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Imminent Execution of Rostam Tajik
IRAN - Rostam Tajik (m), Afghan national, aged 20

Afghan national Rostam Tajik is reportedly scheduled for execution on 10 December for a murder committed when he was 16. Iran is a state party to international treaties that expressly prohibit the use of the death penalty for crimes committed below the age of 18.

Rostam Tajik was reportedly sentenced to qisas (retribution specified by the victim's family) by Branch 9 of the General Court of Esfahan for the May 2001 murder of a woman, Nafiseh Rafi'i, carried out when he was 16 years old. The sentence was reportedly upheld by the Supreme Court.

Rostom Tajik, an apprentice with Nafiseh Rafi'I's husband, reportedly went into the couple's house to burgle it. However, once inside he killed Nafiseh Rafi'i and cut the throat of her 11- year-old daughter, whose screms alerted the neighbours. Rostam Tajik fled, and the neighbours took the daughter to hospital for treatment that saved her life. Rostam Tajik reportedly fled to Qazvin, west of Tehran, but was later arrested.

As a state party to the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Iran has undertaken not to execute anyone for an offence committed when they were under the age of 18.

Nevertheless, Iran has executed at least seven juvenile offenders so far this year, two of whom were still under 18 at the time they were executed. Most recently, on 12 September, a 22-year-old Iranian man convicted of rape was publicly hanged in the southern province of Fars. According to the daily newspaper E'temad, he had been sentenced to death in 2000, suggesting he was under the age of 18 when the crime was committed.

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, which monitors states' implementation of the CRC, urged Iran to immediately stay all executions of people convicted of crimes committed when they were under 18, and abolish the use of the death penalty in such cases. On 19 January 2005 the Committee said that it "deplored" the fact that Iran had continued to carry out such executions even after it ratified the CRC, including the execution that had taken place that day, of Iman Farokhi for an offence committed when he was 17 years old.

Legislation that would prohibit the use of the death penalty for offences committed under the age of 18 was put before parliament four years ago, but has been trapped in discussions.

On 11 October 2005, Minister of Justice Jamal Karimirad, acting in his capacity as spokesman for the Iranian Judiciary, was reported by the Iranian Students' News Agency to have said that if this bill was passed by the Majles (parliament), then those under the age of 18 would no longer be executed. However, he made a distinction between murder (for which the punishment is qisas) and other crimes carrying the death penalty, stating that qisas was a private, not a state matter, although he did say that attempts were being made to address the issue of qisas as well.

RECOMMENDED ACTION:

Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in Persian, English, Arabic or your own language:

- urging the authorities to commute the death sentence imposed on Rostam Tajik immediately, as it was handed down for a murder committed when he was aged 16;

- reminding the authorities of their commitment to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states that "sentence of death shall not be imposed for crimes committed by persons below eighteen years of age";

- asking for details of Rostam Tajik's trial, including his legal representation and the appeals against his conviction;

- calling on the Iranian authorities to implement the recommendations of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, which called on Iran in January 2005 to "immediately suspend the execution of all death penalties imposed on persons for having committed a crime before the age of 18, and to abolish the death penalty as a sentence imposed on persons for having committed crimes before the age of 18, as required by article 37 of the Convention";

- stating that Amnesty International recognizes the right and responsibility of governments to bring to justice those suspected of criminal offences, but opposes the death penalty as the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.

APPEALS TO:

Leader of the Islamic Republic

    His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed 'Ali Khamenei
    The Presidency, Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection
    Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
    Fax: 00 98 21 6 649 5880 (mark "FAO the Office of His
    Excellency, Ayatollah al Udhma Khamenei")
    Email: info@wilayah.net; info@leader.ir
    [Salutation: Your Excellency ]

Head of the Judiciary

    His Excellency Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
    Ministry of Justice, Park-e Shahr, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
    Email: irjpr@iranjudiciary.org (mark "Please forward to His Excellency Ayatollah Shahroudi")
    [Salutation: Your Excellency]


PLEASE SEND COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO:
    His Excellency Mr Morteza Sarmadi,
    Embassy of Islamic Republic of Iran,
    16 Prince's Gate,
    London SW7 1PT.
    Fax: 020 7589 4440
AND, IF POSSIBLE, TO THE FOLLOWING:
    Minister of the Interior
    Hojatoleslam Mustafa Purmohammadi
    Ministry of the Interior
    Dr Fatemi Avenue, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
    Email: ravabetomomi@moi.gov.ir
    Fax: 0098 21 8 896 203; 0098 21 8 899 547; 0098 21 6 650 203

    Speaker of Parliament
    Gholamali Haddad Adel
    Majles-e Shoura-ye Eslami
    Imam Khomeini Avenue, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
    Fax: 00 98 21 6 646 1746

PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY.

Please do not send appeals after 10 December 2005.

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