Iranian child bride to be put to death after giving birth to stillborn baby

Zeinab Sokian faces the death penalty for killing her husband in 2012

Caroline Mortimer
Tuesday 11 October 2016 13:34
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Zeinab Sokian will be executed for killing her husband in 2012 when she was 17
Zeinab Sokian will be executed for killing her husband in 2012 when she was 17

A child bride is facing execution for the murder of her husband after giving birth to a stillborn baby in prison.

Zeinab Sokian was sentenced to death in 2012 when she just 17 for allegedly murdering her husband in her village in northern Iran.

Under Iranian law, murder carries the death penalty but pregnant women cannot be executed.

Social experiment reveals people's reactions to seeing a child bride

Ms Sokian, who was just 15 when she first got married, was pregnant from a relationship she formed with a fellow prisoner while in prison but delivered the stillborn child on 30 September.

Now Iranian authorities have told her she will be executed in the next couple of weeks as she is no longer pregnant.

During her trial the court had disregarded her testimony that she had been frequently beaten and abused by her husband, Human Rights Watch reported.

Iran is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) which outlaws the use of the death penalty on a person who was under 18 when they committed a capital offence but has already executed at least one child in 2016.

Another 49 people who were children when they committed the offence are currently on death row.

According to Iran’s Civic Code a girl can be legally married at 13 and a boy at 15 despite the CRC saying the minimum marriage age should be 18.

It comes as Save the Children released analysis which showed one girl under 15 is married every seven seconds.

Girls as young as ten are being forced to marry men, often a lot older than themselves, in countries such as Iran, Niger, India, Yemen and Somalia.

One girl under 18 is forced to marry every two seconds.

In India, which has the most total number of child marriages due to the size of its population, 47 per cent of girls - around 24.6m - are forced to get married under the age of 18.

Save the Children’s new CEO Kevin Watkins said: “Child marriage isn’t just a form of discrimination, it’s a form of violence.

“Forcing girls to marry much older men robs them of their freedom and amounts to sexual slavery. Instead of being in school, married girls face domestic violence, abuse and rape.

“They fall pregnant and are exposed to STIs including HIV. Bearing children before their bodies are ready means girls suffer complicated deliveries and even death.”

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