Today the Iran regime executed 11 young people including one juvenile in Gohardasht (Rajai-Shahr) Prison in Karaj, north-west of Tehran. Yesterday five other prisoners were executed by the regime. Mehdi Rajai, the youngest victim identified, would have been 16 at the time of his initial arrest.
In response to these atrocities, The Media Express reported today that the Italian Human Rights organisation, Hands Off Cain, had said that they condemn all executions of juvenile offenders. Hands Off Cain representative Elisabetta Zamparutti, also a former Italian MP, stated:
“The alarming use of the death penalty applied to minors is in open violation of international accords and conventions ratified by Iran, and this continues to define the Mullahs’ regime, regardless of the so-called ‘moderate’ and ‘smiling’ Presidency of Rouhani. These executions show the bloody face of a regime which oppresses daily Iranian citizens.”
In contacting the United Nations’ Iran Desk, a representative there pointed The Media Express to a previous statement on executions in Iran, including the executions of juveniles. Similarly, she highlighted a recent report by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, which deals extensively with the very serious issue of juvenile execution.
Among the brutal executions, two prisoners, named Hadi Shekaste and Moslem Mahmoud Zehi Khash, were executed in Adel Abad prison, Shira. Three others were executed in Karaj’s Qezelhesar Prison, one identified as Ruhollah Roshangar, a married father of two.
Of the young people executed, eight of the 11 victims have been identified including Mohsen Agha-Mohammadi, Asghar Azizi, Farhad Bakhshayesh, Iman Fatemi-Pour, Javad Khorsandi, Hossein Mohammadi, Masoud Raghadi, and Khosrow Robat-Dasti.
Le Comité de Soutien aux Droits de l’Homme en Iran (CSDHI), the Support Committee for Human Rights in Iran also reacted, releasing a statement to The Media Express stating:
“On the execution of collective youth, the CSDHI strongly condemns such barbaric punishments and systematic killing of Iranian youth. The criminal and fundamentalist mullah regime, on Wednesday morning, hung in mass 11 prisoners aged 22 to 25 years and at least one was a minor at the time. This mass execution took place at dawn on the 25th May in the notorious Gohardasht prison (Rajai Shahr) in Karaj, northwest of Tehran.”
However, as outlined in the Iranian regime’s 2013 Islamic Penal Code, the judicial system has the right to examine and prosecute juveniles. Upon reaching their 18th birthday, if believed to have reached so-called “mental maturity”, the system is able to condemn them to death.
This sharp spike in the rate of executions also comes at a time when Iran’s prisons have been stretched beyond their capacity, Brig. Gen. Hossein Ashtari claimed in comments to the clerical regime’s newly installed Majlis (parliament).
Earlier in May, Amnesty reported on the imminent execution of 19 year old Alireza Tajiki, who was 15 years old at the time of his arrest. The organisation’s Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa (NOMA) region has stated that the regime relies on evidence obtained from torture in order to find “proof” of guilt.
When contacted by The Media Express, Amnesty International said that it was not yet in a position to verify these details, but pointed to its position on the use of the death penalty:
“Our organisation opposes the death penalty in all circumstances and at all times – regardless of who is accused, the nature of the crime, guilt or innocence or method of execution. International Human Rights law strictly prohibits the use of the death penalty against persons who are below 18 years of age at the time of the crime.”
Concluding her conversation with The Media Express today, Hands Off Cain representative, Ms. Zamparutti said:
“In the name of peace and international security – against the threat of nuclear war and terrorism – Iran is considered as a ‘stabilizing force’, also by Western countries. Yet, the most grievous matter here is how this regime has received international legitimacy while internally conducting an ongoing war and daily reign of terror and insecurity against its own people.”
Moreover, WHRIA, association with status at the United Nations, released a statement to The Media Express commenting more generally on the matter of Human Rights’ violations by the mullahs regime, saying:
“The situation of human rights in Iran has worsened since the beginning of the Iranian New Year. [There are] widespread killings and detentions…the situation of Human Rights in Iran is not changing.”