World

Amnesty International condemns hanging of Iranian woman

Amnesty International has condemned the execution of a young Iranian woman, convicted of committing a murder when she was 17.

Amnesty International has condemned the execution of a young Iranian woman, convicted of committing a murder when she was 17.

Delara Darabi, 23, initially pleaded guilty to killing her father's cousin, but later retracted the confession, saying she had been taking the blame for her boyfriend.

The Iranian daily Etemad on Saturday reported she was hanged Friday morning in Rasht Central Prison in northern Iran.

Derala Darabi was hanged Friday at a prison in northern Iran. ((SaveDelara.com))

Prison authorities went ahead with the execution without informing her lawyer or allowing her family to be present, said Darabi's lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaei.

Etemad said Darabi had first confessed to the murder because she believed she would be pardoned as the crime was committed when she was a minor.

The head of Iran's judiciary recently granted the woman a two-month stay of execution, but the prison ignored the stay.

"Amnesty International is outraged at the execution of Delara Darabi, and particularly at the news that her lawyer was not informed about the execution," Amnesty said on its website.

Darabi's case was brought to the world's attention after paintings and drawings she created during her time in prison were seen around the world.

Iran executes more juvenile offenders than any other country — eight last year and 42 since 1990, according to Amnesty International.

Friday's was the second such execution this year in Iran, Mostafaei said.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Iran has signed, bans capital punishment for offenders who committed crimes before their 18th birthday.

The European Union also condemned Darabi's execution, saying the punishment ran "counter to the international commitments that Iran has voluntarily accepted."

Mostafaei said the court did not seriously consider his arguments in the woman's defence.

For example, he said, Darabi was left-handed, while all the evidence suggests the crime was committed by someone who was right-handed.

With files from The Associated Press

now