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UN human rights experts implore Iran to stop execution of juvenile offender

[JURIST] United Nations human rights experts asked [UN press release] Iran on Tuesday to stay the execution of an offender who was 15 years old when he was sentenced to death.

Abolfazl Chezani Sharahi was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in 2014 after fatally stabbing a man in a fight. Article 91 of the 2013 Islamic Penal Code [text] says that a person under the age of 18 can be sentenced to capital punishment if they can understand the nature of the crime and are deemed to be mentally mature. Sharahi requested a retrial in 2015 on the basis of Article 91, claiming that his mental maturity was not assessed by a child psychology expert, but the request was rejected by the Supreme Court of Iran.

The sentence contradicts the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights [text] Article 6 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child [text] Article 37 that Iran has ratified, which states that persons under the age 18 shall not be subject to the death penalty.

Undeterred by efforts of human rights experts earlier this month in Iran, a juvenile offender (age 16 at time of commission of the crime) was executed, and according to the UN Office of the High Commissioner, at least 89 more juvenile offenders are scheduled for execution.

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