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UN Experts Urge Iran To Halt ‘Arbitrary' Execution Of Juvenile Offender


An Iranian woman cries at the scene of a public execution in Iran.

Two UN rights experts have called on Iranian authorities to halt the planned execution of a man convicted of killing his teacher at the age of 15.

In a June 19 statement, the experts cited reports suggesting that Mohammad Kalhori will be executed shortly after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which ended last week.

"Iran has committed itself to prohibiting the use of the death penalty for all those under 18 by its ratification of both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child," said Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions, and Renate Winter, who heads the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

"As such, this execution is unlawful and arbitrary," they added.

Callamard and Winter also noted that in 2013, Iran amended its Penal Code to allow judges to pronounce alternative sentences for juvenile offenders if there was any uncertainty about their "mental development" at the time of the crime, or if they did not fully realize the nature of the crime committed.

They pointed out that Iran's state forensic experts concluded that Kalhori, who was convicted of killing his teacher at the age of 15, was not mentally mature at the time of the crime.

A court initially sentenced Kalhori to prison and a fine, but the Supreme Court overturned the verdict and he was sentenced to death during a retrial, the experts said

"Notwithstanding the clear prohibition of the application of the death penalty for those under the age of 18, this case demonstrates flagrant disregard for the amendment to the Penal Code itself," Callamard and Winter said.

The UN experts issued their "urgent appeal" a day after the United States and human rights watchdogs condemned Iran's execution of a man who was convicted of killing three police officers.

Iran is one of the world's leading executioners. Amnesty International said in April that 507 people were executed in the country last year, including at least five juvenile offenders.

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