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Texas Should Not Have Executed Robert Pruett

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Update: Robert Pruett was executed by lethal injection on Thursday.
Robert Pruett is scheduled to be executed by the State of Texas Thursday. He has never had a chance to live outside a prison as an adult. Taking his life is a senseless wrong that shows how badly the justice system fails juveniles.
Mr. Pruett was 15 years old when he last saw the outside world, after being arrested as an accomplice to a murder committed by his own father. Now 38, having been convicted of a murder while incarcerated, he will be put to death. At a time when the Supreme Court has begun to recognize excessive punishments for juveniles as unjust, Mr. Pruett’s case shows how young lives can be destroyed by a justice system that refuses to give second chances.
Mr. Pruett’s father, Sam Pruett, spent much of Mr. Pruett’s early childhood in prison. Mr. Pruett and his three siblings were raised in various trailer parks by his mother, who he has said used drugs heavily and often struggled to feed the children. Wh…

Amnesty fears teenage offender to be executed in Iran soon

Himan Uraminejad
Himan Uraminejad
A young Iranian man, Himan Uraminejad, on death row in Iran for an offence carried out when he was a child, has been told that he will be executed soon after 1 April, Amnesty International has warned.

"Himan Uraminejad was sentenced to death in August 2012 after he was convicted of murder over the fatal stabbing of a boy during a fight, when he was 17," the international human rights group said in an Urgent Action alerting its members on Thursday, March 24.

Himan is now aged 21, and on death row in Sanandaj's Prison, western Kurdistan Province, where he has been told he will be executed after the Iranian New Year holiday period ends on 1 April, Amnesty said.

He was retried by Branch 9 of the Provincial Criminal Court in Kurdistan Province in June 2015, and sentenced to death again.

"In its ruling, the court ignored the absolute prohibition, in international law, on using the death penalty against people who were under 18 at the time of the crime, and the fundamental principles of juvenile justice that require all those under 18 years old be treated as children," Amnesty said.

His sentence was confirmed by the regime's Supreme Court in November 2015.

"The judicial proceedings that led to Himan Uraminejad's conviction were unfair. He admitted stabbing the victim during the interrogations, which were conducted without a lawyer present. He is believed to have been tortured while he was held in a police detention centre (agahi): this included severe beatings that apparently left scars and bruises all over his face and body. His trial was held before an adult court, without special juvenile justice protections. No investigation is known to have been carried out into his allegations of torture and other ill-treatment," the group's Urgent Action added.

"As a state party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Iran is legally obliged to treat everyone under the age of 18 as a child. This is different from the minimum age of criminal responsibility, which is the age below which children are deemed not to have the capacity to break the law. This age varies between countries, but it must be no lower than 12 years, according to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child."

"The minimum age of criminal responsibility in Iran has been set at nine lunar years for girls and 15 lunar years for boys. From this age, a child who is convicted of crimes that fall in the category of hodud (offences against God carrying inalterable punishments prescribed by Shari'a law) or qesas (retribution-in-kind connected with a criminal act), is generally convicted and sentenced in the same way as an adult."

"Amnesty International has recorded at least 73 executions of juvenile offenders between 2005 and 2015. According to the UN at least 160 juvenile offenders are now on death row. Amnesty International has been able to identify the names of 49 of these juvenile offenders, some of whom have been on death row for over a decade," the Urgent Action added.

Source: NCR-Iran, March 25, 2016

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