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Amnesty Decries Iran's Planned Execution Of Man Arrested As Teenager

A 2016 protest in Brussels against the death penalty in Iran

A human rights watchdog has called for the immediate cancellation of the scheduled execution of an Iranian man who was a minor at the time of his alleged crime.

"The planned execution on Wednesday morning (August 16) of Mehdi Bohlouli, who was only a child at the time of the crime, just days after the hanging of another man arrested as a child, is a sickening act of cruelty that must be stopped immediately," Amnesty International said in an August 15 statement.

Bohlouli was sentenced to death in 2001, when he was 17, after being convicted of murder for what the authorities said was the fatal stabbing of a man during a fight.

He has already been scheduled for execution on three different occasions -- the last time in April, when a postponement was announced the day before the scheduled date for execution, Amnesty said.

Amnesty's appeal comes less than a week after Iran on August 10 executed 21-year-old Alireza Tajiki, who was arrested at age 15. He had been convicted of murder and forced male-male intercourse, Amnesty said at the time.

Under Iranian law, murder, rape, sodomy, and armed robbery are punishable by death.

Iran introduced "piecemeal reforms" in 2013 amid criticism over the execution of juvenile offenders but has "continued to condemn dozens of young people to death for crimes committed when they were under 18, in violation of [its] international human rights obligations," Amnesty said.

Since the beginning of this year, Iran has executed at least four individuals who were under the age of 18 at the time of their crimes.

The rights group's statement said that as of this month, Amnesty has identified at least 89 people on death row who were under 18 when the crimes were committed.

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