17-year-old musician to be hanged in Iran capital    Wed. 24 Aug 2005


Iran Focus

Tehran, Iran, Aug. 24 A seventeen-year-old musician in Iran is facing imminent execution in public after his death sentence was upheld by Irans hard-line Supreme Court, a state-owned daily reported on Wednesday.

The teenage boy, identified by his first name Sina, was found guilty of murdering another individual after a dispute over cannabis last October, the daily Etemaad reported.

Sina told the Islamic court that he suffered from drug addiction and had gone to a park in
Tehran on the day of the incident to procure some cannabis. He got into a fight with a drug dealer and stabbed him to death.

The young musician, who teaches wind instruments in
Tehran, said that he was under the influence of drugs at the time of the scuffle and tried to defend himself after being beaten up badly by the drug dealer.

Drug addiction among teenagers has become a major social crisis in
Iran under the rule of radical Islamic clerics.

The clergy-dominated Supreme Court has been upholding death sentences with greater frequency since the election in June of hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. There has been an unprecedented rise in death sentences passed on minors in the same period.