Tomorrow, Pennsylvania’s Superior Court is set to hear an appeal against an earlier decision to try 13-year-old Jordan Brown in an adult court.
Jordan is charged with killing Kenzie Houk, his father’s pregnant fiancée, in 2009, when he was 11 years old; he is charged with two counts of homicide.
Amnesty International has urged US authorities in Pennsylvania not to try Jordan in an adult court, as doing so could result in a violation of international law. If tried as an adult and convicted of first-degree murder, he would face life imprisonment without parole.
Jordan Brown is the youngest person known to Amnesty to be currently at risk of being sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. The US is the only country we know of in the world that pursues life imprisonment without parole against children – and it does so regularly. Currently there are at least 2,500 people who are serving life imprisonment without parole for crimes committed before they turned 18.
The USA and Somalia are also the only countries in the world that have not ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which prohibits life imprisonment without the possibility of release for crimes committed under the age of 18. Amnesty International is calling on the US to bring its laws in line with international standards on the treatment of children accused of criminal offenses.
It is shocking that anyone this young could face life imprisonment without parole, let alone in a country which labels itself as a progressive force for human rights.
Just five days after the execution of child offender Delara Darabi in Iran, the government there is set to kill two more juvenile offenders tomorrow.
This news comes despite widespread international consensus that because of children’s immaturity, impulsiveness, vulnerability and capacity for rehabilitation, their lives should not be written off so permanently – regardless of the severity of the crimes they are convicted.
Amir Khaleqi and Safar Angooti are set to be executed early Wednesday, May 6, at 4 a.m. local time in Evin prison. The scheduling of these executions, just days after killing Delara Darabi, show that the Iranian authorities have total disregard for international law which unequivocally bans the execution of those convicted of crimes committed under the age of 18.
According to their lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaie, Amir Khaleqi killed a man during a fight when he was drunk. Amir does not remember how the incident happened but was so remorseful that he turned himself into the police. He was 16 years old at the time. Amir was eventually convicted, despite the court taking into consideration that he was intoxicated, and a juvenile offender.
Safar Angooti was convicted of murder at age 17. According to the newspaper Etemad, in April 2008, Safar Angooti stabbed a rival suitor who was talking to a girl he liked and was sentenced to death. Safar claimed that he had killed the man but not intentionally. At least 135 other juvenile offenders are also known to be on death row in Iran.
Amnesty members are launching worldwide activities tomorrow in front of Iranian embassies hoping the publicity will stop tomorrow’s possible execution of Amir Khaleqi and Safar Angooti. You can take action right now by sending a message to Iranian authorities demanding an end to the executions of child offenders in Iran.