Iranian youth Hossein Shahbazi is at risk of imminent execution for a crime that took place when he was 17 years old. His trial was marred by serious violations, including the use of torture-tainted “confessions”. On November 24, 2021, the Iranian authorities executed Arman Abdolali for a crime that took place when he was 17 years old in violation of the absolute prohibition on the use of the death penalty against people under the age of 18 at the time of the offence.
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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,
Hossein Shahbazi, aged 20, is at risk of imminent execution in Adelabad prison in Shiraz, Fars province, after being sentenced to death for a crime that took place when he was 17 years old. His execution was scheduled for December 25, 2021 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 and despite a pending request for retrial. It was postponed following international actions, but may be carried out at any time. His execution had previously been scheduled on three other occasions for March 1, 2021, June 28, 2021 and July 25, 2021 and postponed each time following international pressure. Branch 3 of Criminal Court One of Fars province convicted Hossein Shahbazi of murder and sentenced him to death on January 13, 2020 following a grossly unfair trial. He was convicted, in part, on “confessions” that he said were obtained through torture at a detention centre run by the Investigation Unit of Iran’s police (Agahi). The court noted in its 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 therefore merited the death penalty under Article 91 of the Islamic Penal Code. In June 2020, the Supreme Court upheld the verdict. Hossein Shahbazi’s request for retrial, filed June 20, 2021, remains pending before the Supreme Court.
On November 24, 2021, Arman Abdolali, aged 25, was executed in Raja’i Shahr prison, Alborz province, for a crime that took place when he was a child in a grave violation of international law. Prior to his execution, the Iranian authorities postponed his scheduled execution five times between October 13 and November 21, 2021. Each time, he was transferred to solitary confinement and then returned to the general ward. Given that these transfers, which are repeated acts of cruelty, inflicted intensive anxiety and fear amounting to severe mental suffering on Arman Abdolali, and that they were intentional and part of the process of his punishment, Amnesty International believes that in his final weeks Arman Abdolali was subjected to torture under international law. At the time of his execution, Arman Abolali’s request for retrial to the Supreme Court, filed October 17, 2021, remained pending.
I ask you to immediately halt the execution of Hossein Shahbazi. I call on you to quash both his conviction and sentence and grant him a fair retrial 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, pending the full abolition of the death penalty and investigate the circumstances around Arman Abolali’s torture prior to his execution with a view to bringing those responsible to justice.