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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Letter from the Father of Amir Amrollahi, a Teenager on Death Row



A Letter from the Father of Amir Amrollahi, a Teenager on Death Row

Committee of Human Rights Reporters– Amir Amrollahi was born on November 1, 1989. He was 16 years old at the time of his arrest. On November 19, 2005 he confessed to the police his involvement in the murder of another teenager Mohsen Kazemi. Amir had no intentions of committing murder. Five judges from branch 5 of Fars criminal court condemned him to execution without considering his age and his mental condition during the time of murder. The issued verdict was confirmed in branch 27 of the Supreme Court.

It should be noted that Iran has joined the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 2006. Article 37 of the convention states: “Neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without possibility of release shall be imposed for offences committed by persons below eighteen years of age.” Additionally, based on clause 5 of article 6 of the Civil and Political Rights Act, capital punishment should not be an option for those who committed crimes before they were 18.

This letter was written by the father of Amir Amrollahi, a teenager on death row. It is addressed to the parents of the murdered victim:

“But whoever forgives and amends, he shall have his reward from Allah” (Qur’an – 42:40)

Dear Mr. Kazemi’s family,

I am giving you my regards with eyes full of tears and a heart filled with sorrow. It has been five years and I still say: I am embarrassed, ashamed, and sorry. I know you are sad. God knows that we are also sad, first for you and then for our son who dies and comes to life a few times a day. You know that my son has developed mental problems in prison and has attempted suicide a few times; his entire body has been injured. You have also heard him saying in the court: “Daddy, let them kill me so I can be freed.”

I sympathize with you and I have tried to prove my sympathy by handing my son over to the rule of law in the first hours after the incident. I refused to get a defense lawyer against you, and every night, I have shed tears for your son and mine. Right now the life of my son and the entire family is in your mighty hands. This is your decision and your right.

Our sons did not know each other from before, so the incident was momentary and accidental without any previous intent. The murder was committed out of ignorance. Now the verdict of retaliation has been reached for my son. Please make a carefully thought-out decision. You can kill my son at any time and at any opportunity. But does killing him, or another 100 like him solve anything?

You can stop the blood of a second person from being spilled. Let God and the Qur’an decide for him and forgive him for the sake of Ali Akbar, Ali Asghar, Imam Hossein, and the slain hands of Abbas (all religious Shia figures- translator’s note). Do not kill him, you have the power to do that. If you do that, all my family and relatives, and even other citizens, will pray for you and will ask for forgiveness and mercy for your son. We will be grateful to you and your dear family for the rest of our lives.

Shall God make no family mourn. Amen, God of the people.

With shame and embarrassment,

Bahman Amrollahi (Amir Amrollahi’s father)

- Arash Azizi, Persian2English


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