Iranian young man Hossein Shahbazi is facing imminent execution for a crime that took place when he was just 17 years old. Despite a global outcry in late June 2021 against his planned execution, the Iranian authorities re-scheduled it for July 25, 2021. Arman Abdolali, another young man convicted and sentenced to death for a crime that took place when he was 17 years old, is also at risk of imminent execution after being retried and sentenced to death for a second time. Their trials were marred by serious violations, including the use of torture-tainted “confessions”.
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Head of judiciary, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei
c/o Embassy of Iran to the European Union
Avenue Franklin Roosevelt No. 15,
1050 Bruxelles, Belgium
Dear Mr Mohseni Ejei,
, aged 20, is facing imminent execution in Adelabad prison in Shiraz, Fars province, on July 25, 2021 for a crime that took place when he was 17 years old. His execution, which was scheduled previously for March 1, 2021 and again June 28, 2021, was postponed twice following mounting international pressure. Prosecution and judicial authorities have rescheduled Hossein Shahbazi’s execution for a third time despite a pending request for retrial. Hossein Shahbazi was sentenced to death on January 13, 2020 following a grossly unfair trial before Branch 3 of Criminal Court One of Fars province, which convicted him of murder. He was convicted, in part, based on “confessions” that he said were obtained through torture and other ill-treatment at a detention centre run by the Investigation Unit of Iran’s police (Agahi). The court acknowledged in its written verdict that he was under 18 at the time of the crime, but stated that the Legal Medicine Organization of Iran, a state forensic institute, had found he had attained “mental growth and maturity” at the time of the crime, and that he, therefore, merited the death penalty as per Article 91 of the Islamic Penal Code. In June 2020, the Supreme Court upheld the verdict.
Another young man, Arman Abdolali
, aged 25, is also at risk of imminent execution in Raja’i Shahr prison in Karaj, Alborz province, for a crime that took place when he was 17 years old. He was first convicted of murder and sentenced to death in December 2015 following a grossly unfair, in which the court relied on torture-tainted “confessions”. The court stated that the circumstances of the crime indicated that he had attained maturity and, therefore, merited the death penalty. The Supreme Court upheld the verdict in July 2016. The trial and appeal verdicts both noted Arman Abdolali’s allegations that he was held in solitary confinement for 76 days and repeatedly beaten to “confess” but failed to order an investigation and proceeded to characterize the “confessions” as “unequivocal”. In February 2020, the Supreme Court granted Arman Abdolali a retrial, mostly based on “possible doubts” about his maturity. In September 2020, Criminal Court One of Tehran Province sentenced him to death again, maintaining that it was impossible to assess his maturity seven years after the crime and , therefore, “the prima facie presumption of full criminal responsibility” stands In February 2021, the Supreme Court upheld the verdict.
I ask you to immediately halt the executions of Hossein Shahbazi and Arman Abdolali. I call on you to quash their convictions and sentences and grant them fair retrials in full compliance with the principles of juvenile justice, excluding coerced “confessions” and without resorting to the death penalty. I also urge you to take immediate steps to completely abolish the use of the death penalty against child offenders, in line with Iran’s obligations under international law including the Convention on the Rights of the Child.