Iran to hang man for crime allegedly committed when 15Published by International Liberty on July 29, 2015
Iran plans to execute a prisoner who was 15 years old when he is alleged to have committed a crime, Amnesty International said in an Urgent Action appeal on Monday (26 July). Iran has been executing juvenile offenders for many years and at least 160 juvenile offenders are believed to be on death row in the country.
“Juvenile offender Salar Shadizadi is at imminent risk of execution for a murder allegedly committed when he was 15 years old. He is scheduled to be executed on 1 August. Salar Shadizadi was arrested in February 2007 on a charge of murdering a friend. He was sentenced to death in December that year, under the Islamic principle of qesas (retribution-in-kind), by Branch 11 of the Criminal Court of Appeal in the northern province of Gilan. His sentence was upheld three months later, by Branch 37 of the Supreme Court,” Amnesty International’s Urgent Action appeal said.
“Salar Shadizadi was arrested in February 2007 after his friend’s dead body was found in a garden belonging to Salar Shadizadi’s family. Salar Shadizadi was subsequently arrested and accused of fatally stabbing the deceased victim in the neck. The circumstances of the crime are not clear to Amnesty International,” the international human rights group said.
The AI report adds: “After several years on death row, Salar Shadizadi was transferred to solitary confinement on 7 July 2013 in preparation for execution. The authorities, however, halted the execution at the last minute and allowed Salar Shadizadi to submit a request for judicial review under Article 91 of Iran’s 2013 Penal Code, which gives judges the discretion not to impose the death penalty if they determine that a juvenile offender did not understand the nature of the crime or its consequences, or if there are doubts about the offender’s ‘mental growth and maturity’.
“Later that year, Branch 13 of Iran’s Supreme Court accepted the request for judicial review and sent the case back to the court of first instance to examine the issue of Salar Shadizadi’s maturity at the time of the crime. The court of first instance referred Salar Shadizadi to Iran’s Legal Medicine Organization (LMO) for psychological examination. The LMO found that ‘there is no evidence to conclude that Salar Shadizadi was insane at the time of the crime but examining his mental growth seven years after the event is impossible.’ Based on this finding, Branch 13 of the Supreme Court upheld the original death sentence. In its reasoning, the Supreme Court stated: ‘presumptively, mental maturity is present after children reach the age of maturity [which is 15 for boys and nine for girls] and the rebuttal of this presumption requires proof which has not been established in this case.’
“At least 72 juvenile offenders are believed to have been executed in Iran between 2005 and 2014 and at least 160 juvenile offenders are believed to be on death row.”
European Union Foreign Policy Chief, Federica Mogherini, is visiting Iran this week and she was urged by a number of MEPs to use the opportunity to raise the human rights issue with Iranian authorities.
Since taking office Ms Mogherini has not condemned the flagrant human rights abuses that are rampant in Iran even once.