Powerline is alerting readers today to the plight of Iranian teenager Nazanin Fatehi, who was sentenced to death January 3, 2006 by the Islamic Republic of Iran for murdering a man she claims tried to rape her and her 15-year-old niece.
According to the Iranian daily Etemaad, Nazanin (then 17) and her niece were in a public park with their boyfriends when three men approached and began menacing them, causing the boys to flee.
When the men then tried to force themselves on the girls, Nazanin pulled out a knife and stabbed two of the men, one in the hand and the other ultimately fatally, in the chest.
According to Wikipedia, an Iranian political group identified the girls' assailants as members of the Bassij, a paramilitary force that became famous when the Ayatollah Khomeini recruited its child members to participate in "human wave" attacks against Iraq during the 1980s, in which groups of children were tied together and then sent to the front to clear the battlefields of mines.
Though Nazanin was a minor by U.S. standards at the time she committed the crime, in Iran, girls as young as nine may be sentenced to death. However the minimum age for which boys may be convicted of a capital offence is fifteen. If Nazanin fails to win her appeal, she will most likely be executed by hanging.
It bears noting that in Iran, hangings are usually done from cranes - a particularly inhumane way of carrying out this method of punishment as usually in these types of hangings, the victim's neck is not broken and so death does not come quickly.
Update: An interesting sidebar to this story is Denis MacEoin's essay, "Why Do Muslims Execute Innocent People," in the Middle East Quarterly. MacEoin has a Ph.D. in Persian studies and has taught Arabic and Islamic Studies at Newcastle University.