Annual Report 2013
The state of the world's human rights

17 October 2008

Iran to end child executions

Iran to end child executions
Iran has instructed all courts to stop issuing death sentences against juvenile offenders.

According to a statement by Hossein Zabhi, Assistant Attorney General for Judicial Affairs, a recently-issued directive instructs all judicial officials, when passing sentence, to apply the regulations of the Amnesty and Clemency Commission, which would allow the commutation of death sentences of juvenile offenders firstly to life imprisonment, and then in a second stage to 15 years.

In his interview with the Islamic Republic News Agency, Hossein Zabhi referred to all types of crime currently punishable by execution.

However, it is not clear if the directive includes those convicted of murder, for which the sentence is qesas (retribution in kind). The Iranian authorities have always contended that there is a distinction between cases of qesas and other crimes for which the death penalty is applied.

Most recently, the Head of the Supreme Court reaffirmed this claim on 13 October. This contention is not recognized under international law, which explicitly prohibits any juvenile offender from being put to death by the state.

Iran is currently the only country in the world known to have executed a juvenile offender in 2008. Juvenile offenders are usually not executed until they reach the age of 18 but Amnesty International is aware of some cases where children as young as 16 have been executed. According to information available to the organization, at least six juvenile offenders have already been hanged this year.

Amnesty International says that the Iranian authorities should release the text of the directive and make clear that they intend to uphold their international human rights obligations by including cases of those convicted of murder in this ban. In addition, Iran's parliament should ensure that the directive is incorporated quickly into legislation currently under review, and for the higher legislative body, the Council of Guardians, to support this initiative.

The organization hopes this will pave the way to a complete abolition of the death penalty in Iran. It also calls for the legislation and implementation to adhere to the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Iran is a state party.

Issue

Death Penalty 

Country

Iran 

Region

Middle East And North Africa 

@amnestyonline on twitter

News

11 July 2014

Refugees in Nairobi are appealing against a controversial ruling that would force thousands of Somalis from their homes to live in squalid overcrowded camps in north Kenya.

Read more »
19 June 2014

Chile’s commitment to decriminalize abortion in cases where the pregnancy was the result of rape, the woman’s life is in danger and when the foetus is not viable is a positive... Read more »

10 July 2014

The sentencing of five media workers in Myanmar each to 10 years’ imprisonment with hard labour for “disclosing state secrets” makes today a dark day for freedom of expression... Read more »

11 July 2014

Amnesty International has gathered graphic and compelling evidence of savage beatings and other torture meted out against activists, protesters and journalists in eastern... Read more »

11 July 2014

Amnesty International is calling for a UN-mandated international investigation into violations committed on all sides amidst ongoing Israeli air strikes across the... Read more »