Amnesty demands juvenile execution in Iran is stopped

Amnesty International urges Iranian authorities to stop the ‘imminent execution’ of juvenile offender
2 min read
22 June, 2021
Amnesty International has urged Iran to halt the execution of Hossein Shahbazi, who was under-18 at the time of his convicted crime and allow for a fair retrial according to the principles of juvenile justice.
Amnesty International has urged the international community to help save Hossein's life [Getty]

The "imminent execution" of an Iranian man who was arrested as a minor must be halted, Amnesty International said in a statement released on Monday, as they called for his retrial. 

The execution of 20-year-old Hossein Shahbazi, who was convicted of a murder that took place when he was 17, is scheduled for 28 June. 

Shahbazi was sentenced to death on 13 January 2020 in a trial slammed by the UK-based rights watchdog as "grossly unfair".

Shahbazi's confession was obtained through torture, Amnesty said, adding that the ruling must be overturned to allow for a fair trial according to the principles of juvenile justice. 

"Going ahead with this execution would be an abhorrent assault on children’s rights and would make an absolute mockery of justice," said Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International's Middle East deputy director.

"Using the death penalty against someone who was a child at the time of the crime is prohibited under international human rights law and violates Iran's international obligations," Eltahawy said. 

Shahbazi was arrested in December 2018, following a group fight in which one person died. 

Following his arrest, he was denied access to a lawyer and contact with his family for 11 days, according to Amnesty

Shahbazi said he was subjected to torture and other forms of ill-treatment while being investigated. He is currently imprisoned in Adelabad prison in Shiraz. 

The 20-year-old's conviction was upheld by the country's Supreme Court on 16 June 2020. 

Despite acknowledging that Shahbazi was underage at the time of the crime, the Supreme Court's verdict said he acquired mental growth and maturity while in prison, citing an examination by a state medical organisation.

Over 267 people were executed in Iran in 2020 according to the World Coalition Against The Death Penalty, of which 211 were charged with murder.

At least four of the executions were juvenile offenders, which violates Iran's commitment to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.