by WorldTribune Staff, October 12, 2016
Iran plans to hang a woman who was just 17 when she was convicted of killing her abusive husband.
The decision by Iranian authorities to execute Zeinab Sokian was made after the woman gave birth to a stillborn baby in prison. Under Iranian law, murder carries the death penalty but pregnant women cannot be executed.
Sokian, who was sentenced to death in 2012, was just 15 when she married a much older man. According to Human Rights Watch, during her trial the court had disregarded Sokian’s testimony that she had been frequently beaten and abused by her husband.
Sokian was pregnant from a relationship she formed with a fellow prisoner while in prison but delivered the stillborn child on Sept. 30, Human Rights Watch said.
Now Iranian authorities have told her she will be executed in the next couple of weeks as she is no longer pregnant.
Iran is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) which outlaws the use of the death penalty on a person who was under 18 when they committed a capital offense.
Rights groups, however, say Iran has already executed at least one child in 2016 and another 49 people who were children when they committed their offenses are currently on death row.
According to Iran’s Civic Code a girl can be legally married at 13 and a boy at 15 despite the CRC saying the minimum marriage age should be 18. Girls as young as 10 are being forced to marry men, often much older, in Iran.
Save the Children CEO Kevin Watkins said: “Child marriage isn’t just a form of discrimination, it’s a form of violence. Forcing girls to marry much older men robs them of their freedom and amounts to sexual slavery. Instead of being in school, married girls face domestic violence, abuse and rape.”