UN calls on Iran to stop executing children

The UN called on Iran yesterday to “immediately” cancel death sentences against minors and children, and called on Tehran to abide by its obligations under international human rights law, officials from the UN High Commission for Human Rights said.

At the same time, the UN demanded that Iran immediately halt the carrying out of death sentences passed on two persons who committed their offences and were sentenced when they were children.

“These executions must be halted immediately and the death sentences quashed. We also call on Iran to commute without delay all such sentences imposed on children,” officials from the UN said.

“We are dismayed by the unprecedented rise in the number of cases of execution of juvenile offenders in Iran,” the experts said, noting that one of the two persons, Mehdi Bohlouli, was 17-years-old when he was condemned to death in 2001.

Bohlouli’s execution was scheduled to take place on 19 April, the high commissioner’s office said, but it was temporarily stayed a few hours before it was due to be carried out.

The other condemned prisoner, Peyman Barandah, was 15 when he was sentenced to death in 2012, also for the fatal stabbing of a teenager. His execution has been scheduled for 10 May.

“These two cases bring the total of juvenile offenders scheduled for execution that we have become aware of in Iran since January to six. They include the cases of two young persons whose executions was carried out,” the UN noted.

Iran has a long history of executing children, as well as having the world’s highest per capita execution rate. In one particularly infamous example, The Guardian reported last year that an Iranian minister confirmed that Tehran had ordered and carried out the executions of all males in a single village for various drug offences.

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