2009: Behnoud Shojaee, Mohammad Mostafaei client

Add comment October 11th, 2013 Headsman

At dawn this date in 2009, Iran hanged Behnoud Shojaee in Tehran’s Evan Prison for a murder committed while he was still a juvenile.

His attorney, Mohammad Mostafaei, later had to flee Iran in the face of persecution over his own activism against the death penalty, and the juvenile death penalty in particular.

Mostafaei wrote a Farsi post detailing the harrowing moments leading up to the Shojaee’s hanging, complete with the young offender kneeling in front of the parents of his victim imploring them to exercise their power to spare his life. That post, excerpted below, was translated to English by the site Persian2English.com.

The plan was to get the parents of the victim to drop the case so he would be spared from execution. We could hear the prayers of the activists from outside the prison. After a few minutes we were admitted into another salon. Behnoud was there along with a few of the prison guards. When the parents of the victim entered the room, Behnoud kneeled in front of them and begged them to not execute him. The head of convictions prepared the conviction papers. A few of the prison guards, Mr. Oliyaifard, and I went to the parents of the victim and begged them to not go through with the execution. The mother of the victim replied, “I cannot think right now. I have to put the rope around his neck.” After a few minutes we heard the Call for Prayer. Behnoud walked to another room to say his last prayers. He went to ask God for forgiveness.

After the prayer we all went to the prison grounds. My entire body was shaking and I didn’t know what would become of this boy without a mother. When Behnoud kneeled in front of the parents of the victim, he told the mother, “I don’t have a mother. Please act as a mother and tell them to not execute me.” We all went to another room. In that room there was a metal stool and a blue plastic hanging rope suspended above it. The parents of the victim entered that room. Then they brought Behnoud into that horrible room where they carried out the executions. I had never heard of sole executions in Evin prison. I thought it strange that only Behnoud was being executed that night.

Maybe this was his unfortunate fate that took him to die all alone. The people present in the room asked the parents to forgive and to stop the execution. The mother said you have to put the rope around his neck. Behnoud stood on top of the stool and they put the rope around his neck. After only a few seconds the mother and father of the victim ran toward the stool and pulled it away.

On this day..

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

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2008: Behnam Zare, pleading for his life

Add comment August 26th, 2010 Headsman

On this date in 2008, Behnam Zare (or Zareh) was hanged in Shiraz for murdering, at the age of 15, another youth during a fight about a bird.

Evidently about 19 when he was finally put to death, Zare was hanged without any prior notice to his lawyer or his family.

A recording of Zare’s voice in what turned out to be his last call with his lawyer, pleading “I want to stay alive. Please, please I want to stay alive,” was used to open a 2008 documentary against executing juvenile offenders.

That attorney who represented Zare (and created the documentary) was Mohamad Mostafaei — an activist lawyer who described various forms of official harassment for his unwelcome work. Mostafaei has recently been in the news for his representation of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the woman who made international headlines for receiving a sentence of stoning to death. (Mostafaei also represented cause celebre Delara Darabi, hanged in 2009.)

Just a few weeks ago, Mostafaei fled Iran ahead of an arrest warrant (several members of his family were also arrested as virtual hostages).

He was interviewed by the BBC in exile in Oslo. (Read on to the comments for a transcript.)

(Also of interest: Mostafaei’s gut-wrenching description of another child offender’s hanging in October 2009, and the desperate attempts to beg for mercy from the victim’s parents. StopChildExecutions.com has regular coverage of the juvenile death penalty in the Islamic Republic.)

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 21st Century,Capital Punishment,Children,Common Criminals,Crime,Death Penalty,Execution,Hanged,Iran,Murder,Notable Participants,Ripped from the Headlines

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