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Source: The Guardian

Nov 29, 2023

Iran execution of child condemned by UN human rights office

Seventeen-year-old Hamidreza Azari was executed along with Milad Zohrevand, 22, as UN agency calls for moratorium on capital punishment

By Agence France-Presse

The United Nations said Tuesday it deplored the executions of a 17-year-old and a 22-year old in Iran and urged Tehran to immediately stop applying the death penalty.

The UN Human Rights Office said it was troubled by Friday’s executions. “The execution of Hamidreza Azari, who was accused of murder, is the first reported execution of an alleged child offender in Iran this year,” spokesperson Elizabeth Throssell said in a statement.

She reminded Tehran of its obligation under international conventions to prohibit death sentences and their implementation for crimes committed by individuals below the age of 18.

“We are also troubled by the execution, on the same day, of 22-year-old Milad Zohrevand – the eighth person to be executed in the context of the September 2022 protests,” said Throssell.

“Available information indicates that his trial lacked the basic requirements for due process under international human rights law. There are also troubling reports that Zohrevand’s parents were arrested following his execution.

We deplore the executions.”

The September 2022 protests were sparked by the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd, after her arrest in Tehran for an alleged breach of the Islamic republic’s strict dress code for women.

Iran launched a sweeping crackdown to snuff out the protests that saw hundreds killed and thousands arrested, according to rights groups.

Throssell said Iran was among the countries with the highest death penalty figures, particularly for drug-related offences, while minorities are disproportionately sentenced to death.

She urged Iran to halt the application of the death penalty immediately and establish a moratorium on its use.

Until then, the death penalty may only be imposed for the most serious crimes: those of extreme gravity that result intentionally and directly in death, Throssell said.

“We also call on the government to stop using criminal procedures to punish political activists and others for exercising their rights to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly,” she added.

At least 582 people were executed in Iran last year, the highest number since 2015 and well above the 333 recorded in 2021, IHR and the Paris-based group Together Against the Death Penalty said in a joint report in April.

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