Lawyer of minor death row prisoner concerned over client’s health

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Minor offender Mohammad Reza Haddadi, who endured 15 years on death row for a crime he committed under the age of 15, is reported to be in a dire physical and mental health in a hospital.

Mohammad Reza Haddadi, 30, has been admitted to Namazi Hospital in Shiraz due to bowel surgery. According to his lawyer Hussein Ahmadi Nejad, he is still in the hospital and had undergone surgery. He is suffering from a serious digestive problem.

Mohammad Reza Haddadi was born on March 17, 1988, and was sentenced to death at 15 for a robbery that led to murder.

During initial investigations on October 30, 2003, he admitted to robbery and murder but eight days later on November 7, he wrote in a letter to court that one of the other suspects had bribed him into accepting the charges due to his age, in exchange for a large amount of money. He said that he had no role in the murder.

Iran is one of only four countries known to have executed child offenders since 2013.

Iran’s 2013 penal code amendments prohibit executing child offenders for certain categories of crimes, including drug-related offenses. For other serious crimes, article 91 of the amended code allows judges to use their discretion and not issue a death sentence against a child who was not able to comprehend the nature and consequences of the crime at the time. The amended law also allows the courts to rely on “the opinion of a forensic doctor or other means it deems appropriate” to establish whether a defendant understood the consequences of their actions.

However, Iranian courts have continued to sentence children to death after these amendments became law. From 2014 to the end of 2017, Iran executed at least 25 people for crimes committed when they were children, according to Amnesty International.

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