GENEVA (13 January 2022) ̶ UN human rights experts* expressed dismay at the decision by Iranian authorities to proceed with the execution of juvenile offender Hossein Shahbazi despite repeated calls to halt it.
The execution of Mr. Shahbazi was scheduled to take place on 5 January 2022 but was temporarily halted. He remains at risk of imminent execution.
Mr. Shahbazi was 17 years old when he was arrested for fatally stabbing a classmate during a fight between four individuals. The court relied in part on confessions reportedly obtained under torture and ill-treatment when Mr. Shahbazi, who is now 20, was interrogated by police for 11 days. During this time, he was also denied access to a lawyer and his family.
“We urge the Iranian authorities to immediately and permanently halt the execution of Hossein Shahbazi and annul his death sentence, in line with international human rights law,” the experts said.
Mr. Shahbazi’s execution has been scheduled to take place four times, causing irreversible psychological pain and suffering to him and his family. The experts have previously raised concerns with the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran about the death sentence and imminent execution of Shahbazi on 7 June 2021 and 21 July 2021, and also raised their concerns publicly along with the Committee on the Rights of the Child. The Government responded that a stay of execution was granted to facilitate reconciliation for pardon.
“We underline again that reconciliation efforts do not replace the Government’s obligation to prohibit such executions,” the experts said. “International law unequivocally forbids the imposition of the death penalty on persons below 18 years of age. Iran must observe its international obligations by imposing de jure and de facto moratorium on the execution of juvenile offenders once and for all."
Over 85 juvenile offenders are currently on death row in Iran, sentenced to death in violation of international human rights law. On 24 November, another juvenile offender was executed in Islamic Republic of Iran.
* The experts: Javaid Rehman, Special 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 Melzer, Special 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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