Friday, 29 January 2010

Iranian Gay Teen on Death-row: Case Unknown

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Source: Persian2English, January 27 / Committee of Human Rights Reporters

All the follow-ups made on the case of Nemat Safavi, a teenager from Ardebil have been fruitless. He was arrested at the age of 16 for 'same-sex conduct.' Nemat Safavi was tried in juvenile court and condemned to execution by the Ardebil judiciary. All 3 criminal branches in Ardebils Revolutionary Court declare not having any information on the case.

This is taking place as the judgment issued for Safavi's execution was rejected by the country's Supreme Court. His case was transferred to a branch in Ardebils criminal court.

The date of reference is March 4, 2009. This is why the case should be in the criminal court of Ardebil, but the behaviour of justice officials and their claims of not having any information pertaining to Safavi has led to increased concerns.

Last year, Ghasem Bashkool, a teenager condemned to death under the charge of 'same-sex conduct,' was executed without the knowledge of his lawyer. Ghasem Bashkool's case has caused increased worries regarding Nemat Safavi.

We spoke to one of the lawyers who had access to the case of a few teenagers on death row. On Safavi's possible execution, he said, "As the decree for his execution was repudiated, there is no possibility of a sudden execution because it first has to be confirmed. So either the Court of Appeals has not yet been set up, or if it has, the execution decree may have not been issued for the second time. If it had, the Supreme Court would have known about it."

Human Rights Watch has issued the following statement on the condemnation of the 3 teenagers sentenced to death on charges of same-sex conduct:

"Punishment by death for teenagers under 18 is banned by international regulations. Both the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Political and Civil Rights Convention ban capital punishment for those who are under 18 years of age. These regulations reflect a reality that children and teenagers are different from adults because they lack experience, judgment, maturity, and other adult characteristics. Iran ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1994 and the Civil and Political Rights Convention in 1975."
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