IRAN. MINOR OFFENDER BEHNOUD SHOJAEE EXECUTED IN TEHRAN
October 11, 2009: the minor offender Behnoud Shojaee was executed at 5 in the morning at Tehran's Evin Prison. He was convicted of murdering another boy by the name Omid in June 2005, when he was 17 years old.
Behnood had allegedly killed the boy during a street fight in Tehran involving over a dozen boys.
His execution had been halted five times earlier, due to international pressure and attempts by his lawyer Mohammad Mostafaei and other human rights defenders. The execution was also confirmed by the state run news agency Fars.
The night before, hundreds of people had gathered outside the Evin prison, in hope of being able to make authorities to postpone the execution once again.
In 2008 the authorities sent Behnoud to death four times and one other time in August 2009, putting him in isolation in Evin for days, as is usually done with hangings. Then each time the execution was stayedâ€“ maybe also thanks to international pressure. Two times he was sent back just seconds before being hung He was already outside in the courtyard, with the noose ready.
Behnoud was granted a stay of execution by the head of the judiciary, Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, to allow time for further negotiations over diyeh (blood money) between his and Omid's families. At first the family of the victim wanted over 2 million dollars US in â€śblood moneyâ€ť compensation.
After months of negotiation, and his execution being postponed three times, the â€śdiyehâ€ť was reduced to approximately $625,000 USD. Shojaee had lived with his grandparents since the death of his mother at age 10 from diabetes and his father suffered depression from his tragic loss. He therefore could not afford the â€śdiyehâ€ť required. Three of Iranâ€™s most prominent movie directors and actors (Ezatolah Entezami, Parviz Parastooyi and Kiymars Poorahmad) opened a joint account to help raise money for his â€śdiyehâ€ť.
They raised 100 million toman (70,000 euro), convincing Omidâ€™s family to grant the pardon. But in an unprecedented step, the Iranian judiciary froze the bank account, summoned the artists and threatened that â€śthey shall be investigatedâ€ť under special laws passed in 1997 against corruption, embezzlement, and misappropriation. These charges carry punishments ranging from one to seven years of prison. Omidâ€™s parents backed out.
The parents were allowed to hang Behnoud with their own hands in the notorious Evin prison. (Sources: Iran Human Rights Activists News Agency, AGI, Corriere della Sera, 11/10/2009; www.radiofarda.com, 19/08/2008)