In Iran, the death penalty is given to children for crimes such as murder, drug trafficking, and armed robbery. According to the Islamic Penal Law, the age when girls are held accountable for their crimes is nine years old, even though international conventions ban the death penalty for individuals under 18 years of age.
Pursuant to the passing of new laws in recent years, the Iranian Judiciary System detains children in juvenile delinquent correction centers after their verdict. Those with minor crimes are freed after serving their terms, while those who are sentenced to death are hanged once they reach age 18 if the next of kin (private complainants) do not take back their complaints. At the time I took these photos, some of the girls were awaiting their execution. Now, some of the next of kin have withdrawn their complaints and some of the girls have been freed; they are living their normal lives now. But this project still continues.
Sadegh Souri was born in Nahavand, Iran in 1985. He is a cinematographer specializing in Iranian documentary, and has worked on more than 50 films.
Souri holds a associate’s degree in photography and cinematography from the University of Applied Science and Technology. He started his career in 2005 and has held four solo exhibitions in 2009, 2011 and 2012.
Souri’s work has been recognized by organizations and festivals across the world, including POYi, the Lecia Oskar Barnack Award, Festival della Fotografia Etica, and the China International Press Photo Contest, among others. He is also a member of the Iranian Youth Cinema Society, the National Iranian Photographers Society, and the Iranian Photojournalists Association.