Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, newly appointed head of Iran's judiciary, who has stayed the executions of seven accused scheduled for today.
The executions of seven accused criminals in Iran scheduled for today have been cancelled by the new head of that country's judiciary.
Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, who was appointed head of the Republic's Islamic Judiciary four days ago by the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, stopped the executions, which were to include someone who was under 18 when he stabbed another boy. The death penalty cannot be exacted on anyone until they have reached the age of 18.
Iran is said to be second worldwide in the number of executions performed annually, after China, according to Amnesty International. Human rights groups have criticized Iran's record on imposing the death penalty, particularly on minors.
State media carried the report of the cancelled executions, quoting attorney Mohammad Mostafaie, who represents one of the accused.
The newly appointed Larijani, 49, has taught at Qom Seminary and served as member of the Guardian Council. He is the brother of Dr. Ali Larijani, former head of Iran's Security Council and current speaker of Iran's Parliament. His other brothers include Fazel Larijani, Iran's cultural attache in Ottawa, Canada, Bagher Larijani, former deputy minister of health and now head of Tehran University of Medical Sciences, and Mohammad-Javad Larijani, Director for the Institute of Studies of Theoretical Physics and Mathematics in Tehran. All of them have held or currently hold positions in Iranian government. Their father, Grand Ayatollah Hashem Amoli, was an influential Shia cleric.
It is not clear whether the executions have been permanently halted or temporarily stayed.