Amnesty: Iran must halt execution of man arrested at age 17

Amnesty International appeals for Iran to stop the planned execution of a man arrested at aged 17 and sentenced to death in a “grossly unfair trial.”

Arman Abdolali had been moved to solitary confinement in a prison in Karaj, west of Tehran, in preparation for his execution on Wednesday, says the London-based rights group.

“Time is rapidly running out. The Iranian authorities must immediately halt all plans to execute Arman Abdolali,” says Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“Use of the death penalty against people who were under 18 at the time the crime was committed is prohibited under international law and constitutes an abhorrent assault on child rights,” she says in a statement.

Abdolali had been sentenced to death for murdering his girlfriend twice before — in July 2021 and in January 2020 — but his execution was stopped both times after an international outcry, says Amnesty.

“Global action helped to stop Arman Abdolali’s previously scheduled executions. We now urge the international community, including the UN and EU, to urgently intervene to save his life.”

Amnesty says Abdolali was first sentenced to death in December 2015 after being convicted of murder in “a grossly unfair trial” by a court that “relied on torture-tainted ‘confessions'” following his girlfriend’s disappearance the year before.

The supreme court granted him a retrial in a case that largely focused on whether there were doubts about his “maturity” at the time of the crime, it adds in the statement.

At the retrial, the court ruled that his criminal responsibility stood in the absence of any evidence to determine his maturity so many years after the crime.

“Given these deeply flawed proceedings, Amnesty International is also calling on the Iranian authorities to quash Arman Abdolali’s conviction and grant him a retrial in line with fair trial standards,” the group says.

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