Iran hangs a minor for murder, but official media claim he was 18
The 17-year-old (16 and nine months old at the time of the alleged crime) was executed last Friday at Sabzevar prison in violation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The teenager’s "forced" confession was broadcast on television. In Tehran, "women in chadors and men with cameras in hand" monitor headscarf compliance.
Tehran (AsiaNews) – Iran executed a 17-year-old male after he was sentenced to death for murder in a legally murky case.
According to human rights groups Hengaw and Iran Human Rights (IHR), Hamidreza Azari was a minor at the time of the crime as well as his execution, which took place last Friday by hanging at Sabzevar prison, Khorasan-e Razavi province in northeastern Iran, near the border with Turkmenistan.
Local witnesses report that the young man was only 16 when, last May, he allegedly killed a man in a brawl. For rights groups, his execution constitutes another human rights violation by the Islamic Republic as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child defines a child as anyone under the age of 18.
According to a source, Hamidreza Azari was born on 1 August 2006, so he was 16 years and nine months at the time of the crime attributed to him and for which he was sentenced to death.
What is more, his forced confession was later broadcast on pro-government TV channels and media, with his age given as 18.
This was a blatant lie designed to cover up the latest execution of an underage person, and a deliberate attempt to avoid accountability for violating international law that explicitly bans the use of the death penalty against juvenile offenders.
“Iran is one of the few countries that sentences children to death and executes more minors than any other country,” IHR said, adding that according to its data, at least 68 minors had been executed in Iran since 2010.
“In Iran, you have to be 18 years old to obtain a driver's licence, but you only need to be 15 years old to be executed,” IHR’s director, Mahmood-Amiry Moghaddam, said.
Excluding China, for which there are no official statistics, about 90 per cent of death sentences in the world are carried out by Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.
According to IHR, at least 684 people have been executed in Iran this year, mostly for drug trafficking and murder offences.
Last Thursday, a 20-year-old man was executed. He was the eighth person to be hanged in a case linked to the massive protest movement triggered by the case of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman who died in police custody in September last year.
Ordinary Iranians and activists report that Iranian authorities have tightened controls with respect to the compulsory headscarf for women, which was the reason Amini was stopped by the morality police.
More and more “women in chadors and men with cameras in hand" are seen at metro stations and other public spaces, including crowded squares, parks, and university campuses, to monitor women who fail to uphold the rule.
As protests gain traction on social media, some government media outlets have described hijab enforcers as "spontaneous groups of people who treat others with good manners and respect."
A government paper, Hamshahri, referred to the actions of hijab enforcers as "simple and kind reminders," adding that the latter operate "within the framework of the law."
However, many ordinary Iranians, especially female students, complain about the harsh treatment they receive.