Human Rights

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UN Rapporteur: Iran Has Executed At Least 61 Children Since 2008 Defying Int’l Law

In an explosive report released last week, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Iran, Javaid Rehman, blasted the Islamic Republic for continuing to execute children in defiance of international law.

Records show that at least 61 children have been executed by the regime since 2008. Girls as young as 9-years-old can be sentenced to death in the Islamic Republic, while boys must have reached the age of 15 to receive the death penalty.

“At least six child offenders were executed in 2018. All were aged between 14 and 17 at the time of the alleged commission of the crime, and all were executed on the basis of qisas for the crime of murder,” said Rehman. “According to previous reports, 5 child offenders were executed in 2017, 5 in 2016, 7 in 2015 and 13 in 2014.” At least 85 children remain on death row.

In the year since the Special Rapporteur last reported to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), basic human rights in Iran have continued to deteriorate because of heightened domestic repression and economic mismanagement.

The withdrawal of the United States from the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran and the subsequent re-imposition of sanctions in November 2018 led to protests and strikes across the country, which the regime has brutally suppressed.

“The Special Rapporteur is disturbed by indications of an increasingly severe response to the protests, amidst patterns of violations of the right to life, the right to liberty and the right to a fair trial,” the report said.

“An increasing number of human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists, and labor activists are being arrested or harassed. The Head of the Judiciary publicly described the protests as ‘sedition’ aimed at ‘dragging people to the streets to target the very foundation of the Islamic Republic,’” the report noted further.

Women’s rights activists have long been targeted by the mullah regime due to their participation in a series of protests against compulsory hijab laws. The Times of London reported Wednesday that one of Iran’s best-known lawyers has been convicted on a range of charges after defending women who refused to adhere to the country’s draconian dress code. Both Nasrin Sotoudeh and her husband Reza Khandan were sentenced to lengthy prison terms without receiving either the charges for which they were found guilty or the sentence in writing.

In the report, the Special Rapporteur also highlighted the plight of foreign nationals illegally detained by the Islamic Republic as political bargaining chips for their negotiations with the West. As of December 2018, 30 dual nationals and foreign nationals remained in detention in Iran, including British-Iranian Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who was first arrested in 2016 and faces trumped-up espionage charges related to her work at the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“The Government has introduced some measures aimed at addressing economic challenges, but the arrests of lawyers, human rights defenders and labor activists signal an increasingly severe State response,” the report concluded.

[Photo: Global Panorama / Flickr ]