IRAN LEADS THE WORLD IN EXECUTING CHILDREN
June 20, 2007: Iran should immediately suspend the use of the death penalty for crimes committed by children under age 18, Human Rights Watch said today.
Iran is known to have executed at least 17 juvenile offenders since the beginning of 2004 – eight times more than any other country. Iran ’s highest judicial authorities have repeatedly upheld death sentences handed down to juvenile offenders as young as 15. Such sentences violate Iran ’s international treaty obligations, which prohibit the death penalty for crimes committed by people under 18.
In some cases, the death sentences also violate Iranian domestic law requiring that children under 18 be tried before special juvenile courts. Iran has executed two juvenile offenders this year. Syed Mohammad Reza Mousavi Shirazi, 20, was executed in Adel Abd prison in the city of Shiraz on April 22 for a murder he allegedly committed when he was 16. His family was not notified of the planned execution and did not see him prior to the execution. The Supreme Court acknowledged that Mousavi was wrongly tried in an adult court. Torture and ill-treatment are common in Iranian detention centers, making the court’s willingness to accept a child’s confession in a death penalty case particularly disturbing. Only Iran , Sudan , China and Pakistan are known to have executed juvenile offenders since 2004. (Sources: HRW, 20/06/2007)