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Iran execution of child offender breaks international law: UN rights office

Inside a prison. (File)
Unsplash/Ashley Ross
Inside a prison. (File)

Iran execution of child offender breaks international law: UN rights office

Human Rights

The execution of an Iranian man for a crime allegedly committed when he was 16 years old has been condemned by the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) and raised concerns over violations of his right to a fair trial.

In a statement released on Thursday, OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani pointed out that the execution of Mohammad Hassan Rezaiee was the fourth confirmed for a child offender this year and urged Iran to end the "appalling practice".

Despite the fact that the execution of child offenders is categorically prohibited under international law, Mr. Rezaiee’s execution took place in Iran in the early morning.

The statement noted that UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet strongly condemned the execution and expressed dismay that it was carried out in spite of interventions and OHCHR engagement with the Government of Iran on the issue.

Allegations of torture

Ms. Shamdasani added that amidst deeply troubling allegations that Mr. Reziee’s confessions were forced and extracted through torture, there were numerous other serious concerns about violations of his fair trial rights.

The statement also pointed out that authorities failed to pursue available legal avenues under the Iranian Penal Code to grant Mr. Rezaiee a retrial.

Several other capital punishment sentences have been carried out Iran in recent days: between 19 and 26 December, at least eight individuals were executed in different prisons across the country.

And unconfirmed reports suggest that at least eight other individuals are at risk of imminent execution.

Despite repeated UN calls for Iran to end the execution of child offenders, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights understands that at least 80 remain on death row.

The High Commissioner urges Iranian authorities to halt all executions of child offenders and immediately review their cases in line with international human rights law.