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UN rights chief condemns juvenile execution in Iran

[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] on Thursday condemned [press release] Iran's use of the death penalty for juvenile offenders and called on authorities to halt the announced execution of Razieh Ebrahimi. Ebrahimi, who was legally married to her then-28-year-old husband when she was 14, was sentenced to death [Guardian report] after killing her abusive husband when she was 17. "Regardless of the circumstances of the crime, the execution of juvenile offenders is clearly prohibited by international human rights law," Pillay said, citing the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child [texts], to which Iran is a party, that prohibit the execution of those who commit their crimes while under the age of 18. In the same statement, Pillay also criticized Iran's use of the death penalty for political prisoners and for drug-related offenses.

According to the statement, the UN believes Iran has executed more than 250 prisoners in 2014. Earlier in June a group of independent UN human rights experts, decried [JURIST report] the country's execution of a political prisoner and called on the country to end the death penalty. Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] also urged [JURIST report] Iran not to execute the same political prisoner on June 1. In April UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran Ahmed Shaheed [official website] called [JURIST report] on Iran to halt the execution of a woman who killed an employee of the Iranian Intelligence Ministry [official website, in Persian] who she claims was trying to sexually assault her. The Third Committee of the UN General Assembly [official website] expressed concern [JURIST report] over continuing human rights violations in Iran, including executions of minors.

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