IGOHR Calls on the Iranian Government to Halt the Executions of Two Men Convicted as Minors - Mehdi Bohlouli and Peyman Barandah
The International Gulf Organization for Human Rights (IGOHR) is calling on the Iranian government to immediately and unconditionally halt the executions of two Iranians who were convicted and sentenced to death while still minors. IGOHR is equally deeply concerned about the outcome of about 90 persons now on death row in the country who were sentenced under the age of 18.
According to the UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner, two young individuals on Iran’s death row are scheduled to be executed any time soon for crimes they committed when they were under 18 years of age. One of those to be executed Mehdi Bohlouli, was just 17 years old when he was sentenced to death in 2001 by a court in Tehran, for the fatal stabbing of a man during a fight. He was scheduled to be executed last 19 April, about 15 years after his conviction, but was halted just a few hours earlier. It is unclear if or when the sentence will take place. The second person, Peyman Barandah, was only 15 when he was sentenced to death in 2012, also for the fatal stabbing of a teenager. His execution is scheduled for 10 May.
If Iran’s proceeds with the above-mentioned executions, this will bring the number of executions of persons sentenced to death as juveniles to six since the beginning of this year. IGOHR views these death sentences and executions of persons who were convicted as minors as unacceptable in line with Iran’s obligations under international law and international human rights covenants. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child grantees that its state parties respect and protect a child’s right to life including outlawing the death penalty for crimes committed by juveniles under the age of 18 years.
Iran has ratified and is a state party to these conventions, but it has failed to recognize its responsibility in respecting and protecting the fundamental rights of persons on its death row. Instead, based on Article 91 of its Islamic Penal Code, Iran it has allowed children – girls as young as nine and boys as young as 15 years – to be sentenced to death. Currently, there are some 90 persons on the country’s death row who were sentenced to death for fatal crimes they committed while below the legal age of 18.
IGOHR reiterates that by applying such cruel laws in its Penal Code, Iran is violating the basic rights and principles of juvenile justice of these persons towards which it has an obligation to protect. Although it made some amends to the Penal Code which make provisions for retail of juvenile offenders, many individuals on the death row are unaware of their possibilities to request for retrial or simply they are simply executed even after retrial as in the case of Hamid Ahmadi and Sajad Sanjari who were executed earlier this year. In a recent report by Amnesty International, Iran is said to have carried out more than 567 executions in 2016 alone including at least seven juveniles.
Therefore, the International Gulf Organization for Human Rights (IGOHR) calls the Iranian authorities to stop immediately the execution plans for Mehdi Bohlouli and Peyman Barandah and to unconditionally squash their death sentences for crimes they committed while their mental capacities were not yet mature. IGOHR strongly urges the Iran government to respect its obligations in line with international human rights treaties and abolish its Article 91 of its Islamic Penal Code and prohibit the use of death penalty and the execution of juvenile offenders. Iran should respect the essential rights to life, security of person and justice of children who have been convicted below 18 years of age. IGOHR further call on the United Nations and the international community to investigate summary executions in Iran and to hold the government accountable.