To mark 1 June – International Children’s Day – Raha Bahreini from our Iran team describes how Amnesty has managed to raise awareness about the death penalty and save juvenile offenders from the gallows in Iran.
It starts with a panicked phone call.
Our contact tells us that a juvenile offender (a person aged below 18 at the time of their crime) has just been transferred to solitary confinement – the final step before execution.
This is often our first glimpse of this young person and the desperate situation they are in. Why? Because the families of those on death row often fear reprisals if they publicize the plight of their loved ones. They sometimes believe that international lobbying and public campaigning will only complicate the situation and hasten the execution. At times, the authorities themselves give families false assurances, claiming that if the family does not publicize the case, their loved ones might be spared.
The moment we are prompted to intervene is often the moment when the authorities’ promises are exposed as hollow and the young person is just days or hours away from execution.