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Delara Darabi (Persian: دلارا دارابى; September 29, 1986 - May 1, 2009) was a Iranian girl, who was sentenced to death at age of 17. She was convicted of murder, despite her highly probably innocence and was executed by hanging.
Her case has raised controversy for number a reasons:
- Iranian Government had signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Convention on the Rights of the Child, and, according to this, no person under age of 18 could be sentenced to death; however, despite this, Iran had executed number of minors;
- Her guilty verdict is disputable:
- She had initially claimed responsibility for having murdered her father's cousin, Mahin Darabi, in order to protect her boyfriend Amir Hussein (age 19), because he told her that, because she was under the age of 18, she could not have received the death sentence. What he said was wrong. Amir Hussein recevied 10 years in prison for being Delara's "accomplice" in Mahin's murder, while Delara was sentenced to death.
- Delara was left-handed, and there is abundant evidence that the murderer was right-handed.
Delara's sentence was upheld by Iran's Supreme Court. The only person who could commute the sentence is Iranian Head of Judiciary, Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi.
Darabi was kept in Rasht Prison. According to her family and attorney, she was severely beaten by prison guards and fellow prisoners and left with a broken arm. Conditions in prison were extremely poor, leading Delara to repeatedly file requests to be transferred to another prison with better sanitary and overall conditions. Her requests were not been answered.
She was executed May 1, 2009.
Campaigns to save Darabi
There was a petition on-line to save Darabi. A similar petition was started by Miss Canada 2003 Nazanin Afshin-Jam for another Iranian minor, Nazanin Fatehi, who was also sentenced to death. After worldwide attention and over 350,000 signatures Nazanin Fatehi was finally found innocent and freed. Amnesty International has also made many public statements and a letter campaign about Darabi.
She was born in city of Rasht (Province of Gilan), where she was a high-school student before her arrest. She had three sisters: Elaheh (21-year old), Ghazale (19) and Sheida (8). Elaheh and Ghazale are college students.
Her sisters were also born in Rasht.