UN rights experts urge Iran to halt execution of juvenile offender

UN rights experts urge Iran to halt execution of juvenile offender

[JURIST] Two UN human rights experts on Wednesday urged the government of Iran to halt the execution of Saman Naseem, a juvenile offender scheduled to be executed Thursday. Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran Ahmed Shaheed and UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions Christof Heyns stated [UN News Centre report] in a press conference that Iran must comply with its international human rights obligations and that the execution of juvenile offenders constitutes a clear violation of international human rights laws. The experts also drew attention to the fact that confessions obtained through the torture of a suspect, according to Iranian authorities, are not admissible in an Iranian court of law, and that Naseem was allegedly tortured during his confession. Naseem was arrested at age 17 in July 2011 following a battle between the Revolutionary Guard [CFR backgrounder] and the opposition Party For Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) [GlobalSecurity backgrounder], in which a member of the Revolutionary Guard was killed and three others injured.

This is not the first time an international human rights organization has urged Iran to stay an execution. Earlier this month Amnesty International (AI) also urged [JURIST report] Iran to halt the execution of Naseem, saying that it must be immediately stopped and the case thoroughly reviewed. In April Shaheed urged [JURIST report] Iran to halt the execution of Reyhaneh Jabbari, a woman sentenced to death for murdering Mortez Abdolali Sarbandi, a man she accused of attempting to sexually assault her. Jabbari was executed [JURIST report] in October. In July Italian advocacy group Hands off Cain released a report [JURIST report] revealing that the number of deaths by capital punishment increased despite a general global trend toward capital punishment abolition, with Iran being among the global leaders in executions. In 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. Also in June a group of independent UN human rights experts condemned Iran’s execution of a political prisoner, calling for the country to end the death penalty, with AI also urging [JURIST reports] that the execution be halted.