Two young men at risk of execution for crimes committed as juveniles

Iran juveniles on death row
Shayan Saeedpour (leeft) and Mohammad Kalhori (right), two young men sentenced to death in Iran for crimes committed when they were juveniles.

The family of a young man who was sentenced to death at 15 years old were informed by prison authorities that their son would be executed soon.

The man was sentenced to death in Iran despite the provincial state medical examiner’s report that Mohammad Kalhori was not mentally mature when he allegedly committed murder.

Kalhori’s attorney, Hassan Aghakhani, said: “Unfortunately, Mohammad’s family were informed that the verdict will be carried out soon.”
“According to the State forensic institution, Mohammed suffers from mental disorder and the medical commission also confirmed that. He was 15 when the murder happened. He is also depressed, but unfortunately his family did not notice it,” Aghakhani added.

Based on a report by the State forensic institution which said Kalhori was not mentally mature at the time of the crime, the Criminal Court sentenced him to seven years and paying blood money to the victim’s family.

However, following an appeal and apparent letters sent by a Government official and a Member of Parliament, the verdict was overturned by the Supreme Court.
In September 2016, Branch 2 of the Criminal Court in Lorestan sentenced Kalhori, who was born in March 1998, to death for murdering his teacher in November 2014.

In a June 2018 statement, two UN rights experts called on Iranian authorities to halt the execution of Kalhori.

“Iran has committed itself to prohibiting the use of the death penalty for all those under 18 by its ratification of both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child,” said Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions, and Renate Winter, who heads the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

“As such, this execution is unlawful and arbitrary,” they added.

Another juvenile offender Shayan Saeedpour, who was sentenced to death in Iran while under the age of 18, has been transferred to another prison in Kurdistan Province, raising fears he could soon be executed.
Iran’s Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence against the young man.

Born in 1997, Shayan Saeedpour is convicted of killing a man on August 16, 2015, while under the age of 18.
Saeedpour has been in jail since. Alongside the fact that he was a juvenile, Saeedpour has been under psychiatric care and attempted suicide on numerous occasions.

According to Saeedpour’s family, he was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crime, for which he has been sentenced to 80 Saeedpour turned himself in to police two days after the incident.

According to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and Convention on the Rights of the Child, it is illegal to execute someone for crimes committed under the age of eighteen. Iran is party to both treaties but remains one among a handful of countries still putting juveniles to death.

Yet the authorities have shown no sign of stopping horrific practice of sentencing juvenile offenders to death.

In February 2018, the UN rights chief urged Iran to halt executions of juveniles on death row.

“The execution of juvenile offenders is unequivocally prohibited under international law, regardless of the circumstances and nature of the crime committed,” the UN high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, said in a news release on February 16.

The UN rights chief also noted that several other juvenile offenders are also believed to be in danger of imminent execution, with a total of some 80 such individuals reported to be currently on death row in Iran, after being sentenced to death for crimes they committed when they were under eighteen.