Iran to Execute Mentally Disabled Woman

Associated Press: Amnesty International said Tuesday that Iran planned to execute a mentally disabled 19-year-old woman for "acts contrary to chastity,'' referring to alleged crimes stemming from her having been forced into prostitution as a child. Associated Press

LONDON - Amnesty International said Tuesday that Iran planned to execute a mentally disabled 19-year-old woman for "acts contrary to chastity,'' referring to alleged crimes stemming from her having been forced into prostitution as a child.

The London-based human rights group cited reports in the Iranian newspaper Khorasan that said social workers estimated the woman, identified only as Leyla M., had the mental capacity of an 8-year-old.

The newspaper reported on Nov. 28 that Leyla had been sentenced to death by a court in the central Iranian city of Arak when she was 18, according to Amnesty. The sentence had been passed to Iran's Supreme Court for confirmation, the group said.

The group said Leyla had been convicted of "acts contrary to chastity,'' including controlling a brothel, having sex with relatives and giving birth outside of marriage.

It said she had confessed to the charges and was to be flogged before her execution. Khorasan reported that Leyla had exhausted her appeals, Amnesty added.

Amnesty said Leyla's mother had forced her into prostitution when she was 8. It said the girl was raped repeatedly and gave birth to a baby when she was 9. She was sentenced to flogging at the time.

Her family sold her to an Afghan man when she was 12, and his mother forced the girl to continue as a prostitute, Amnesty said. She gave birth to twins at age 14 and was again punished by flogging, the group said. Her family later sold her again, to a 55-year-old man, Amnesty said.

The reports could not immediately be confirmed.

Amnesty said that as a party to the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, Iran had promised not to execute anyone for crimes committed while they were under 18.

The group said Iran had executed at least three child offenders in 2004. In addition, it said, a 14-year-old boy died on Nov. 12 after being flogged for eating in public during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.