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Iran Urged To Halt Execution Of Man Arrested At 17, Sentenced In 'Grossly Unfair Trial'

Arman Abdolali (right) was first sentenced to death in December 2015 after being convicted of murdering his girlfriend, who disappeared in 2014.

Amnesty International is urging Iran to stop the execution planned for later this week of a man arrested at aged 17 and sentenced to death following a "grossly unfair" trial.

Arman Abdolali had been moved to solitary confinement in a prison in Karaj, west of Tehran, in preparation for his execution on October 13, the London-based human rights group said in a statement on October 11.

Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty's deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, called on the authorities to "immediately halt all plans" to execute Abdolali, saying the use of the death penalty against people who were under 18 at the time the crime was committed is prohibited under international law and constitutes an "abhorrent assault on child rights."

Abdolali was sentenced to death for murdering his girlfriend in January 2020 and in July 2021, but his execution was stopped both times after an international outcry, according to Amnesty International.

"Global action helped to stop Arman Abdolali's previously scheduled executions. We now urge the international community, including the UN and EU, to urgently intervene to save his life," Eltahawy said.

Abdolali's girlfriend disappeared in 2014, and her body has never been found.

He was first sentenced to death in December 2015 after being convicted of murder in "a grossly unfair trial" by a court that "relied on torture-tainted 'confessions,'" Amnesty International said.

The Supreme Court granted him a retrial in a case that largely focused on whether there were doubts about his "maturity" at the time of the crime.

At the retrial, the court ruled that his criminal responsibility stood in the absence of any evidence to determine his maturity so many years after the crime.

"Given these deeply flawed proceedings, Amnesty International is also calling on the Iranian authorities to quash Arman Abdolali's conviction and grant him a retrial in line with fair trial standards generally and those pertaining to children in particular," the group said.