Iran: child offender Salar Shadizadi faces execution in days

Salar Shadizadi was sentenced to death for a crime committed when he was just 15 years old © Private
Shadizadi set to be hanged on Monday, amid unprecedented Iranian execution spree 
 
The Iranian authorities must immediately halt the implementation of a death sentence for child offender Salar Shadizadi and ensure that a new request for a judicial review made by his lawyers earlier this week is granted without delay, said Amnesty International. 
 
The execution of Shadizadi, who was jailed and sentenced to death for a crime committed when he was just 15-years-old, was originally scheduled for 1 August and then postponed to 10 August after an international outcry.
 
Shadizadi, now 24, was sentenced to death after a conviction for murder of a friend in 2007 under the principle of qesas (retribution-in-kind), which grants the victim’s family the exclusive right to pardon. 
 
In 2013, Shadizadi’s lawyers asked for a review of his case based on a provision of Iran’s revised Penal Code, passed into law in May 2013, which allows judges to exclude the use of the death penalty if they determine that the child offender did not understand the nature of the crime or its consequences, or if there are doubts about the offender’s “mental growth and maturity”. Amnesty understands that this request was granted by Iran’s Supreme Court, but did not result in a retrial. Instead, Shadizadi was referred to the Legal Medical Organisation, which found that they could not examine his mental growth seven years after the event. This finding then came to the Supreme Court which upheld the death sentence.
 
Amnesty recently exposed what it called a “staggering” execution spree in Iran so far during 2015, with 694 executions up to 15 July. The reasons behind the surge in executions are unclear but the majority of those put to death were convicted on drug charges.
 
Amnesty International’s Acting Middle East and North Africa Director Said Boumedouha said:
 
“The Iranian authorities are shirking their responsibilities by sentencing Salar Shadizadi to death and claiming afterwards that his fate is in the hands of the families involved. 
 
“They must immediately quash his sentence and grant him a fair retrial without resorting to the death penalty.” 
 

Child offender executions in Iran

At least 72 child offenders are believed to have been executed in Iran between 2005 and 2014, and at least 160 child offenders are currently believed to be on death row. 
 

View latest press releases