Juvenile Offenders Hossein Shahbazi and Arman Abdol Ali at Urgent Risk of Execution as Amnesty International Calls for Suspension of their Sentences

Amnesty International has issued a statement calling on Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, the head of the judiciary of Iran, to suspend the death sentences of juvenile offenders Hossein Shahbazi and Arman Abdol Ali.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Tasnim, Hossein Shahbazi was arrested on charges of murder in December 2018 when he was less than 18 years old and was sentenced to death a year later by a criminal court in Fars Province. The verdict was approved by the Supreme Court. Shahbazi is being held in Adelabad Prison in Shiraz.

Arman Abdol Ali was previously sentenced to death by the Tehran Criminal Court for murder and the sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court. The lawyer of the victim’s parents announced that the case of Arman Abdol Ali is being sent to the Judgment Execution Unit of the Tehran Criminal Court.

The death sentence of Arman Abdol Ali, which was originally scheduled to be carried out in January 2017, was stopped after the parents of the victim gave Arman a month to respond to the suspicions in this case.

Arman Abdol Ali has been accused of killing his girlfriend Ghazaleh Shakur in 2013 when he was less than 18 years old.

According to the HRANA annual report for the year 2020, at least 4 juvenile offenders were executed in Iran last year, and 2 other juvenile offenders have been sentenced to death.

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.

Three Inmates Including a Juvenile Offender Executed in Urmia Prison Despite Pleas from Amnesty International

At dawn on Sunday, July 4, three prisoners, one of whom was a juvenile offender, were executed in Urmia Prison despite Amnesty International’s pleas for the execution to be halted.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, the three prisoners, who had previously been sentenced to death for murder, were transferred to solitary confinement the day before the sentence was carried out.

HRANA has confirmed the identities of the three prisoners as juvenile offender Baha-al-din Ghasemzadeh, Baha-al-din’s brother, Davood Ghasemzadeh, a native of the Salmas, and  Anwar Abdollahi, a native of Mahabad City in West Azerbaijan Province.

HRANA previously reported on the deteriorating physical condition of the two imprisoned brothers in June of 2018. The Gasemzadeh brothers were executed this Sunday even though Baha al-din was a child at the time of his arrest, and Davood had severe spinal cord injuries from beatings sustained during his detention.

Recently, in an interview with Agence France-Presse, Secretary of the state-run High Council for Human Rights, MajidTafreshi, 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.

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 1st and December 20th 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.

“Iranian authorities must immediately stop the execution of Baha al-din Ghasemzadeh,” Amnesty International tweeted the day before the execution took place.  “The imposition of the death penalty on those who were children at the time of the crime is a gross violation of Iran’s international rights and obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.”

The Execution of a Juvenile Offender Was Postponed for a Month

Arman Abdolaali was arrested in 2013 on the charge of murdering his girlfriend, Ghazaleh Shakour, in 2013 when he was under 18 years old. During the interrogation process, he confessed murdering Ghazaleh Shakour and said that “I was in love with her and proposed to her, but she refused to marry me, so I pushed her, and she was killed”. But afterward, he denies his confession and claims that he has not killed her. While the body of Ghazaleh Shakour was never found, the court sentenced Arman to death. His case was transferred to the Supreme Court of Iran and later to the Appeals Court but finally, after six years, his death sentence is confirmed.

On December 31, 2019, Amnesty International requested the Iranian Officials to refrain from executing Arman Abdolaali since he was a minor at the time of committing the crime. He is 24 years old now. According to Amnesty International, he was a child at the time of his arrest and his execution is an obvious violation of international laws. The court has claimed that while the convict was a minor at the time of committing the crime, but “he was fully aware of his wrongdoing”. He was transferred to a solitary confinement cell in Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj to prepare for execution on the charge of “murder” but according to his attorney, Hossein Shamlou Ahmadi, the family of Ghazaleh Shakour has granted Arman Abdolaali a month to clarify some details regarding this case and thus, his execution is postponed.

In 2019, the Iranian authorities issued the death penalty sentence to 108 individuals and have already carried out 248 executions including 13 execution in public. In addition, 4 juvenile offenders have also been executed in 2019 who were under the age of 18 at the time of committing the crime. Secret executions of prisoners reported by the independent sources and the human rights association indicate that 75% of executions are carried out in secret or without any public notice.

A juvenile offender was saved from execution in Faryab

A juvenile offender who was arrested with a murder charge at the age of 16, was spared from gallows with consent of the next of kin after spending five years in prison in the city of Faryab. He was released on July 15, 2019 with the intervention of the judicial authorities and elders of the city. He murdered a young boy in a fight after losing the control over his anger in 2014.

The head of justice department of this city added that due to convict’s regret, his good behavior in Jiroft Prison, not having a criminal record, and being 16 year old at the time of crime, the justice department intervene to get the victim’s family consent to save him from execution.

Faryab is in Kerman province.