As Iran Executes Child, UN Human Rights Office Calls For Moratorium On Death Penalty
The UN Human Rights Office on Tuesday deplored the executions of 17-year-old Hamidreza Azari and 22-year-old Milad Zohrevand in Iran and urged Tehran to halt the application of capital punishment immediately and establish a moratorium on its use.
Elizabeth Throssell reminded Iran of its “obligation, under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to prohibit death sentences and their implementation for crimes committed by individuals below the age of 18.”
Iran’s Brutal Crackdown On September Protests
The OHCHR spokesperson highlighted the execution of Azari, who was accused of murder, as the first reported execution of an alleged child offender in the country in 2023. She also raised concerns over the execution of Zohrevand, on the same day.
The 22-year-old is the eighth person to be executed in the context of the September 2022 nationwide demonstrations. The mysterious death of Mahsa Amini, 22, in police custody triggered an unprecedented popular uprising last year against the Islamic Republic system.
Amini got arrested in Tehran for an alleged breach of Iran’s strict dress code for women. Authorities launched a brutal crackdown to snuff out the protests, with Amnesty International noting the unlawful firing of live ammunition and metal pellets by security forces.
Iran’s response to the nationwide demonstrations resulted in hundreds of men, women and children getting killed and thousands of others sustaining injuries of varying severities. The UN Human Rights Office said Iran is one of the countries with the highest death penalty figures.
Rights To Freedom Of Speech And Peaceful Assembly
Throssell said available information indicated that Zohrevand’s trial “lacked the basic requirements for due process under international human rights law.” She also highlighted “troubling reports” that the 22-year-old’s parents were arrested following his execution.
Additionally, the spokesperson also called on the Iranian government to stop using criminal procedures to punish people exercising their rights to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly. The country is believed to have executed at least 582 people in 2022.