Iran executes juvenile offender

Iran executes juvenile offender

[JURIST] Iran reportedly executed [IBT report] Saman Naseem, a juvenile offender who was 17 years-old when sentenced to death, despite international pressure to halt the execution. According to Iran Human Rights (IHR) [official website], it is unclear if the execution occurred on Thursday or Friday, but Naseem’s family was asked to collect his body. Now 22, Naseem was charged in July 2011 with “enmity against God” and “corruption on earth.” The juvenile was arrested because of membership in Party For Free Life of Kurdistan after a battle with the Revolutionary Guards. One member of the Revolutionary Guard was killed and three others injured. Naseem reported [IHR press release] he did not have access to a lawyer during the investigations and was tortured prior to confessing. Prior to execution, UN human rights experts and Amnesty International (AI) [JURIST reports] urged Iran to halt the execution. Iran is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child [text] and pursuant to Article 37(a) capital punishment is prohibited for persons below 18 years of age. However, the Islamic Penal Code [text] permits the death penalty for juveniles under certain circumstances.

Much international pressure has been directed toward Iran in recent years for its use of the death penalty. The UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran [official website] Ahmed Shaheed urged [JURIST report] Iran in April to immediately halt the execution of Reyhaneh Jabbari. Jabbari was executed [JURIST report] the following October despite international opposition. Last June former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay condemned [JURIST report] Iran’s use of the death penalty for juvenile offenders and called on authorities to halt the announced execution of Razieh Ebrahimi, who was 14 years old when sentenced to death. Also in June a group of independent UN human rights experts condemned [JURIST report] Iran’s execution of a political prisoner, calling for the country to end the death penalty.