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Iran: UN experts say executions of child offenders must stop

GENEVA (25 November 2021)  ̶  UN human rights experts* today strongly condemned the execution of Arman Abdolali, convicted for an alleged murder committed when he was 17, and demanded that Iran stop sentencing children to death.

There are currently over 85 juvenile offenders on death row in Iran, sentenced to death following processes that significantly violate international human rights law. The majority of those sentenced to death are from marginalized groups or are individuals who themselves have been victims of abuse.

Arman Abdolali was executed at dawn on 24 November. He was transferred to solitary confinement the previous evening.

“We strongly deplore that the authorities proceeded with the execution of juvenile offender Arman Abdolali, in violation of an absolute prohibition under international human rights law,” the experts said.

Arman Abdolali’s execution had been scheduled and re-scheduled at least on six occasions, during which he was transferred to solitary confinement in preparation for his execution only to be returned to his cell at the last minute. Special Procedures mandate holders and experts from Treaty Bodies had on several occasions, including on 12 October, called on the Government to halt his execution.

“This case is emblematic of the deep flaws of the juvenile justice system in the Islamic Republic of Iran and we call on the Government to undertake reforms as a matter of priority,” the experts said. Human rights mechanisms have consistently called on Iran to abolish the death penalty, in particular for juvenile offenders.

“In the meantime, we call on the Government to commute all death sentences issued against juvenile offenders, in line with its international obligations.”

ENDS

* The experts: Javaid RehmanSpecial Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran; ; Mikiko Otani, Chair of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, Morris Tidball-Binz, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; Nils MelzerSpecial Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

The Special Rapporteurs and Working Groups are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council's independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures' experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.
UN Human Rights, Country Page — Iran

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