Good News From Iran: Death Sentence Overturned


A man sentenced to death for an offence when he was a child has had his sentence overturned by the Iranian Supreme Court after 18 years on death row. Mohammad Reza Haddadi was 15 years old when he was arrested in 2002 on charges of committing murder while stealing a car. Although he initially pleaded guilty he later explained that his two co-defendants had coerced him by promising him money to take the rap for the murder telling him that he would not receive the death penalty as he was underage. Iran is one of the few countries in the world that still uses the death sentence against minors even though it is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which prohibits the use of the death sentence for crimes committed by anyone under the age of 18. However, in Sharia law, the “age of criminal responsibility” for children is defined as the age of maturity, which means that females over 9 lunar years of age and boys over 15 lunar years of age are both eligible for execution if convicted of “crimes against God” (such as apostasy) or “retribution crimes” (such as murder).

The law grants judges the discretion to replace the death penalty with an alternative sentence if they find that there are doubts about the individual’s comprehension of the nature of the crime or consequences, or their full “mental growth and maturity” at the time of the crime. International human rights organizations say Iran is responsible for more than 70% of all juveniles executed in the last 30 years with at least 63 in the last decade, including at least six in 2018 and four in 2019. Given the security state, suppression of civil society activists, and limited interaction with detainees, the number of juvenile executions is likely to be significantly greater than reported.

In 2020 Iran carried out at least 246 executions with 194 were for murder; 23 for drug-related offences; 12 for rape; four for “armed insurrection against the state”; five for “enmity against God”; two for espionage; one for “spreading corruption on earth” and one for drinking alcohol. One execution was carried out in public and nine women were executed. Hanging and shooting were the methods of execution. The Islamic Penal Code continued to provide for execution by stoning, for some consensual same-sex sexual conduct and extramarital sexual relations. The death penalty was increasingly used as a weapon of political repression against dissidents, protesters and members of ethnic minority groups.

Repost from Amnesty

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe


BBC programme about Nazanin

Members of the group and supporters will know that we have campaigned over the years on behalf of Nazanin who remains trapped in Iran. The last post we did can be accessed here. The main reason is the issue surrounding the tank deal we arranged with the Shah before he was deposed. Iran paid up front for these and after he was deposed the contract was cancelled and the new regime wanted its money back. Nazanin is effectively a hostage for this money.

At 13:45, after the World at One on Radio 4 (BBC) there is a fifteen minute programme each day on the background to this tragedy. You will be able to hear it via BBC Sounds in the usual way.

Iran: execution


Iran is one of the world’s major countries for executing its citizens often after inadequate trials and the use of torture. We learned today that the execution has taken place in Iran of Arman Abdolali.  This is the young man for whom Amnesty have campaigned recently.  Now aged 25, he was sentenced to death as a child following his conviction for murder in a trial that was grossly unfair and included confessions obtained through torture.  International condemnation led to his execution being halted twice – most recently on 16th October – but he has now been executed under the ‘qisas’ laws allowing the victim’s family to request ‘an eye for an eye’ justice.

Help stop an execution in Iran


Arman Abdolali was due to be executed today but it has now been scheduled for Saturday. We ask that you spend a few moments to send a message to the Iranian Embassy to ask them not to do this. Full details are in the link below.

Arman was just 17 when he was arrested. He was held in solitary confinement and beaten regularly, before “confessing”. He says this “confessions” was obtained under torture and there are serious concerns about his trial. 
 

Take action by calling on the Iranian Embassy in the UK to ensure the execution on Saturday does not go ahead. 

http://email.amnestyuk.org.uk/q/11mqIvSAxHoACoGGucijZqv/wv

Juvenile hanged in Iran


Sajad Sanjari, 26, was hanged at dawn on Monday with his family only informed afterwards and told to collect his body

The Iranian authorities have secretly executed a young man who was a child at the time of his arrest and had spent nearly a decade on death row, Amnesty International has learned.  Sajad Sanjari, 26, was hanged in Dizelabad prison in Kermanshah province at dawn on Monday (2 August), but his family were not told until a prison official asked them to collect his body later that day.  

In August 2010, Sanjari, then 15, was arrested over the fatal stabbing of a man he said had tried to rape him, claiming he had acted in self-defence. At his trial, the court rejected Sanjari’s self-defence claim after several witnesses attested to the deceased’s good character. He was convicted and sentenced to death in January 2012. 

The conviction and death sentence were initially rejected by Iran’s Supreme Court in December 2012, due to various flaws in the investigation process, but were eventually upheld in February 2014. 

In June 2015, Sanjari was granted a retrial after new juvenile sentencing guidelines were introduced which granted judges discretion to replace the death penalty with an alternative punishment if they determined that a child offender had not understood the nature of the crime or its consequences, or if there were doubts about their “mental growth and maturity”. However, a criminal court in Kermanshah province re-resentenced Sanjari to death on 21 November that year after concluding, without explanation, that he had attained “maturity” at the time of the crime. 

