Backlash in Iran over juvenile executions

Harriet Sinclair has written an article for the International Business Times about the backlash Iran is facing because of the disturbingly high rate of juvenile executions. Although international charities and organisations have managed to raise awareness of the issue to a certain degree, it appears that disapproval inside Iran is increasing. Sinclair states that, according to recent Amnesty International reports, over 70 juveniles have been executed in the last ten years and the number of young people on death row is rising.

Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme, speaking about the report on juvenile executions, said that Iran’s “shameful disregard for the rights of children” is evident. He said that Iran is “one of the few countries that continues to execute juvenile offenders in blatant violation of the absolute legal prohibition on the use of the death penalty against people under the age of 18 years at the time of the crime”.

Even though there have been some reforms in juvenile justice, Iran is still behind the rest of the world in this area. Iran still has laws that allow nine year old girls and 15 year old boys to be executed. Iran is the “world record holder on executions per capita”, but more worryingly it is the “world record holder on execution of juveniles”, said Shahin Gobadi, from the foreign affairs committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).

He highlighted that hundreds of minors, many of whom were activists of the PMOI (People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran), were executed during the 1980s because of their involvement in political activities. What the regime does now is arrest juveniles, imprison them, sentence them to death and execute them when they turn 18. At present there are dozens of young people on death row.

Following the release of the report about the rise in executions, a social media backlash is being witnessed in Iran against juvenile capital punishment.