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UN rights chief condemns Iran’s execution of child convicts

April 23, 2020 at 11:06 am

Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, addresses the United Nations General Assembly in New York [Twitter]

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet yesterday condemned Iran for executing two child offenders within four days.

Bachelet said in a statement that Shayan Saeedpour was executed in Saqez Prison in Kurdistan Province on Tuesday for a crime that he had allegedly committed when he was under 18 years old, following a judicial process that appears to have been deeply “flawed”.

According to the statement, last March Saeedpour was among 80 prisoners who attempted to escape from Saqez Prison after protesting against conditions there in light of the coronavirus outbreak before he was arrested again on 3 April.

The statement explained that prior to Saeedpour’s death, authorities had executed Majid Esmailzadeh in Ardabil Prison on 18 April for allegedly committing murder when he was under 18.

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On 2 April, officials in Miandoab Prison in West Azerbaijan Province beat a third child to death while in detention. Danial Zeinolabedini had protested against prison conditions amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the statement said, noting that he had been sentenced to death for a crime he had committed while under 18 years old.

Bachelet stressed in the statement that “the execution of these two child offenders are absolutely prohibited under international human rights law,” adding that “despite repeated interventions and engagement by my own Office with the Government of Iran on this issue, the sentencing and executions of child offenders continue”.

She reminded the Iranian authorities that the UN Human Rights Office had requested them to immediately conduct an independent and impartial investigation into Zeinolabedini’s death and hold those responsible to account.