Iran must abide by its obligations under international human rights law and stop carrying out death sentences passed on persons who committed offences when children, say a group of United Nations rights experts* calling for an immediate halt to the execution of two persons, who were sentenced when they were both under 18.
“We are dismayed by the unprecedented rise in the number of cases of execution of juvenile offenders in Iran,” the experts said. “The psychological suffering inflicted on adolescents kept languishing for years in prison under a death sentence is appalling, and amounts to torture and ill treatment.”
“These executions must be halted immediately and the death sentences quashed. We also call on Iran to commute without delay all such sentences imposed on children,” they stressed.
One of the two persons, Mehdi Bohlouli was 17 years old when he was sentenced to death in 2001 by a court in Tehran, for the fatal stabbing of a man during a fight. His execution had been scheduled to take place on 19 April, some 15 years after his conviction, but was halted just a few hours earlier. It is not yet clear if or when the sentence will now be carried out.
The other person, Peyman Barandah, was 15 when he was sentenced to death in 2012, also for the fatal stabbing of a teenager. His execution has been scheduled for 10 May. There is no word about a possible reprieve.
“These two cases bring the total of juvenile offenders scheduled for execution that we have become aware of in Iran since January to six. They include the cases of two young persons whose executions was carried out,” the experts noted.
They express concern that the cases may be only the tip of the iceberg: “Taking into account that at least 90 people were on death row at the beginning of April for crimes committed under the age of 18, the exact number of those executed or at risk of execution is likely to be much higher.”