Juvenile offender Danial Zeinulabedin, sentenced to death while under the age of 18, is at risk of execution.
Reports indicate that his execution will be carried out soon after the end of the Muslim month of Ramadan.
On Tuesday, May 28, Iran Human Rights Organization (IHR) reported that one of the close relatives of Danial Zeinulabedin has said that unofficial sources told the family of the prisoner that he will be executed after the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
Danial has been under severe stress in a Mahabad prison, northern Iran, and he has suffered mental health illness. Sources familiar with his case say Danial has inflicted injuries to himself.
Iran’s Supreme Court has upheld his execution despite extensive flaws in his case. Danial was born on Aug. 9, 2000. He has been charged in a murder that happened on Sept. 22, 2017. At the time of the investigations, his family was told that he was not in the immediate scene of the crime, therefore, he could get a lighter sentence. But a family member said, we later learned that the criminal court has sentenced Danial to death. His family insists that Danial is innocent and he has not committed any crime. Danial was 17 at the time of the alleged murder. He and three others have been charged with the murder of a man identified as Sadegh Barmaki.
Iran is one of only five countries known to have executed people since 2013 who were children at the time of their offense.
Amnesty International has time and again called on Iranian regime authorities to adhere to their obligations under the international law of not executing juveniles.
Iran’s penal code, as amended in 2013, prohibits executing child offenders for certain categories of crimes, including drug-related offenses. For other serious crimes, article 91 of the amended penal 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. In 2018 alone, Iran executed seven people for crimes they allegedly committed as children.