Iran continues to execute juveniles

At least 90 juveniles are on death row in Iran’s prisons.

International legal and judicial experts believe that these juveniles should not be executed for the crime they committed under the age of 18, Iran, however doesn’t accept and considers the death penalty necessary.

“AI has identified the names of at least 90 juvenile offenders currently on death row across Iran. Many have spent prolonged periods on death row – in some cases more than a decade. Some have had their executions scheduled then postponed or stayed at the last minute on multiple occasions, adding to their torment.” According to Amnesty International.

Among these juvenile offenders, two are at the verge of scheduled executions. They were only 16 and 17 at the time of their crimes.

One of the two, Mehdi Bahlouli, was sentenced to death in 2001 and set to be executed on Wednesday 19 April, his execution however was delayed at the 11th hour and postponed for two months.

The execution of the second man, Peyman Barandah, was scheduled to take place on 10 May. There is no information available on his status.

Benyam Dawit Mezmur, Chair of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, Ms. Asma Jahangir, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran and Agnes Callamard, the U.N Special Rapporteur on arbitrary executions urged Iran to halt juveniles’ executions

“The Iranian authorities must immediately halt the execution of this juvenile and annul the death sentence against him in compliance with international standards for the imposition of this form of punishment,” the experts stressed.

Citing to the sentences issued for Bahlouli and Barandah they said the number of death sentences issued for juvenile offenders since January has reached to six. Two of them were executed.

Iranian regime’s head of judiciary Sadegh Larijani said execution of juvenile offenders in Iran is a sheer lie.

“If a person commits a crime at the age of 17 and now is 25, there is no reason to ignore the victim’s parents’ rights for retribution,” he added.

Child rights activists however, believe that this punishment is considered as “juvenile execution” and the Iranian regime does not abide by international commitments in this regard.

Iran has signed the universal Covenant on the Rights of the Child in which stipulated that “No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without possibility of release shall be imposed for offences committed by persons below eighteen years of age.”

Additionally, Iran has added an amendment to its Islamic Penal Code in 2013 which grant retrials for all death row adolescents who were under 18 at the time of committing the crime.

Iran has also assured the U.N Committee on the Rights of the Child to systematically apply the amendment for all death row juveniles.

The three mentioned U.N experts stressed that Iran has not fulfilled its commitments. Bahlouli and Barandah’s requests for a new trial due to changes to Iranian juvenile criminal law have been rejected without any reasons being stated.

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