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Iran 'Secretly' Executes Man Arrested At Age Of 15 In 'Cruel Assault' On Child Rights

Nooses are prepared ahead of a public hanging in Iran, which is one of the world's leading executioners. (file photo)

Amnesty International says Iran this week executed a man who was 15 at the time of his arrest over a fatal stabbing and spent nearly a decade on death row.

In a statement released on August 4, the London-based rights group said Sajad Sanjari was hanged on August 2 in Dizelabad prison in the western province of Kermanshah.

His family learned of Sanjari’s hanging only after a prison official told them to collect the body, Amnesty said.

"With the secret execution of Sajad Sanjari, the Iranian authorities have yet again demonstrated the utter cruelty of their juvenile justice system," said Diana Eltahawy, deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

"The use of the death penalty against people who were under 18 at the time of the crime is absolutely prohibited under international law, and constitutes a cruel assault on child rights," she added.

In August 2010, police arrested Sanjari, who was then 15, over the fatal stabbing of a man.

Sanjari said the man had tried to rape him and claimed he had acted in self-defense.

But in 2012 he was convicted of murder and sentenced to death, Amnesty said.

The conviction and death sentence were initially rejected by the Supreme Court in December 2012 over flaws in the investigation process before being upheld in 2014.

Amnesty International has identified more than 80 individuals across Iran who are currently on death row for crimes that took place when they were children.

The rights group said two other convicted juvenile offenders identified as Hossein Shahbazi and Aman Abdolali are currently at risk of imminent execution. The two were arrested and sentenced to death for crimes committed when they were 17.

Amnesty International said it has recorded the executions of at least 95 youth offenders since January 2005.

Iran is among a handful of countries that execute juvenile offenders.

Rights groups have called on Iranian authorities to urgently amend Article 91 of its 2013 Islamic Penal Code to abolish the death penalty for crimes committed by people under 18 in line with Tehran's international obligations.

Iran is one of the world's leading executioners.

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