1591: John Dickson, “broken on ane rack” 1960: Caryl Chessman

2009: Delara Darabi, “Oh mother, I can see the noose”

May 1st, 2010 Headsman

On this date last year, Delara Darabi placed a frantic phone call to her parents from Central Prison in Rasht.

Oh mother, I see the hangman’s noose in front of me. They are going to execute me. Please save me.

A guard snatched the phone away and hung up with a taunt — “We are going to execute your daughter and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

And they did just that, as Darabi’s parents raced in vain to the prison.

Darabi was condemned for killing (with her boyfriend) her father’s cousin, a crime to which she confessed allegedly because, as a 17-year-old, she thought she could protect said boyfriend without risk of execution herself.

That worked out much better for the boyfriend (who is serving a prison sentence) than for Delara.

And by the time she repudiated the confession, the Iranian judiciary wasn’t interested.

As a minor under sentence of death — Iran is virtually the last redoubt of juvenile executions in the world — Darabi’s case attracted global attention; she became a cause celebre with the international exhibition of her artwork under the branding “Prisoner of Color”.

Do you know what the prisoner of colors mean? It means that when I was four, I had broken down my life by colors; at 17, I lost them. I mistook deep Red for blue lapis. Instead of sky blue, I painted gray. I lost the colors and now the only silhouette I see everyday is the [prison] wall. I am Delara Darabi, 20 years of age, accused of murder, sentenced to death; it has been 3 years that I defend myself with colors, shapes and words … These paintings are an oath to an uncommitted crime … would that colors were to bring me back to life again. I send you who have come to see my paintings, greetings from behind these walls.

Some other Darabi works can be seen in this Flickr set or on this YouTube tribute.

Darabi’s execution had been reported as imminent earlier in April 2009, but she won a two-month stay from the Head of the Judiciary on April 19.

The hanging this date shocked her supporters; it was apparently conducted in defiance of that stay, and without any notice to her attorney or her family — other than that hopeless last-minute phone call. Amnesty International denounced the execution as “a cynical move on the part of the authorities to avoid domestic and international protests which might have saved Delara Darabi’s life.”

This news broke first on Twitter at the now-dormant @DelaraDarabi account.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 21st Century,Artists,Capital Punishment,Children,Common Criminals,Crime,Death Penalty,Execution,Hanged,Iran,Murder,Ripped from the Headlines,Theft,Women,Wrongful Executions

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6 thoughts on “2009: Delara Darabi, “Oh mother, I can see the noose””

  1. Ali says:

    Classy country? The US has 2% of the worlds population 25% of the worlds prisoners and southern Presidents such as Bush Jr. (43) gloat in executing people. Why do you have to get xenophobic when this entire website is about executions all over the world? It seems like someone just likes being on a paper maché high horse.

  2. Meaghan Good says:

    I’m against the DP too, Tom, but I still think there are certain degrees of cruelty to it. I would much rather be lethally injected than stoned. I would rather be beheaded than drawn and quartered.

    I read in a recent book that perhaps public executions were better for the executee than private ones, because he/she could draw support from the crowd. To an extent it depends on the mood and behavior of the crowd, I guess, but a person in public might be more likely to keep their cool and not break down.

  3. Tom says:

    Execution is execution, however it’s done. What’s the difference if the killers do it now or later, in public or private, by stoning, hanging or by injecting chemicals? All execution is morally indefensible – it is the killling of another human who poses no threat to anyone whatsoever.

  4. Jay says:

    STOP THE HUMAN RIGHT VIOLATIONS THROUGHOUT THE MIDDLE EAST!

  5. KYGB says:

    Yeah Fiz. This one is similar to the hanging of Delara Darabi last year in Iran. She won a two month stay of execution, but she was hung TWO WEEKS later, in violation of the stay. They called her mother and told her “We are going to execute your daughter and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

    Then they did it.

    Classy country, eh?

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