UN rights expert concerned over rate of juvenile executions in Iran

UN rights expert concerned over rate of juvenile executions in Iran

UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ahmed Shaheed [official website], expressed continued concern Monday regarding Iran’s alarming rate of juvenile executions and other flaws in the justice system [press release]. Shaheed’s report [text, PDF] calls for complete removal of the juvenile death penalty, as Iran is one of the only countries still using this practice in violation of international law. Shaheed also discussed problems with due process, failure of officials to implement Iranian law in a manner that complies with international law and other problems with the administration of justice. While recognizing some reform and recent successful elections, Shaheed stated, “[t]here remains a considerable gap between protections afforded to the accused in Iranian law and the reality on the ground.”

The use of the death penalty remains controversial worldwide. Last month Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] criticized Iran’s justice system after 40 men were sentenced to death [JURIST report]. In January AI reported on the many juvenile offenders [JURIST report] on death row in Iran. Last year AI said that use of the death penalty in Pakistan [JURIST report] was undergoing a “disturbing and dangerous” escalation after the execution of two men convicted of non-terrorism offenses. In 2014 UN officials called on the government of Iraq to impose a moratorium on the death penalty [JURIST report] in response to a significant rise in executions since the country restored capital punishment in 2005. The report stated that 73 executions of juvenile offenders took place between 2005 and 2015 and that 160 juvenile offenders are currently on death row.