Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] released [press release] a report [document, PDF] Tuesday on the many juvenile offenders on death row in Iran. The report states that 73 executions of juvenile offenders took place between 2005 and 2015 and that 160 juvenile offenders are currently on death row. Iran ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) [text] and despite being legally obligated, has not, completely abolished the use of the death penalty against juvenile offenders. Iran implemented a reform that allowed judges to use their discretion to impose “alternative punishments on juveniles convicted of capital crimes” [NYT report], but have largely been used in order to deflect criticism of the state’s appalling human rights record, the report states. Amnesty International hopes that Iranian authorities will improve their human rights record in accordance with international human rights standards now that international sanctions have been lifted and the country is on the road to seek rapprochement [The Independent report] with the international community.
Much international pressure has been directed toward Iran in recent years for its use of the death penalty. Iran executed [JURIST report] Saman Naseem, a juvenile offender who was 17 years-old when sentenced to death in February of last year; he was charged in July 2011 with “enmity against God” and “corruption on earth.” 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 2014 to immediately halt the execution of Reyhaneh Jabbari. Jabbari was executed [JURIST report] the following October despite international opposition. In June 2014, 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 2014 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.