Monthly Archives: February 2016

Amnesty International: Urgent Action; Kurdish Juvenile offender Amanj Veisee has been sentenced to death for the second time, after a retrial

2e0c4-amnesty-internationalURGENT ACTION
 JUVENILE OFFENDER SENTENCED TO DEATH AGAIN
Juvenile offender Amanj Veisee has been sentenced to death for the second time, after a retrial. The court dismissed as “non-binding” an official forensic report which had concluded that he had not attained “mental growth and maturity” at the time of the crime, in April 2007, when he was 15 years old.

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Juvenile offender Amanj Veisee was resentenced to death for the murder of his cousin by Branch Three of Criminal Court No. 1 in the western province of Kermanshah in December 2015. The court ruled that “there is no doubt about his mental maturity at the time of the crime”. The verdict is less than a page long, and refers briefly to two statements by Amanj Veisee, which it states were later proven to be false, and point to his “intelligence and maturity”. In these statements Amanj Veisee had claimed that he stabbed his cousin only once in the leg, using a knife that a stranger passed on to him during the fight. The verdict also notes an expert opinion from a state forensic institution, the Legal Medicine Organization, on Amanj Veisee’s “lack of maturity at the time of the crime” but states, “the tests done now cannot reveal the truth about the past” and that expert opinions are intended only as guidance and are not binding on the court if they contradict other materials and existing evidence.

Amanj Veisee had been first sentenced to death in May 2008 after the Provincial Criminal Court of Kordestan Province convicted him of murder for fatally stabbing his cousin during a fight. The Supreme Court upheld the sentence three months later. In December 2013, when Amanj Veisee had reached the age of 22, the Head of the Judiciary gave permission for the sentence to be carried out, though by then a new Islamic Penal Code had entered into force which allowed courts to replace the death penalty with an alternative sentence if they determined that a juvenile offender had not understood the nature of the crime or its consequences, or there were doubts about his or her “mental growth and maturity” at the time of the crime. He was granted a retrial based on the 2013 Code in March 2015, after he had retained a new lawyer and sought a retrial from the Supreme Court.

Please write immediately in Persian, Arabic, English or your own language:
n        Urging the Iranian authorities to immediately commute Amanj Veisee’s death sentence and not carry out the execution of any person who was below the age of 18 at the time of the crime;
n        Urging them to take legislative measures to completely abolish, without any discretion for the courts or other exceptions, the use of the death penalty for crimes committed by people below the age of 18, in line with Iran’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
 
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 1 APRIL 2016 TO:
Supreme Leader
Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei        
Islamic Republic Street- End of Shahid Keshvar Doust Street        
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran        
Email: via website        
http://www.leader.ir/langs/en/index.php?
p=letter
Twitter: @khamenei_ir (English)
Salutation: Your Excellency

Head of the Judiciary        
Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani        
c/o Public Relations Office
Number 4, Deadend of 1 Azizi

Above Pasteur Intersection
Vali Asr Street        
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: info@humanrights-iran.ir
Salutation: Your Excellency

And copies to:
Prosecutor General of Tehran        
Abbas Ja’fari Dolat Abadi        
Tehran General and Revolutionary Prosecution Office
Corner (Nabsh-e) of 15 Khordad Square Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please insert local diplomatic addresses below:
Name Address 1 Address 2 Address 3 Fax Fax number Email Email address Salutation Salutation        
Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.

Additional Information        

Amanj Veisee’s execution was twice scheduled and then postponed between 2013 and 2015. Branch 33 of the Supreme Court quashed his death sentence in March 2015 and ordered that a newly constituted court retry his case based on the juvenile sentencing guidelines of the 2013 Islamic Penal Code. As Kordestan’s Provincial Criminal Court is only composed of one branch and could not therefore provide a differently constituted panel, it referred the case for retrial to Branch Three of Kermanshah Province’s Criminal Court No. 1. Amanj Veisee said before and during the trial that he had not intended to kill his cousin whom he had grown up with and loved deeply, and that he had stabbed him in a frightened reaction to a situation where his 23-year-old cousin, whom he described as “muscular”, was strangling him. The court rejected the self-defence argument, and convicted him of “intentional murder” on the grounds that he had committed an act that was by its nature “deadly”.

As a state party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Iran is legally obliged to treat everyone under the age of 18 as a child. This is different from the minimum age of criminal responsibility, which is the age below which children are deemed not to have the capacity to break the law. This age varies between countries, but it must be no lower than 12 years, according to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. People who have broken the law who are above the minimum age of criminal responsibility, but under 18, may be considered criminally responsible, prosecuted, tried and punished. However, they should never be subjected to the death penalty or life imprisonment without the possibility of release.

