Dizelabad Prison Authorities Execute Juvenile Offender Sajad Sanjari Without Notifying Family

At dawn on Monday, August 2, Sajad Sanjari was executed in Dizelabad Prison in Kermanshah. His family was not notified or allowed to visit him before the execution.

According HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Amnesty International, Sanjari was arrested in 2010 at the age of 15 on murder charges and sentenced to death.

Diana Eltahawy, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International, stated, “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.”

In December 2016, the spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights called on the authorities of the Islamic Republic to suspend the execution of Sajad Sanjari, a juvenile accused of murder.

Iran ranks first in the world in citizen executions per capita, according to international organizations. The Statistics and Publication Center of the Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRA) reported that between January 1 and December 20 of 2020, at least 236 citizens were executed.

One of these citizens was executed publicly, and two were juvenile offenders. An additional 95 citizens were sentenced to death. According to the same report, more than 72% of executions in Iran are not reported by the government or the judiciary, which human rights organizations call “secret” executions.

Recently, in an interview with Agence France-Presse, Secretary of the state-run High Council for Human Rights, Majid Tafreshi, said that the Islamic Republic executes juvenile offenders “three to four times a year”, and claimed this should not be considered a human rights violation.

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