AFP: Iran's hardline judiciary has sentenced a 16-year-old boy to death for murder, the reformist Shargh daily reported Tuesday.
According to the report, the boy -- only identified as Vahid from near Tehran -- confessed to stabbing his friend Mehdi to death but insisted he did it in self-defence, saying the victim wanted to sexually abuse him. AFP

TEHRAN - Iran's hardline judiciary has sentenced a 16-year-old boy to death for murder, the reformist Shargh daily reported Tuesday.

According to the report, the boy -- only identified as Vahid from near Tehran -- confessed to stabbing his friend Mehdi to death but insisted he did it in self-defence, saying the victim wanted to sexually abuse him.

No further details were given, but verdicts can be appealed and death sentences are subject to supreme court approval.

Under Iranian, any person who has reached the age of maturity -- considered nine-years-old for girls and 15 years for boys -- can be executed for capital offences.

But executions for those who committed their crimes while under the age of 18 are rare.

Last month the judiciary said it has drawn up a bill that would scrap the death penalty and lashings for under-18s -- meaning the sentencing of the 16-year-old could be annulled.

Several Iranian human rights organisations and Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi have been lobbying Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi, the head of the judiciary, not to sentence minors to death.

Murder, armed robbery, rape, apostasy and serious drug trafficking are all punishable by death in Iran.

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