UN condemns Iran’s executions of young offenders

The UN voices outrage at the execution of a man in Iran who was only 16 when he committed his alleged crime, marking the fourth juvenile offender put to death in the country this year.

The UN human rights office says that Mohammad Hassan Rezaiee was executed early Thursday.

It does not provide further details about Rezaiee or the crime he was convicted of, allegedly committed when he was 16.

But according to Amnesty International, he was arrested in 2007 in connection with the fatal stabbing of a man in a brawl and had spent more than 12 years on death row.

“The execution of child offenders is categorically prohibited under international law and Iran is under the obligation to abide by this prohibition,” UN rights office spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani says in a statement.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, “strongly condemns the killing,” she adds.

Shamdasani says the rights office was dismayed that the execution had taken place despite its efforts to engage with Tehran on the case.

“There are deeply troubling allegations that forced confessions extracted through torture were used in the conviction of Mr. Rezaiee,” she says, adding that there were also “numerous other serious concerns about violations of his fair-trial rights.”

She notes that Rezaiee’s execution, the fourth of a juvenile offender in 2020, had come shortly after a series of other executions in Iran.