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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…

Iranian Court Sentences Another Juvenile Offender to Death

Ayoub Shahbazi
Ayoub Shahbazi
Iran Human Rights has obtained information about an 18-year-old juvenile offender detained in Sanandaj Prison who was recently sentenced to death by an Iranian court. His case file was reportedly sent to Iran's Supreme Court for review.

Iran Human Rights (NOV 27 2016): According to close sources, Ayoub Shahbazi, who was born on August 30, 1998, was arrested by Iranian authorities in 2014 and charged with murder at the age of 16.

"When Ayoub was a young child, he lost his father. Due to financial poverty, Ayoub was unable to attend school and therefore is illiterate. From a young age, he was working with his mother cleaning people's homes. Four years ago, because he had no one to guide him, Ayoub became a drug addict. He ended up killing one of his own family members for money," a confirmed source tells Iran Human Rights.

Under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Iran is a signatory to, the Iranian authorities have an obligation to not issue the death penalty sentence for offenses committed under the age of 18. 

According to Article 91 of Iran's revised Islamic Penal Code, it is up to the presiding judge's discretion to deem the juvenile mature enough to understand the nature of the offense: "In the cases of offenses punishable by hadd or qisas, if mature people under eighteen years do not realize the nature of the crime committed or its prohibition, or of there is uncertainty about their full mental development, according to their age, they shall be sentenced to the punishments prescribed in this chapter." 

The Islamic Penal Code puts the age of criminal responsibility for males at 15 and 9 for females.

Ayoub Shahbazi is the latest juvenile offender to receive a death sentence by an Iranian court. 

In August 2016, Iran Human Rights published a report identifying seven juvenile offenders on death row.

Source: Iran Human Rights, November 27, 2016

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