A directive announced by Iran's deputy prosecutor general, Hossein Zebhi, stated that judges had been instructed to no longer impose the death penalty on juveniles. However, it is not clear yet precisely what legal force it has or whether a new law must go through parliament.
A lawyer who represents 25 juveniles under threat of execution said he had heard no word yet of the new directive. Some of his clients have been on death row for years, as negotiations continue over whether victims' families will accept blood money - cash to avoid execution.
Iran is one of last remaining countries in the world that imposes the death penalty on juveniles aged under 18 at the time of the crime even though this is explicitly banned by the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Iran has signed and ratified.Here's hoping that Iran will put an end to this disgraceful practice. Wishful thinking I know, but it would be good to think that this was a fist step towards the abolition of judicial murder in Iran.