ISRAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN: Iran’s hypocrisy exposed as scores of juvenile offenders condemned to gallows

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28 Jan 2016
[International Secretariat]
Topic: Abolition of the Death Penalty

Scores of youths in Iran are languishing on death row for crimes committed under the age of 18, said Amnesty International in a damning new report published today.

The report reveals that Iran has continued to consign juvenile offenders to the gallows, while trumpeting as major advances, piecemeal reforms that fail to abolish the death penalty against juvenile offenders.

Amnesty International’s report lists 73 executions of juvenile offenders which took place between 2005 and 2015.

Amnesty International has been able to identify the names and location of 49 juvenile offenders at risk of the death penalty in the report. Many were found to have spent, on average, about seven years on death row.

“The report paints a deeply distressing picture of juvenile offenders languishing on death row, robbed of valuable years of their lives – often after being sentenced to death following unfair trials, including those based on forced confessions extracted through torture and other ill-treatment,” said Said Boumedouha.

Tragically, the report also points to a growing trend where juvenile offenders retried under recent reforms are judged to have attained “mental maturity” at the time of the crime and resentenced to death, in blatant evidence of how little has changed.

In some cases, judges have concluded that a juvenile offender was “mature” based on a handful of simple questions such as whether he or she understood that it is wrong to kill a human being. They have also repeatedly confused the issue of lack of maturity of children due to their age with the diminished responsibility of individuals with mental illness, concluding that a juvenile offender was not “afflicted with insanity” and therefore deserved the death penalty.

As Iran re-enters the world of international diplomacy it is also crucial that world leaders use such new channels to raise the cases identified in this report with the Iranian authorities and to urge them to immediately commute all death sentences for juvenile offenders.

26 January 2016

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