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Iran Again Reportedly Postpones Execution Of Man Who Was Minor At Time Of Alleged Crime

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Arman Abdolali, now 25, was sentenced to death for murdering his girlfriend, who disappeared in 2014. She has never been found.

Iranian media reports say the planned execution of a man who was arrested for murder at the age of 17 has been postponed after international appeals for his life to be spared.

Arman Abdolali, now aged 25, was scheduled to be executed on October 16 for the alleged murder of his girlfriend, who went missing in 2014.

The body of the alleged murder victim has never been found.

Iran Human Rights (IHR) said Abdolali confessed to the murder at the time of his arrest, but later withdrew his confession.

Amnesty International has called his trial "grossly unfair" by a court that "relied on torture-tainted 'confessions.'"

Rights groups also say his execution would violate international conventions that Iran has signed that prohibit the execution of minors.

The postponement marks the second time within a week that Abdolali's execution has been delayed, according to Iranian media.

"Arman Abdolali's sentence which was to be carried out this morning...has been stopped again, and the young man was sent back to prison last night," the Etemad newspaper reported on its website, without elaborating.

The Hamshahri newspaper had said this week that the death sentence had been postponed until October 16, adding that Abdolali would "probably be executed soon."

Amnesty International says Abdolali was being held in solitary confinement at a prison in Karaj, west of Tehran, in preparation for his execution there.

"The Iranian authorities must immediately halt all plans to execute Arman Abdolali," Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International's deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement.

UN human rights experts also appealed to Iran to halt the execution.

"International human rights law unequivocally forbids imposition of the death sentence on anyone under 18 years of age," said the Geneva-based UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Iran has denied that its use of the death penalty for crimes committed as minors should be taken as a sign that it violates human rights.

Iran executed at least 246 people during 2020 -- retaining its place as the most prolific user of capital punishment in the region and the second worldwide after China, according to Amnesty International.

IHR, which monitors the use of the death penalty in Iran, said at least 64 juvenile offenders have been executed in Iran over the past 10 years.

In a sign of the international concern over the case, Germany's human rights commissioner, Baerbel Kofler, said carrying out the execution would be an "unacceptable breach of international law."

"Arman Abdolali was a minor at the time of the alleged crime. There is credible evidence that his confession was obtained under torture and that the conviction thus contradicts fundamental principles of the rule of law," she said in a statement released by the German Foreign Ministry.

With reporting by AFP
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