UN human rights officials urge Iran to spare life of juvenile murderer

UN human rights officials urge Iran to spare life of juvenile murderer

gavel file 1a
File photo of a gavel. (Photo: AFP)

GENEVA: United Nations human rights experts called on Iran to spare the life of a man, due to be executed on Thursday (Jan 4), who was convicted of raping and killing a child when he was a juvenile.

Amirhossein Pourjafar was 16 when he was sentenced to death in September 2016 after being convicted of the rape and murder of a seven-year-old girl, according to the joint statement by UN special rapporteur on human rights in Iran Asma Jahangir and UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Agnes Callamard on Wednesday.

The court said he had attained “mental maturity” at the time of the crime, a year before his sentencing, and had understood the nature and consequences of his actions, they added.

He is among more than 80 youths known to be on death row in the Islamic Republic.

Pourjafar, believed to be held at a prison in the city of Karaj, was already scheduled to be executed in October 2017 when the experts made a previous 11th-hour appeal. He turned 18 last month according to the Western calendar, a UN official said.

"He is due to be executed on Thursday, Jan 4 in direct contravention of international standards on the use of the death penalty", said the joint statement by Jahangir and Callamard.

"The Iranian authorities must immediately halt the execution of this juvenile offender and annul the death sentence against him in compliance with their international obligations."

Iran has signed an international treaty strictly banning the execution of people who commit crimes under the age of 18.

Source: Reuters/CNA/mz