Iran hangs 17-year-old for murder: Rights groups

Hamidreza Azari had reportedly been sentenced to death for killing a man in a brawl in May

By AFP

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Published: Sat 25 Nov 2023, 6:25 PM

Iran has executed a 17-year-old convicted of murder, two rights groups said on Saturday, expressing outrage that the country continues to hang people for crimes committed as minors.

Hamidreza Azari was executed on Friday in prison in the eastern town of Sabzevar in Razavi Khorasan province, the Norway-based Hengaw and Iran Human Rights (IHR) groups said in separate statements.

Persian-language satellite TV channel Iran International also reported the execution, saying Azari was the only child in his family and despite his age had already a few years ago started working as a scrap worker.

Citing documents they had seen, both Hengaw and IHR said he was 16 years old at the time of the crime and 17 when executed. He had reportedly been sentenced to death for killing a man in a brawl in May.

The rights groups said the execution marked another violation by Iran of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which defines a child as any person under the age of 18.

"Iran is one of the few countries that sentences child-convicts to death and executes more juveniles than all other countries," IHR said, adding that according to its data at least 68 minors have been executed in Iran since 2010.

IHR director Mahmood-Amiry Moghaddam added: "In Iran, if someone wants to get a driver's licence, they must be 18 years old, but 15 years old is enough to be executed."

IHR said Iran's latest penal code explicitly defined 15 as the age of criminal responsibility for boys.

The group said Iranian media had reported the execution of a person named as Hamidreza A. but falsely gave his age as 18 in a "deliberate attempt to evade accountability for violating international laws".

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Iran on Thursday also executed a man in his early 20s who was the eighth person to be hanged in a case related to months of nationwide protests that erupted in September 2022.

The protests were sparked by the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd, after her arrest in Tehran for an alleged breach of the Islamic republic's strict dress code for women.

Campaigners say Iran is on a spree of executions unprecedented in recent years, seeking to intimidate the public in the wake of the protests.

According to IHR, at least 684 people have been executed this year in Iran, mainly on drugs-related and murder charges.


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