UN rights expert urges Iran not to execute another juvenile

12 December 2005

After receiving numerous allegations that juveniles have been executed in Iran over the past year, a United Nations rights expert is calling on the country’s Government not to carry out the death penalty against Rostam Tajik, a 20-year-old Afghan national who was only 16 when he is alleged to have committed murder.

“Executing a juvenile offender is not the way to mark December 10, which is International Human Rights Day,” Philip Alston, the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions of the UN Commission on Human Rights, said on Friday.

“At a time when virtually every other country in the world has firmly and clearly renounced the execution of people for crimes they committed as children, the Iranian approach is particularly unacceptable,” he added.

Mr. Alston said that Iran’s continuation of juvenile executions is particularly disturbing not only because the obligation to refrain from these is clear incontrovertible, but also because the Tehran Government has stated that it will cease the practice.

In January 2004, Mr. Alston asked to visit Iran on the basis of the standing invitation extended by the Government to experts of the Commission on Human Rights. Since that time the Government has regularly assured him that it will make the necessary arrangements but nothing has happened.

“It is now urgent that the Government of Iran should arrange such a visit so that the situation can be clarified,” Mr. Alston said.

Special Rapporteurs are unpaid experts serving in an independent personal capacity who receive their mandate from the UN Human Rights Commission.


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