[12 July 2014] -
Prominent rights group Amnesty International on Tuesday 8 July urged Iran to halt the execution of a young man who was a child at the time of his alleged crime.
The rights group stressed that Iranian authorities must act to reverse a disturbing rise in the execution of juvenile offenders, noting that at least eight individuals being put to death in the first half of 2014 for crimes allegedly committed when they were below the age of 18. According to the London-based rights group, Rasoul Holoumi, now 22, was sentenced to death in October 2010 for the alleged killing of a boy during a group-fight in 2009, when he was 17 years old.
"It is cruel and inhumane to hang any person but it is particularly reprehensible for Iran to do so when the person was a child at the time of the alleged crime, and the execution takes place after a flawed investigation process that violates fair trial standards," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Program Director at Amnesty International.
Iran is among a handful of countries that still execute juvenile offenders. Amnesty said it has recorded at least eight juvenile executions in the first half of 2014; equivalent to the total number of juvenile executions in Iran during the whole of 2013. "The execution of Rasoul Holoumi will be a deplorable addition to Iran's grim tally of executions. Whatever argument the authorities might use, this is a flagrant violation of international law. Rasoul Holoumi was a child at the time of his alleged offence and his death sentence must be quashed," said Sahraoui.
According to Amnesty's Death Sentences and Executions 2013 report, Iranian officials acknowledged the execution of at least 369 people in 2013. Reports indicate that at least 11 of those executed may have been under the age of 18 at the time of their alleged crimes. "The execution of people for crimes committed when they were under 18 is strictly prohibited under Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and Article 37 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, both of which Iran has ratified," the rights group noted.