America Is Stuck With the Death Penalty for (At Least) a Generation

With Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement, the national fight to abolish capital punishment will have to go local.
When the Supreme Court revived capital punishment in 1976, just four years after de facto abolishing it, the justices effectively took ownership of the American death penalty and all its outcomes. They have spent the decades since then setting its legal and constitutional parameters, supervising its general implementation, sanctioning its use in specific cases, and brushing aside concerns about its many flaws.
That unusual role in the American legal system is about to change. With Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement from the court this summer, the Supreme Court will lose a heterodox jurist whose willingness to cross ideological divides made him the deciding factor in many legal battles. In cases involving the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, his judgment often meant the difference between life and death for hundreds of death-row pr…

Iran: 5 hanged on murder charges, juvenile offender put to death

Iran executes juvenile offenders
Iran Human Rights; June 28, 2018: According to Amnesty International sources, Abolfazl Chazani Sharahi, a juvenile offender charged with murder at the age of 15, was executed on Wednesday, June 27 at Qom Central Prison. 

This is the fourth juvenile offender executed in Iran since the beginning of 2018.

Execution of juvenile offenders in Iran continues despite repeated criticism by the international community.

Iran Human Rights calls on the international community, especially European countries, to act in order to stop the execution of juveniles in Iran. 

Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, the spokesperson for IHR, said, “The friendly relations between Iran and European countries must lead to improving the situation of the human rights in Iran. Stopping the execution of juvenile offenders must be a precondition for the friendly relationship between Iran and the European countries.”

Iran Human Rights had earlier reported warned against the possible execution of the juvenile offender Abolfazl Chazani who was sentenced to death on the charge of murder during a street fight.

Abolfazl Chazani Sharahi, son of Asghar, was born on January 19, 1999, and he was only 15 at the time of the crime.

Abolfazl was examined by a forensic physician at the request of his public defender on July 20, 2014. According to the report, “The defendant, 15 years and five months old, committed murder in the winter last year and he is mentally mature and understands the nature of his action (murder).”

According to an estimation by Iran Human Rights, currently, more than 100 juvenile offenders are on death row in Iran’s prisons. 

Iran Human Rights has recently published reports regarding the danger of the execution of some of several juvenile offenders including Mehdi Khazaeian, Pouria Tabaei, Mohammad Reza Haddadi, and Mohammad Kalhor.

Iran is one of the few countries that punish crimes committed during adolescence by death. Meanwhile, based on Article 91 of the new Islamic Penal Code, approved in 2013, judges can potentially deny issuing a death sentence for juveniles who do not understand the nature of their crime.

It is worth mentioning that the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Iran has ratified, clearly bans execution and life imprisonment of juveniles. 

In 2017, at least five juvenile offenders were executed in Iran.

Two Prisoners Hanged in Karaj

Iran Human Rights (Jun 27, 2018): Two prisoners were executed at Rajai Shahr Prison on murder charges.

According to a close source, on the morning of Wednesday, June 27, two prisoners were executed at Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj. 

The prisoners, charged with murder, were identified as Safa Ali Jalali from ward 1 and Majid Heydari from ward 7.

The prisoners were transferred to the solitary confinement in a group of 11. Eight of them were able to ask for time from the plaintiffs and return to their cells and one of them, named Javad Darabi, is still held at the solitary confinement.

A close source told IHR, “Javad Darabi was transferred to the solitary confinement a week earlier by mistake. He will be executed next week. Now he has to stay in the solitary confinement until next week in this hot weather.”

The execution of these prisoners has not been announced by the state-run media so far.

Prisoner Hanged in Sary

Public execution in Iran
Iran Human Rights (Jun 27, 2018): A prisoner was executed at Sary Central Prison on murder charges.

According to a close source, on the morning of Wednesday, June 27, a prisoner was hanged at Sary Central Prison. 

The prisoner, charged with murder, was identified as Mehdi Alami, 33 from Sari.

A close source told IHR, “Mehdi used to work at a rehab camp. He beat one of the addicts in the rehab which left him in a coma and he passed away two weeks later. The victim’s family didn’t give their consent during the time Mehdi was in prison.”

 The execution of this prisoner has not been announced by the state-run media so far.

Prisoner Hanged in Shirvan City

Iran Human Rights (Jun 25, 2018): A prisoner was executed at Shirvan Prison (North Khorasan) on murder charges.

According to a close source, on the morning of Wednesday, June 20, a prisoner was executed at Shirvan Prison. 

The prisoner, identified as Iraj Sorkhi, 34 from Lanjan, was arrested and sentenced to death on murder charges in 2012.

The execution of this prisoner has not been announced by the state-run media so far.

According to Iran Human Rights annual report on the death penalty, 240 of the 517 execution sentences in 2017 were implemented due to murder charges. 

There is a lack of a classification of murder by degree in Iran which results in issuing a death sentence for any kind of murder regardless of intensity and intent.

Shirvan is a city and capital of Shirvan County and the second largest city in North Khorasan Province.

Source: Iran Human Rights, June 25-28, 2018

Rights Group Outraged by Iran's Apparent Execution of Juvenile Offender

An international rights group said it had learned that Iran quietly executed a teenager for a crime he committed when he was 14 years old.

Amnesty International's London-based Iran researcher Raha Bahreini told VOA Persian her group heard from local sources that Abolfazl Chezani Sharahi was executed Wednesday at dawn in Qom prison, south of Tehran.

Sharahi had been sentenced to death in September 2014 for fatally stabbing a young man during a fight in December 2013, when Sharahi was 14. Bahreini said Iranian authorities transferred him to solitary confinement on Tuesday in preparation for his execution - the 5th such transfer since 2014.

"Sadly, this appalling development was not brought to the attention of domestic and international human rights groups until the early hours of Wednesday, and this allowed the judicial authorities to carry out his unlawful execution quietly and without attracting the public outcries that generally emerge when a juvenile offender is scheduled for execution in the country," Bahreini said.

There was no immediate confirmation of Sharahi's execution from Iranian state media.

Bahreini said Amnesty was outraged that Iranian authorities had not taken systematic steps to end what she called the "horrendous practice of executing juvenile offenders."

The Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Iran ratified in 1993, prohibits the use of the death penalty, also known as capital punishment, for crimes committed by individuals younger than 18 years old.

Under Iran's penal code, the death penalty can be handed down to boys as young as 14 years and 6 months, or the equivalent of 15 lunar years - the age of adult criminal responsibility for males in Iran.

In February, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein issued a statement criticizing Iran for violating what he called the "absolute prohibition" on using the death penalty against juvenile offenders, saying it committed such violations "far more often than any other state."

Source: voanews.com, June 28, 2018

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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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