Waiting to die: the Iranian child inmates facing execution – in pictures

Waiting to die: the Iranian child inmates facing execution – in pictures

Published by on February 3, 2016

prison-300The Guardian: In Iran, girls are held criminally accountable by law from the age of nine, and can be sentenced to death by hanging for crimes such as murder, drug trafficking and armed robbery.





Sadegh Souri, documentary winner at the 2015 Lens Culture visual storytelling awards, has photographed girls in the harsh conditions of juvenile detention – many of whom are marking time until they turn 18, when their executions will be carried out.




Mahsa is 17. She fell in love with a boy and intended to marry him, but her father was against the marriage. One day she had an argument with her father, got angry, and killed him with a kitchen knife. Mahsa’s brothers are requesting the death penalty for her




Shaqayeq, 15, has been in prison for almost a year on the charge of armed robbery from a chain store in Tehran. She and her boyfriend entered the store, and when the police arrived, her boyfriend escaped but Shaqayeq was arrested. Her death sentence has been issued and she must reach 18 so the verdict can be carried out. Her grandmother came to visit her after a year


Sowgand is 16. When she was alone at home, police officers entered with a search warrant and found 250kg of opium, 30g of cocaine and 20g of heroin. The narcotics belonged to her father, but as only Sowgand was at home when the officers arrived, she was arrested and detained. It has been almost a year since she has been imprisoned. None of her family members have visited her,
The clergy goes to the ward of underage girls in the correction centre every day for a congregational prayer. After prayers, he talks about correct upbringing methods for girls and prays to God to forgive them


Women inmates can keep their newborns with them in prison until they are two years old. Zahra was married at age 14 and has two children. She is 17 now and is in jail for stealing mobile phones. She has been in prison for the same reason three times.





Khatereh is 13. She ran away from home after her uncle raped her. One week later, a group of youths attacked her in a park in Tehran to gang-rape her. To save herself, she wounded her own arm with a knife she carried in her purse. The police officers found her unconscious on the ground, and after treatment, she was transferred to the juvenile delinquents correction centre




Inmates can go to the prison yard for one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening

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Abolish death penalty

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Dear Secretary General of United Nations,

The number of executions is rising in Iran, journalists are being detained for doing their job and activists face cruel and degrading punishments, long prison terms and even execution. According to the most recent reports by Amnesty International and the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, “Iran’s judiciary continues to sentence child offenders to death, and carry out their execution by hanging”. Also, on August 9th, 2016 the son of late Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, Khomeini’s designated successor in 1988, published a shocking audio tape of his father’s meeting with the “Death Commission” which summarily and extra-judicially executed tens of thousands of political prisoners held in jails across Iran. The massacre was carried out on the basis of a fatwa by the regime’s then-Supreme Leader Khomeini.

We, the undersigned, hereby urge you to take up this issue and raise it in the General Assembly in order to;

1. Put pressure on Iran to immediately halt the executions and abolish death penalty in Iran.
2. Call on all Western governments to make any improvement in economic relations with Iran contingent on its human rights record.
3. Demand in its resolution on human rights violations in Iran, to bring the perpetrators of 1988 massacre (one of the worst atrocities the post-war world has ever seen – Geoffrey Robertson-QC) to justice before an international tribunal.

Executions must stop.

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