GENEVA (18 February 2015) – The United Nations Special Rapporteurs on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, and on extrajudicial executions, Christof Heyns, today urged the Islamic Republic of Iran to halt immediately the execution of Saman Naseem, a juvenile offender, reported to be scheduled for tomorrow.
Mr. Naseem was convicted of Moharebeh (‘enmity against God’) and Ifsad fil Arz (‘corruption on earth’) for his alleged involvement in armed activities on behalf of the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK). Mr. Naseem, 17 at the time of his arrest in 2011, was allegedly subjected to torture and made to confess to a crime before he was sentenced to death in April 2013. The Supreme Court reportedly upheld the sentence in December 2013.
“Regardless of the circumstances and nature of the crime, the execution of juvenile offenders is clearly prohibited by international human rights law,” the independent experts stressed. The experts also recalled repeated assertions by the Iranian authorities that confessions obtain under torture were inadmissible under Iranian law.
The experts requested the Iranian authorities to halt the execution of Mr Naseem in strict compliance with its international human rights obligations, under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which the country is a party.
The experts expressed serious concerns over the increasing number of executions, including of women and political prisoners and renewed their call on the Government to immediately stop them. Over 700 persons, including 14 women and at least 13 juveniles are believed to have been executed last year. At least 60 persons, including four women have reportedly been executed in January 2015 alone, with a considerably large number of people including juveniles currently at risk of execution.
Appalled by the surge in executions, the Special Rapporteurs urged the Government to immediately establish a moratorium on the execution with a view to abolishing the death penalty all together. “The imposition of the death penalty in Iran contrasts the current international trend of abolishing the death penalty in law and in practice,” they noted.