UN urges Iran not to execute Kurdish juvenile offender

Saman Naseem, 22, is set to be killed for membership in Party of Free Life of Kurdistan, clashes with Revolutionary Guards 5 years ago

Saman Naseem, 22, a Kurd, is sentenced to death in Iran (photo credit: YouTube screenshot)
Saman Naseem, 22, a Kurd, is sentenced to death in Iran (photo credit: YouTube screenshot)

GENEVA, Switzerland — UN experts on Wednesday joined a chorus of calls for Tehran to halt plans to execute a young Iranian Kurdish man who was sentenced to death over a crime he committed as a minor.

Saman Naseem, 22, is scheduled to be executed Thursday after being found guilty of membership in the rebel Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) and involvement in armed confrontations with the Revolutionary Guards.

He was 17 at the time of his arrest and was sentenced to death in April 2013, allegedly after being tortured.

Ahmed Shaheed, UN special rapporteur on human rights in Iran, and Christof Heyns, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, urged Iran to halt the execution in compliance with its international human rights obligations.

“Regardless of the circumstances and nature of the crime, the execution of juvenile offenders is clearly prohibited by international human rights law,” the pair said.

They asked Iran to act on its own assertions that confessions obtained under torture are inadmissible under Iranian law.

On Tuesday, Amnesty International and the International Federation for Human Rights demanded a halt to the execution.

The UN rapporteurs also urged Iran to stop what they said were an increasing number of executions, including of women and political prisoners.

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