LONDON: The United Nations Human Rights office has condemned Iran’s execution of a child offender as “appalling,” while questioning his access to fair judicial process throughout his trial.
Mohammad Hassan Rezaiee was executed early Thursday morning in Iran for an offence he allegedly committed when he was 16 years old.
Rezaiee, who spent 12 years behind bars before his execution was eventually carried out, is the fourth person Tehran has executed this year for crimes committed as a minor. The UN said 80 more child offenders remain on death row.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet “strongly condemns the killing of Mohammad Hassan Rezaiee,” a statement from her office said.
“The UN has repeatedly urged Iran to cease the appalling practice of executing child offenders,” it added.
Iran has long faced accusations from the UN and rights groups that detainees in Iran face torture, chronically unfair trials, and are regularly barred access to legal counsel and due process prior to sentencing, and Rezaiee’s experience of the Iranian judicial system was said to be no different.
“There are deeply troubling allegations that forced confessions extracted through torture were used in the conviction of Mr. Rezaiee, and there are numerous other serious concerns about violations of his fair trial rights,” the statement said.
Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, previously explained that Rezaiee was arrested in 2007 in connection with the fatal stabbing of a man in a fist fight, but that his trial was “grossly unfair.”
She said: “Authorities held him in prolonged solitary confinement, without access to his family and lawyer. They repeatedly tortured him to ‘confess,’ including by beating him with sticks, kicking and punching him, and whipping him with pipe hoses.”
The young man’s execution, the UN said, “takes place in the context of a series of recent executions in Iran. Between 19 and 26 December, at least eight individuals were executed in different prisons across the country. Unconfirmed reports suggest that at least eight other individuals are at risk of imminent execution.
“The High Commissioner urges Iranian authorities to halt all executions of child offenders.”