IRAN SEEKS TO LIMIT EXECUTION OF MINORS
February 17, 2009: Iran's judiciary said it drew up a bill which aims to ease punishments for minor offenders and make it harder for the courts to sentence children to death for murder.
Minors who have committed murder will not be hanged "if they do not understand the nature of the crime they have committed or there is a doubt about their maturity and insight," judiciary spokesman Ali Reza Jamshidi told reporters.
The new bill's outlines have been approved by parliament's Judicial Commission.
Jamshidi said minor offenders have been divided into three categories under the proposed bill.
"People between 15 and 18 will receive a maximum punishment of two to five years in a juvenile corrective facility for crimes which adults are sentenced to life imprisonment or even execution," Jamshidi said.
He said the courts would be required to seek opinions from experts on the maturity of someone under the age of 18 who is convicted of murder.
Children between the ages of seven and 12 will "receive no punishment", Jamshidi said, adding that the bill would not differentiate between girls and boys.
He said such offenders would be "sent to an educational boarding facility, receive medical and psychological treatment or be separated from family and put into foster care."
"Those between 12 and 15 will be sent to a juvenile corrective facility for three months to a year for serious crimes that land adults in jail," Jamshidi said. "They may also receive one of the measures for seven to 12 group." (Sources: Agence France Presse, 17/02/2009)