Execution of Young Man for Crime Committed at Age 14 Shows Iran’s Blatant Disregard for Children’s Rights
Iran is one of world’s few countries executing juveniles; dozens currently on death row
July 10, 2018—The execution of 19-year-old Chezani Sharahi by hanging in Iran’s Central Prison in the city of Qom on June 27, 2018, highlights the Iranian Judiciary’s complete disregard for children’s rights that are protected under international law, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) said in a statement today. This execution and the abuses of the judiciary and other state bodies that enable such violations should be forcefully condemned by the international community, CHRI said.
The execution of an individual who committed the crime as a juvenile is against all international norms and standards, and has been repeatedly condemned by the UN.
“Hanging a young man who committed the crime at age 14 demonstrates Iran’s dismissal of international law and obligations and shows it to be a state that rejects the protected rights of its own citizens, including its children,” said Hadi Ghaemi, CHRI executive director.
Sharahi was arrested in December 2013 at the age of 14 for allegedly stabbing his friend. According to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and Convention on the Rights of the Child, it is illegal to execute someone for crimes committed under the age of eighteen. Iran is a party to both treaties but remains one among a handful of countries still putting juveniles to death.
Sharahi’s hanging also demonstrates how other state bodies routinely collude with the judiciary to advance prosecutions. In this case, Iran’s Legal Medicine Organization declared that Sharahi had achieved full “mental maturity” by the age of 14, when the crime was committed, thereby enabling the death sentence. This assessment was accepted by the court even after credible concerns were raised regarding the legitimacy of the assessment.
Sharahi’s execution was the fourth carried out against a juvenile offender in the country since January 2018. Dozens of others of people who were sentenced as juveniles remain on death row.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein condemned the continued implementation of the death penalty against juvenile offenders in Iran, stressing that the execution of juvenile offenders is strictly prohibited by international law under all circumstances, regardless of the nature of the crime alleged to have been committed.
“I am deeply disturbed that Iran continues to implement the death penalty against juvenile offenders, with some 85 others reportedly on death row,” Zeid said on in a statement on June 28.
“The international community should speak loudly and with one voice to condemn this blatant violation of children’s rights and the Iranian authorities’ continued practice of executing juvenile offenders,” said Ghaemi.