Iranian young man Arman Abdolali is facing imminent execution for a crime that took place when he was 17 years old. After global outcries, Iranian authorities postponed his execution three times in October 2021. He learned on October 20, 2021, his execution is to be carried out within a week. Hossein Shahbazi, another young man convicted and sentenced to death for a crime that took place when he was aged 17, also remains at risk of imminent execution after his scheduled July 25, 2021, execution was postponed following international actions. 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 Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei,
Arman Abdolali, now aged 25, is facing imminent execution in Raja’i Shahr prison in Karaj, Alborz province, for a crime that took place when he was 17 years old. On October 17, 2021, he was transferred to solitary confinement in preparation for his execution on October 20, 2021. Following a global outcry, on October 19, 2021 Iranian authorities postponed Arman Abdolali’s execution and transferred him back to the general ward. He has since learned that his execution would be carried out within one week, which would be about October 27, 2021. His most recent request for retrial to the Supreme Court, filed October 17, 2021, remains pending. Arman Abdolali was previously scheduled for execution on October 13 and October 16, 2021, as well as in July 2021 and January 2020, in violation of Iran’s obligations under international law not to use the death penalty against people who were under 18 at the time of the crime. Arman Abdolali was first convicted of murder and sentenced to death in December 2015 following a grossly unfair trial, in which the court relied on torture-tainted “confessions”. The court also stated that the circumstances of the crime indicated that he had attained “maturity” and, therefore, merited the death penalty as per Article 91 of the Islamic Penal Code. The Supreme Court upheld the conviction and sentence in July 2016. The trial and appeal verdicts noted Arman Abdolali’s claims that he was held in solitary confinement for 76 days, repeatedly beaten to “confess” and denied his inhaler but failed to order an investigation. In February 2020, the Supreme Court granted Arman Abdolali a retrial mostly based on possible doubts over his “maturity”, and in September 2020 Criminal Court One of Tehran Province sentenced him to death again despite acknowledging that it was impossible to assess his “maturity” seven years after the crime.
Hossein Shahbazi, aged 20, is also at risk of imminent execution in Adelabad prison in Shiraz, Fars province, after being sentenced to death in a grossly unfair trial for a crime committed when he was 17 years old. His execution was scheduled for July 25, 2021 and postponed following an international outcry. Hossein Shahbazi’s request for retrial, filed June 20, 2021, remains pending before the Supreme Court.
I ask you to immediately halt the execution of Arman Abdolali and Hossein Shahbazi. I call on you to quash both their convictions and sentences and grant them fair retrials in full compliance with international law and the principles of child 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.