Iran postpones execution of man arrested aged 17 — rights groups

Iran has postponed the internationally criticized planned execution of a man arrested for murder when he was 17, but he remains at imminent risk of being hanged, Amnesty International and other rights groups say.

Arman Abdolali, now 25, was given the verdict after a trial that rights groups described as unfair. His scheduled execution had renewed international criticism of Iran’s use of capital punishment.

Abdolali had been moved to solitary confinement in the Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj, west of Tehran, in preparation for his execution on Wednesday, and held a final meeting with his parents on Tuesday.

But the execution did not go ahead, although there are fears it may take place on Saturday, say Amnesty and the Oslo-based Iran Human Rights (IHR).

The “execution is now postponed to Saturday, 16 October. He remains at risk of imminent execution in Iran. He was just 17 when arrested,” Amnesty says on Twitter.

IHR, which monitors the use of the death penalty in Iran, says Abdolali is still being held in solitary confinement, and quotes sources as saying the execution would take place on Saturday.

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

IHR says Abdolali confessed to the murder at the time of his arrest, but the body was never found and he later withdrew his confessions.

Rights groups say international conventions signed by Iran prohibit it from executing anyone for a crime committed while aged under 18.

Iran executes more people each year than any nation except China. IHR says at least 64 juvenile offenders have been executed in Iran over the past 10 years, with at least four executed in 2020.

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