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Execution of man arrested at 16 exposes Iran’s disregard for child rights

    May 25, 2017

    Iran has demonstrated its utter disregard for children’s rights by executing a man arrested for a crime committed while he was 16 years old in a brazen violation of international human rights law, said Amnesty International.

    The man, who has been identified in state media only by the name “Asqar”, was sentenced to death by public hanging nearly 30 years ago. He was executed at Karaj’s Central Prison near Tehran on 23 May 2017.

    “With this execution, the Iranian authorities’ repeated claims to the UN and EU that they are moving away from the use of death penalty against juvenile offenders ring horrifically hollow. It is absolutely appalling that two decades after it ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Iran continues to display such a chilling disregard for children’s rights,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    “This is the third execution this year of someone arrested as a child in Iran, demonstrating the authorities’ clear determination to continue flouting international human rights law. The authorities should halt any further plans for executions and amend Iran’s Islamic Penal Code to abolish the use of the death penalty against juvenile offenders once and for all.”

    “Asqar” was originally sentenced to death in 1988 after being convicted of the fatal stabbing of his 12-year-old neighbour, according to state media. The sentence was later upheld by the Supreme Court. He was due to be executed at the age of 18 but escaped from prison shortly before the scheduled execution date; he was on the run until his re-arrest in April 2015.

    Iran is one of the last few countries in the world that still executes juvenile offenders. International human rights law strictly prohibits the use of the death penalty against a person who was under 18 at the time of the crime.

    Amnesty International opposes the death penalty at all times – regardless of who is accused, the crime, guilt or innocence or method of execution. The organization has consistently called on all countries that still use the death penalty to establish an official moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the punishment.