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PoliCon
08-18-2010, 01:33 AM
A television documentary team has pieced together details surrounding the case of a 16-year-old girl, executed two years ago in Iran.

On 15 August, 2004, Atefah Sahaaleh was hanged in a public square in the Iranian city of Neka.

Her death sentence was imposed for "crimes against chastity".

The state-run newspaper accused her of adultery and described her as 22 years old.

But she was not married - and she was just 16.

Sharia Law

In terms of the number of people executed by the state in 2004, Iran is estimated to be second only to China.

In the year of Atefah's death, at least 159 people were executed in accordance with the Islamic law of the country, based on the Sharia code.

Since the revolution, Sharia law has been Iran's highest legal authority.

Alongside murder and drug smuggling, sex outside marriage is also a capital crime.

As a signatory of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, Iran has promised not to execute anyone under the age of 18.

But the clerical courts do not answer to parliament. They abide by their religious supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, making it virtually impossible for human rights campaigners to call them to account.

Code of behaviour

CONTINUED (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/5217424.stm)