Dreading 18: Girls on Death Row in Iran

Iran5
Mahsa is 17. She fell in love with a boy and intended to marry him, but her father was against the marriage. One day she had an argument with her father, got angry, and killed him with a kitchen knife. Mahsa’s brothers are requesting the death penalty for her (Image credit: Sadegh Souri)

According to Iranian law, the age when girls are held accountable for criminal punishment is nine years old, while international conventions have banned the death penalty for persons under 18. In Iran, the death penalty for children is used for crimes such as murder, drug trafficking, and armed robbery.

Pursuant to the passing of new laws in recent years, the Iranian Judiciary System detains children in Juvenile Delinquents Correction Centers after their death sentence verdict, and a large number of them are hanged upon reaching age 18.

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Sadegh Souri, a documentary winner at the 2015 Lens Culture Visual Storytelling Awards, has photographed girls in the harsh conditions of juvenile detention – many of whom are marking time until they turn 18, when their executions will be carried out.

Recommended: Growing Up on Death Row: The Death Penalty and Juvenile Offenders in Iran | Amnesty International (Report)


Sadegh Souri was born in 1985 in Nahavand City, Hamedan Province in Iran. He has a BA in Photography and Cinematography from the University of Applied Science and Technology. He started his art activity in 2005 and then achieved four solo exhibitions in 2009, 2011, 2012.

He is a member of:
✤ Iranian Youth Cinema Society, Zahedan Branch
✤ National Iranian Photographers’ Society
✤ Iranian Photojournalists Association
✤ Fédération Internationale de l’Art Photographique

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