Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Statement on Death Penalty Case in Iran

Intro: I heard today on a Progressive Muslim mailing list about this case. A young girl, Leyla M, diagnosed with a mental age of 8 although she is currently 19, has been sentenced to death for sexual lewdness committed while a child (according to Amnesty International she says her mother sold her into prostitution from age 8). For more info check out Amnesty International UK's webpage - this case is on its front page right now. http://www.amnesty.org.uk

Begin text of letter:

Your Excellency:

As a practicing Muslim, with a lay person's understanding of Islamic law, I am very upset that Leyla M has been sentenced to death for offences committed when she was a child and given that she is mentally disabled.

It has been the case historically that people with diminished mental abilities are not punished for their actions under Sharia law as they do not have "rushd" or "balagha" mentally.

In the interests both of justice and mercy (for which you will have to answer to God on the Day of Judgment) I strongly urge the authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran to carry out an urgent review of her case, and I call on the Iranian Supreme Court to ensure that Article 41 of the draft law on the Establishment of Children's Courts has been implemented, which requires social workers and psychiatrists to examine defendants such as Leyla M.

I also want to strongly stress that given that Iran is a signatory to the International Convention on Civil and Political rights, this death sentence on crimes committed while she was a child would violate it.

I have read that Amnesty International has recorded 10 executions of child offenders in Iran since 1990, three of them in 2004, and call on the Iranian authorities to immediately halt further executions of child offenders, a practice which violates the spirit and letter of Islamic Law.

Anna Ghonim
Cairo, Egypt

To anyone interested in contacting the Iranian authorities, here are the addresses listed on the Amnesty International UK Website.

Please, those of you with Shia background or Farsi language skills, consider writing a similar appeal to the Iranian authorities.

Appeal Address

Leader of the Islamic Republic
His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed 'AliKhamenei
The Presidency,
Palestine Avenue,
Azerbaijan Intersection,
Tehran,Islamic Republic of Iran

Fax: 00 98 21 649 5880 (please mark 'For the attention of the Office of His Excellency, Ayatollah al Udhma Khamenei, Qom)

Email: (on the subject line write: For the attention of the Officeof His Excellency Ayatollah al Udhma Khamenei, Qom)
[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 HE AyatollahShahroudi')[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,LondonSW7 1PTFax: 020 7589 4440
Article 90 Commission Chairperson,
Article 90 Commission (Komisyon-e Asl-e Navad)
Majles-e Shura-ye Eslami,
Imam Khomeini Avenue,
Tehran,Islamic Republic of Iran
Fax: 00 98 21 646 1746 (can be difficult to reach, please be patient)


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