16 October 2015 – United Nations human rights experts today expressed their outrage and profound sadness at the execution of a juvenile offender convicted for the death of her husband, whom she had been forced to marry at the age of 16, and which follows the death of a young man last week, who’d been sentenced to death at age 17.
“These executions are disturbing examples of surging execution rates and questionable fair trial standards in the Islamic Republic of Iran,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, in a news release.
“The Iranian authorities must comply with its international law obligations and put an end to the execution of juvenile offenders once and for all.”
The young woman, Fatemeh Salbehi, was hanged on Tuesday “in breach of international law banning juvenile executions, and despite reported flaws in her trial and appeal process,” the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) warned. She is reportedly the 11th woman to be executed so far this year in Iran, where at least 700 other people have been executed.
A week earlier, OHCHR reported that Samad Zahabi was executed in secret in Iran. No notice was provided to his family, nor was the required 48 hour notice provided to his lawyer, the UN said. He was sentenced to death in March 2013 for the killing of a fellow shepherd, when he was 17-years-old.
“Let us be clear – these are unlawful killings committed by the State, the equivalent of murders performed by individuals,” stated the UN Special Rapporteur on summary executions, Christof Heyns.
“These are profound tragedies that demean the value of human life and sully the reputation of the country,” he added, noting that executing a juvenile offender, “especially after a questionable trial,” directly contravenes the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Iran is a party.
“Iran must immediately stop killing children,” he insisted.
Meanwhile, the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, Dubravka Šimonoviæ, said “the lack of judicial consideration for Ms. Salbehi’s circumstances is emblematic of the struggles victims of domestic abuse face in the judicial system.”
“We cannot ignore the serious consequences of psychological, sexual and physical violence in the home on a woman’s physical and psychological health,” she cautioned.
While highlighting Ms. Salbehi’s young age at the times of her marriages and her lack of consent, Ms. Šimonoviæ also expressed concern for the high numbers of early and forced marriages in Iran.
Finally, the UN human rights experts strongly urged the Iranian Government to immediately establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty.