Page last updated at 16:14 GMT, Tuesday, 8 July 2008 17:14 UK

Plea over Iran's death row youths

Mahmoud Asgari, 16, and Ayaz Marhoni, 18, shortly before their execution in 2005
The execution of juveniles violates UN charters signed by Tehran

A group of human rights organisations has called on Iran to spare the lives of four youths facing the death penalty for crimes they committed as minors.

The group said the four were at risk of execution in the coming days.

The 24 organisations also called on Iran to stop imposing the death penalty for crimes committed by under 18s.

They say Iran has the worst record in the world for putting to death juvenile offenders, and has already hanged two such individuals so far this year.

The executions are a violation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Iran is a party.

Human rights 'violated'

The joint appeal - a relatively unusual step - was made by 24 international and regional human rights organisations.

"I think that clearly demonstrates the strength of feeling on this issue, that the Iranian authorities are violating their human rights obligations every time they execute a juvenile offender," Ann Harrison of Amnesty International told the BBC.

The groups named the individuals at risk as Mohammad Fadaie, Behnoud Shojaie, Salah Taseb and Saeed Jazee.

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

In 2007, Iran executed more than 300 people. About 140 others are reported to be on death row, rights groups say.

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