United Nations rights experts say they are “shocked” Iran has executed another juvenile offender in violation of international law.
Shayan Saeedpour, who was 17 years old at the time of his conviction for a fatal knife stabbing, was hanged on April 21, United Nations special rapporteurs Javaid Rehman and Agnes Callamard said in a statement.
They expressed concern Iran may soon carry out more executions, including of another juvenile offender, in response to recent prison riots.
“We have repeatedly reminded the Iranian government and judiciary that international human rights law is clear: the application of the death penalty to child offenders is strictly prohibited and its practice is an egregious violation of the right to life,” the UN experts said.
Saeedpour was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in October 2018. Iran’s Supreme Court upheld the death sentence in 2019.
The experts said they were concerned about reports prosecutors encouraged the family of the victim to request the death penalty. Under Iranian law, a victim’s family can request blood money and pardon an offender.
Iran is one of the countries worst hit by the coronavirus, with nearly 5,300 deaths. In response to the pandemic, around 100,000 prisoners were temporarily released in March.
Saeedpour was one of dozens of prisoners who escaped from a prison in Saqez in late March during riots over the spread of the novel coronavirus. He was rearrested around April 3.
The UN experts said Iranian authorities may be expediting executions of death row inmates, torturing prisoners, and carrying out extrajudicial killings against those involved in the riots.
“We are highly disturbed that the Iranian authorities are reacting to protests in prisons over COVID-19 by using torture and ill-treatment that results in extra-judicial killings, or through executions,” the UN experts said.
Amnesty International said Iranian authorities appear to be retaliating “to deter other prisoners from attempting similar escape plans.”
According to Amnesty International, Iran executed at least four juvenile offenders in 2019.
There are believed to be at least 90 juvenile offenders on death row in Iran.
Rehman is the special rapporteur on human rights in Iran. Callamard is the special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.
The pair do not speak for the United Nations but report their findings to the world body.