Execution of Minors and soghra’s file/ Nasrin Sotoodeh
Wednesday 30 July 2008, by
The Feminist School (Nasrin Sotudeh) : Soghra was only 9 years old when her father, empowered by his special Islamic custody rights (Velayat) sent her to work in a house in Rasht. She had just turned 13 when based on accusation of murdering that family’s son she was sent to prison. According to Iran’s criminal law, she was no longer considered a child. Therefore, she was judged as an adult and was sentenced to death (Ghesas). The judge ignored Soghra’s claim about being repetitively harassed by the man of the family. As usual, it was Soghra’s tiny shoulders which bore the lashes, not the man. As in many other cases, the partner of the crime remained anonymous.
Eighteen years later, constantly living under the blade of death, Soghra is a 31 years old woman. In March 2006, my respected colleague Mrs. Nasim Ghanavi and I took her advocacy. From then on, we have tried many ways to get a retrial, hoping that with further consideration and revision of the file, and by the elimination of ambiguities, we can prove her innocence. In our last effort, sending our application to Iran’s Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission, the judge declared that the verdict was aligned with the Islamic law (Shari a) and is by no means subject to an appeal. Therefore the previous verdict is executable. The thirteen years old girl who was sent to prison with a false accusation is now to be hanged .
1) The child’s corpse was found in a well with a very heavy stone lid which a thirteen years old girl is physically incapable of moving.
2) What she has bore so far is equivalent to a life sentence for committing murder in systems where execution is not permitted.
3) There have been so many ambiguities in this case that it should have exonerated Soghra.
4) Eighteen years ago she was only thirteen years old, and even with the impossible supposition of her being guilty of the crime, the execution of thirteen years old girls is not acceptable to the public conscience.
Obviously Soghra is a victim of child labor. She has spent a major part of her life; her childhood and youth in prison. It is now the time for her to take shelter in public thoughts. This way, maybe, the public conscience would compensate only a fraction of the cruelty and injustice which has been imposed on her.