The court did not refer Sanjari to the Legal Medicine Organisation of Iran – a state forensic institute – for an assessment, and dismissed an opinion of an official court advisor with expertise in child psychology that Sanjari had not attained maturity at the time of the crime. During his first trial, the court had found that Sanjari had reached “maturity” at 15 on the basis of his “pubic hair development”.

Sanajri’s death sentence was subsequently upheld by the Supreme Court and a later request for a retrial was denied. In January 2017, the Iranian authorities halted Sanjari’s scheduled execution, following an international outcry

Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International’s Middle East Deputy Director, said: 

“With the secret execution of Sajad Sanjari, the Iranian authorities have yet again demonstrated the utter cruelty of their juvenile justice system. 

“The use of the death penalty against people who were under 18 at the time of the crime is absolutely prohibited under international law, and constitutes a cruel assault on child rights.

“The fact that Sajad Sanjari was executed in secret, denying him and his family even the chance to say goodbye, consolidates an alarming pattern of the Iranian authorities carrying out executions in secret or at short notice to minimise the chances of public and private interventions to save people’s lives. 

“We urge the Iranian authorities to put an end to these abhorrent violations of the right to life and children’s rights by amending the penal code to ban the use of the death penalty against anyone who was under 18 at the time of the crime.” 

Two others arrested as children at risk of execution

Two other young men – Hossein Shahbazi and Arman Abdolali – sentenced to death for crimes that took place when they were 17 are currently at imminent risk of execution. Their trials were marred by serious violations, including the use of torture-tainted “confessions”. Shahbazi’s execution was scheduled for 25 July 2021 but postponed at the last minute following an international outcry. His execution could be rescheduled at any moment.

Amnesty has identified more than 80 individuals across Iran who are currently on death row for crimes that took place when they were children. In 2020, Amnesty recorded the executions of at least three people convicted for crimes that took place when they were under 18, making Iran the only country in the world to carry out such executions. Since January 2005, Amnesty has recorded the executions of at least 95 individuals who were under 18 years of age at the time of the crimes of which they had been convicted. The real numbers of those at risk and executed are likely to be higher. 

According to Iranian law, in cases of murder and certain other capital crimes, boys aged above 15 lunar years and girls aged above nine lunar years may be held as culpable as adults and can, therefore, be punished with the death penalty. As a state party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Iran is legally obliged to treat anyone under the age of 18 as a child and ensure that they are never subjected to the death penalty or life imprisonment. 

Source: Amnesty International

Urgent Action: Iran


This is an urgent action on behalf of Jamshid Sharmahd, a German/Iranian who is at risk of execution following a grossly unfair trial. He has been arbitrarily held for around 8 months and has no access to an independent lawyer. There are fears that he is not receiving adequate health care.

If you can spare time to write that would be appreciated.

https://www.amnesty.org.uk/tags/death-penalty

Urgent Action: Iran


Two prisoners at risk of execution in Iran

Death row prisoners from Iran’s Baluchi ethnic minority, Hamed Rigi and Mehran Naru’i, are at risk of execution. They have been subjected to serious human rights violations including enforced disappearance and torture and other ill-treatment to extract “confessions” used to convict and sentence them to death in unfair trials.

Since mid-December 2020, the Iranian authorities have executed 18 Baluchi men, raising fears that Hamed Rigi and Mehran Naru’i may be executed imminently.

Fuller details and a model form of words can be found here and we hope you can find time to write.


Members of the Salisbury group might like to know we hope to hold a Zoom meeting on 11 March in the evening.

Urgent Action: Iran


Iranian-Swedish academic at risk of imminent execution for the crime of ‘corruption on earth’

We have received the urgent action concerning Ahmadreza Djalili who is at risk of execution in Tehran.  He suffered a grossly unfair trial based on confessions obtained using torture and other ill-treatment.  If you have time, please write – the details can be found on the attached link. Thank you.

Urgent action details

Nazanin Ratcliffe


We have received the following post concerning the continuing imprisonment of Nazanin from our local MP:

Thank you for contacting me about Nazanin-Zaghari Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori.

Please be assured that the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office continues to work hard to assist British nationals detained in Iran.  This must be an incredibly distressing time for Nazanin and Anoosheh and their families.  Like you, I want to see them both released immediately.

I am told that the UK Embassy in Tehran continues to request consular access to Mr Ashoori and has been supporting his family.  The UK regularly calls on Iran to release all British-Iranian nationals arbitrarily detained, including Mr Ashoori.

I recognise that Nazanin’s ongoing furlough does not represent the real objective of securing Nazanin’s permanent release.  However, I have been assured that the UK’s lobbying efforts remain focused on getting Nazanin home.  It is completely unacceptable that Iran has brought new charges against Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe and she must not be returned to prison.

Iran must know the strength of the UK’s convictions regarding this, so it is encouraging that on 29 October, the Iranian Ambassador was summoned to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.  It was made clear to the Iranian ambassador that his country’s treatment of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is unjustified and unacceptable, and is causing an enormous amount of distress.

The UK continues to call on Iran to live up to its responsibilities under international human rights law and the Vienna convention and release dual nationals. Cases continue to be raised at the most senior levels, and discussed at every opportunity with Iranian counterparts.

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