The age of adult criminal responsibility in Iran has been set at nine lunar years for girls and 15 lunar years for boys in cases of hodud(offences against God carrying inalterable punishments prescribed by Shari’a law) and qesas (retribution-in-kind connected with a criminal act), From this age a child convicted of these offences is generally convicted and sentenced in the same way as an adult. However, since the adoption of the 2013 Islamic Penal Code, judges have been given discretion not to sentence juvenile offenders to death if they determine that juvenile offenders did not understand the nature of the crime or its consequences, or their “mental growth and maturity” are in doubt.

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child reviewed Iran’s implementation of the CRC in January 2016. The Committee’s Concluding Observations express “serious concern” that the exemption of juvenile offenders from the death penalty is “under full discretion of judges who are allowed, but not mandated to seek forensic expert opinion and that several persons have been resentenced to death following such retrials”. Besides Amanj Veisee, Amnesty International is aware of at least seven other juvenile offenders – Salar Shadizadi, Hamid Ahmadi, Sajad Sanjari, Siavash Mahmoudi, Himan Uraminejad and Amir Amrollahi, and Fatemeh Salbehi – who have been retried, found to have sufficient “mental growth and maturity” at the time of the crime and sentenced to death again. The execution of Fatemeh Salbehi, who was 17 years old at the time of the commission of the crime, was carried out in October 2015. Amnesty International has recorded at least 73 executions of juvenile offenders between 2005 and 2015. According to the UN at least 160 juvenile offenders are now on death row (See Growing up on death row: The death penalty and juvenile offenders in Iran, https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/mde13/3112/2016/en/).

Name: Amanj Veisee
Gender m/f: m

UA: 39/16 Index: MDE 13/3473/2016 Issue Date: 19 February 2016

Amnesty International’s Report on; Iran’s New Code of Criminal Procedure

Amnesty International’s Report on; Iran’s New Code of Criminal Procedure

By Amnesty International,
11 February 2016

2e0c4-amnesty-internationalNearly four decades after Iran’s 1979 Revolution shook its criminal justice system to the core, the country’s legal framework remains largely inadequate, inefficient and inconsistent with international fair trial standards, leaving individuals who come into contact with it with little or no protection. Amnesty International’s new report, Flawed reforms: Iran’s new Code of Criminal Procedure, provides a comprehensive analysis of Iran’s new Code of Criminal Procedure, which came into force in June 2015.

The report welcomes the introduction of several long overdue reforms but expresses concern that the Code constitutes a lost opportunity as it fails, by and large, to do more than scratch the surface of the flaws that run deep in Iran’s criminal justice system.

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“The issue is that there are individuals among lawyers who could be troublemakers.” Zabihollah Khodaian, the Legal Deputy of Iran’s Judiciary, June 2015

These words were spoken by Zabihollah Khodaian, the Legal Deputy of Iran’s Judiciary, in June 2015 in the wake of criticism directed at the authorities for imposing restrictions on the right to access a lawyer. While shocking, they are hardly surprising as they exemplify the long-standing lack of regard for due process in Iran’s criminal justice system. Iran’s 1979 revolution triggered a swift and fundamental transformation of the country’s justice system. Its aftermath witnessed vast numbers of people being arbitrarily detained, tortured and summarily executed with almost no regard for due process guarantees such as the right to have access to a lawyer from the time of arrest. Since then, relative order has gradually been restored to the justice system. Many laws hastily adopted after the revolution have been amended and improved. Iran has added the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) to the list of international treaties to which it is state party, a list which also includes those ratified before 1979, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

However, flaws in Iranian legislation and the failure to incorporate key human rights guarantees into national law persist, making the country’s legal framework largely inconsistent with international human rights law and standards. In fact, the unfair, summary and predominantly secret processes, and the special and revolutionary courts and tribunals established in the aftermath of the revolution, continue to characterize Iran’s criminal justice system, undermining the right of all to a fair trial In June 2015, a much anticipated new Code of Criminal Procedure (CCP) entered into force in Iran.

The new CCP, which had been in the making for almost a decade, was passed by Parliament and signed into law by the President in April 2014. This new Code replaced a deeply flawed Code of Criminal Procedure, adopted in 1999, whose validity was supposed to last only for a trial period of three years but was repeatedly extended. The new Code introduces several long overdue reforms to Iran’s criminal justice system, including the restriction of the use of provisional pre-trial detention to situations where there is a risk of flight or a threat to public safety, stricter regulations governing the questioning of accused persons, and enhancement of the right to access a lawyer during the pre-trial period. However, it has failed to tackle many of the major shortcomings in Iran’s criminal justice system.

Please find the report attached and online at the following link: https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/mde13/2708/2016/en/

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