According to the Iranian website Mashregh News, Mohammad Javad Shams was executed on Tuesday, January 15, for murdering a five years old girl. Mohammad Javad Shams was arrested last October for kidnapping and murdering Melika, 5, during an ill-fated drug dealing. He was reportedly kidnapped Melika along with her brother and sister, killed Melika and raped her elder sister, Maryam.
His death sentence has been carried out just four months after his arrest, and it is unknown that he had a fair trial or not.
Pictures published by the Iranian media show several children among the public watching the execution.
According to the head of Isfahan Province Judiciary Courthouse, the defendant was “convicted to qisas (retribution in kind) for murdering Melika, sentenced to death for raping (Melika’s elder sister), 20 years of imprisonment for kidnapping, 7 years for intentional injuring, 4 years for illegal imprisonment of Melika and her siblings, 9 months for child abuse, and paying compensation (Diya) to the plaintiffs.”
Iranian media reported that the qisas verdict was carried out, not the execution one. According to the Iranian Islamic Penal Code (IPC) murder is punishable by qisas which means “retribution in kind” or retaliation. In this way, the State effectively puts the responsibility of the death sentence for murder on the shoulders of the victim’s family. In qisas cases, the plaintiff has the possibility to forgive or demand diya ( blood money). In many cases, the victim’s family are encouraged to put the rope is around the prisoner’s neck and even carry out the actual execution by pulling off the chair the prisoner is standing on.
This is the fifth case of public executions so far in 2019. UN human rights experts, including the former Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran, had previously drawn particular attention to continued reports of public executions. “a dehumanising effect on both the victim and those who witness the execution” and ultimately reinforced the “already cruel, inhuman and degrading nature of the death penalty,” UN experts said.
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