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UN rights office urges Iran to stop executing juvenile offenders

[JURIST] The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] urged Iran [JURIST news archive] Tuesday to ban the use of the death penalty [UN News Centre report] against juvenile offenders. The OHCHR statement comes as two Iranian men, identified by Reuters as Mohammad Fadaaee and Amir Amrollahi, are set to be executed for crimes committed while juveniles. The OHCHR also expressed stated that it was "concerned and saddened" [OHCHR press briefing] by the August executions of two other Iranian juvenile offenders, Reza Hedjazi [JURIST report] and Behnam Zaare [HRW report]. Iranian executions of juveniles violate the terms of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child [text], to which Iran is a signatory, but officials for the country argue that it and similar executions are allowed because the offenders reached the age of majority before being executed. Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] has said [HRW press release] that Iran leads the world in executing the most people for crimes committed as children and advocacy campaign Stop Child Executions keeps a list [advocacy materials] of those facing execution. Last April, an Amnesty International report [text; JURIST report] named Iran as having one of the three highest execution rates in the world, along with China and Pakistan. Reuters has more.

Last month, Iran commuted the sentences [JURIST report] of four people scheduled to be executed by stoning and suspended the use of the punishment, after nine people were given the sentence [BBC report] in July for adultery and sexual offenses despite a moratorium on the practice [JURIST report]. In July, Iran hanged 29 people [JURIST report] in Tehran in a move that human rights groups suggested was intended to challenge international criticism [JURIST report] of its death penalty policies. Most executions in the country are carried out by hanging and are related to such crimes as murder and rape, although an Iranian airport customs officer was executed for corruption [JURIST report] in January.

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