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Iran: Shameful execution of Alireza Tajiki, arrested at age 15

Executing juvenile offenders in Iran
Iran: A Medieval Theocracy
Following today’s execution of Alireza Tajiki, a young Iranian man who was arrested, convicted and sentenced to death as a child, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Magdalena Mughrabi said:

“By going ahead with this execution in defiance of their obligations under international law, and despite huge public and international opposition, the Iranian authorities have again cruelly demonstrated their complete disdain for children’s rights. This shameful act marks a critical turning point for Iran, and exposes the hollowness of the authorities’ claims to have a genuine juvenile justice system.”

“Alireza Tajiki is the fourth person executed in Iran this year who was arrested as a child. His execution, which was carried out despite his allegations that he was tortured into “confessing”, consolidates a horrendous pattern that has seen Iran repeatedly send people arrested as children to the gallows, often after deeply unfair trials.

“This execution is a flagrant violation of Iran's obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which it ratified two decades ago. By putting Alireza Tajiki to death, the Iranian authorities have demonstrated their appalling commitment for continuing with this abhorrent practise and shown they do not even have the will to implement their half-hearted reforms to save the lives of those convicted as children."

Background


Alireza Tajiki was 21 years old at the time of his execution. He was arrested in May 2012 when aged 15 and sentenced to death nearly a year later in April 2013. A criminal court in Fars Province, southern Iran, had convicted him of murder and lavat-e be-onf (forced male-male intercourse).

The trial was grossly unfair and relied primarily on “confessions” which Alireza Tajiki had said were extracted through torture, including severe beatings, floggings and suspension by the arms and feet.

In 2013 the Iranian authorities introduced piecemeal reforms to deflect criticism of their appalling record on executions of juvenile offenders, yet despite this they have continued to condemn dozens of young people to death for crimes committed when they were under 18, in violation of their international human rights obligations. These reforms included amendments to Iran’s 2013 Islamic Penal Code that grant judges discretionary powers to replace the death penalty with an alternative punishment if they determine that the individual had not reached “mental maturity” at the time of the crime.

Iran is one of the last few countries in the world that still executes juvenile offenders. As of August 2017, Amnesty International had identified at least 89 individuals on death row who were under the age of 18 when the crime was committed.

Source: Amnesty International, August 10, 2017


Iran Authorities Hang Juvenile Despite International Outcry


Iran Human Rights (AUG 11 2017): Prisoner Alireza Tajiki, who was arrested at the age of 15 on rape and murder charges, was reportedly hanged at Shiraz's Adel Abad Prison.

According to close sources, the execution of Alireza Tajiki, 21, was carried out on Thursday August 10 despite the lack of investigation into the many discrepancies in his case file and the lack of due process.

Moreover, Alireza was under the age of 18 at the time of his arrest and conviction. According to international conventions Iran is signatory of, the death penalty is prohibited for those who were under the age of 18 when the offense they were charged for was committed.

"The death penalty sentence for Alireza Tajiki is in violation of international conventions Iran is obliged to adhere to. We call on the international community to do all they can to stop Alireza's execution," said Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam on the eve of Alireza's execution.

Iran tops the countries in the world with the highest number of executions of juvenile offenders. Alireza Tajiki was hanged despite the widespread outcry of human rights organizations to stop his execution, and this needs to addressed by individuals in the international community who regard themselves as defenders of human values and human rights.

Source: Iran Human Rights, August 11, 2017



Iran executes juvenile offender for male rape after 'torturing him into confession'


Public execution in Iran
Iran has a long history of execution of people sentenced to death when they were children.

A man who was convicted of male on male rape when he was a minor has been executed in Iran, in what human rights groups said was a "flagrant violation" of international laws. Alireza Tajiki, 21, was transferred to solitary confinement at Shiraz's Adel Abad Prison on 9 August, a sign that his execution was imminent.

Tajiki was arrested in 2012, at the age of 15, and sentenced to death one year later for "lavat-e be-onf", which is forced male-male intercourse. However, sources close to the man said he had confessed to the crime after being allegedly tortured. He later retracted his confessions and protested his innocence, said the rights group Amnesty International.

"The authorities never approved Alireza's request for a retrial, and this is unlawful. There is a lot of ambiguity in his case file that needed clarification," Tajiki's brother told NGO Iran Human Rights (IHR).

Iran has ratified treaties that oblige the country to refrain from the death penalty for individuals convicted of crimes committed when they were under the age of 18. "Alireza Tajiki's death sentence is in violation of international convenants which Iran has ratified," Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, IHR director and spokesperson, said in a statement.

Amnesty International condemned the execution, adding that it was the fourth of a person arrested as a child to occur this year. "Alireza Tajiki's execution, which was carried out despite his allegations that he was tortured into 'confessing', consolidates a horrendous pattern that has seen Iran repeatedly send people arrested as children to the gallows, often after deeply unfair trials," Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty 's deputy Middle East and North Africa director, said.

"This execution is a flagrant violation of Iran's obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which it ratified two decades ago."

The Islamic republic allows capital punishment for juveniles in case of "qesas" (retribution-in-kind) and "hodoud", offences and punishments for which there are fixed penalties under Islamic law.

Following mounting pressure by the international community, Iran introduced some amendments to its penal code in 2013, allowing judges to replace the death penalty for children if they do not understand the nature of the crime or its consequences, or if there are doubts about their mental capacity.

However, responding to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in October 2016, the representatives of Iran said Tajiki "had sound intellect and understanding about unlawfulness of the committed acts and their punishment". Therefore, he could be sentenced to death.

Iran has long been condemned for its executions, most of which occur by hanging. Furthermore, it seems that the 2013 amendments have not heralded the changes rights groups had hoped for.

"In January alone, two young men arrested as children were executed, according to human rights groups, and at least 49 more child offenders remain in imminent danger of execution," Human Rights Watch said in February.

As of August 2017, there are at least 89 individuals on death row who were under the age of 18 when the crime was committed, Amnesty said.

Iran's handling of juvenile offenders' executions was under the spotlight again in 2015, with the high-profile case of Saman Naseem, a 24-year-old Kurdish man sentenced to death in 2013, at the age of 17 .

Naseem's whereabouts remained unknown until 2015, when he wrote a letter from prison, in which he described the torture practices he was allegedly subjected to while in detention. His execution was scheduled for February 2015, but it was not carried out.

His case prompted the international community to once again criticise Iran. It is not clear whether Naseem has been executed since his letter was published by Amnesty in 2015.

Source: IBT, Ludovica Laccino, August 10, 2017

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