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Iran executes man arrested at 16 in 'appalling' violation of international law

Iran executes hundreds of people every year

Execution of man named only as ‘Asqar’ was third juvenile offender execution in Iran this year

At least 567 people executed in country last year

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.

Iran is one of the very few countries in the world that still executes people for crimes that occurred when the suspect was under 18 at the time - a use of the death penalty strictly prohibited under international human rights law. 

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 two days ago (23 May). 

“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. 

Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Research and Advocacy Director, said: 

“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.

“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.” 


Hundreds executed every year

Iran is known to execute hundreds of people every year, second only in number to China. In 2016, at least 567 people were put to death in the country, including at least two juvenile offenders. Amnesty opposes the death penalty at all times - regardless of who is accused, the crime, guilt or innocence or method of execution. The organisation has repeatedly called on all countries that still use the death penalty to establish an official moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the punishment.

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