given that the religious decrees issued in this regard can be revised and that the protection of life is logical and also constitutes one of the most important principles of all religions and given the fact that Iran has rightly agreed to international customs through its ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, we strongly demand that death penalty not be issued or implemented in cases where individuals under the age of 18 have committed a crime and we seek the reform of existing laws in this respect.

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