Human Rights Advocates Warn Iran Against Violating UN Treaty Protecting Child Offenders From Death Penalty

(New York, N.Y.) — Leading human rights advocates and United Nations (UN) officials are calling on the Islamic Republic of Iran to halt the planned execution of Arman Abdolali on the grounds that he was under 18 at the time of his alleged crime. Amnesty International has asserted that Abdolali’s confession to Iranian officials was extracted through torture. Iran’s judicial system subjects detainees and prisoners to beatings, rape, sleep deprivation, denial of food and medicine, and other atrocities. UN officials assert Abdolali was held in solitary confinement for 76 days and denied asthma medication.

The United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) resource Cruel and Inhuman: Executions and Other Barbarities in Iran’s Judicial System spotlights Iran’s status as one of the world’s top executioners of child offenders. Killing such persons violates the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a signatory. Nonetheless, boys over the age of 13 who commit crimes are eligible for death sentences under Iranian law. UN officials report Iran has “more than 85 juvenile offenders on death row.” 

Under Iran’s penal code, alternatives to a death sentence are possible for child offenders if there is uncertainty about their "mental maturity." Owing to that, Iran’s Supreme Court granted Abdolali a retrial in February 2020. Subsequently, a criminal court ruled it impossible to evaluate his mental maturity, and consequently erred on the side of executing him by reimposing the death sentence. Iran reportedly plans to execute Abdolali on Saturday, October 16, 2021. 

To read the UANI’s resource Cruel and Inhuman: Executions and Other Barbarities in Iran’s Judicial System, please click here.