In Iran, the justice system is naturally suspect, as the regime is extremely repressive. One of the aspects of Iranian law under the mullahs is that juveniles can be executed for crimes, even though their executions violate international law. Additionally, international law outlines fair trial procedures, many of which are not followed in Iran, making any death penalty conviction suspect.
There have been many calls from international leaders for the Iranian regime to put a moratorium in place to stop all executions. These calls have been ignored by the Iranian justice system. In fact, a timeline of Iranian executions shows that juveniles, Iranians from abroad, and activists are all at risk. A recent case of one young man shows how the fundamentalism of the Iranian regime is clashing with international law and how it impacts the individual.
Murad is on the verge of being executed. He has been charged with raping a 10-year old boy. The family of the 10-year old who are accusing him, want to see Murad executed as an example to others. However, Murad denies that he did anything to the young man and argues that he does not even know the 10-year old.
While Murad, an Afghan national, looks to only be about 11 or 12 himself, a medical examiner claims that he is 15 years old. Those who have observed Murad’s behavior question whether he is capable of comprehending what is happening to him. He worked in a dairy shop for several months, and his employer said that Murad loved to work.
Investigations into his life show that he is from an immigrant family, and that prejudices against immigrants impacted his ability to gain the trust of any employer.
Sarah Bagheri, a lawyer and member of the Children’s Advocacy Association, is serving as Murad’s lawyer. Her interviews with her client seem to suggest that he is unable to process the fact that his life is now in jeopardy.
“When I talk to him, he does not accept the accusations under any circumstances and says amongst tears that he did not know the 10-year-old boy to do something like this to him,” said Bagheri.
Despite his young age, it is likely that Murad will die for a crime that he allegedly committed. The Iranian justice system is bent on punishment for crimes, real or imagined. The result is that individuals find themselves in circumstances beyond their control, but that can have a profound impact their lives and the lives of their families.