UN urges Iran to stop executions of juveniles on death row

UN human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al-Hussein
Updated 17 February 2018
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UN urges Iran to stop executions of juveniles on death row

GENEVA: The top UN human rights official has called on Iran to halt executions of young people convicted of carrying out crimes when they were under the age of 18.
In a “surge” in January, three people were executed for murders committed at 15 or 16, while some of the 80 juvenile offenders on death row are in danger of “imminent execution,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al-Hussein said.
“The execution of juvenile offenders is unequivocally prohibited under international law, regardless of the circumstances and nature of the crime committed,” the official said in a statement.
There was no immediate reaction from authorities in Iran, which has signed an international treaty strictly banning the execution of people who commit crimes under the age of 18.
In 2017, Iran is known to have executed five juvenile offenders, the UN statement said.
“I am sad to say that Iran violates this absolute prohibition under international human rights law far more often than any other state,” the official said, decrying the practice that has gone on for decades.
Among the latest criminals executed was Mahboubeh Mofidi, 20, who was convicted of killing her husband when she was 16, three years after their marriage, the statement said.
A fourth juvenile offender, believed to have been on the point of being executed on Wednesday, has reportedly received a temporary reprieve of two months, it said.
“There are appeal processes, but sometimes it’s rather opaque as to exactly what's happening,” UN human rights spokesman Rupert Colville told a news briefing.
“Often you do get these kind of negotiations going on between the family of the convicted person and the family of the victim in murder cases,” he said, referring to “diyah” or blood money paid to halt an execution.
On Jan. 3, independent UN human rights experts called on Iran to spare the life of Amir Hossein Pourjafar, who was convicted of raping and killing a child when he was 15. He is among the three listed in Al-Hussein statement as having been executed so far this year.
Al-Hussein welcomed a bill passed in Oct. 2017 under which some drug offences previously punishable by the death penalty were now subject to a prison term, but said that the mandatory death sentence has been retained for a wide range of drug-related offences.


US voices concern for Baha’i facing death from Houthis

Updated 1 min 8 sec ago
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US voices concern for Baha’i facing death from Houthis

  • A Houthi court sentenced Hamed bin Haydara to death on “absurd” allegations
  • The United States urged Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi militia to end the mistreatment of members of the Baha’i faith

WASHINGTON: The United States urged Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi militia to end the mistreatment of members of the Baha’i faith, as Houthi court sentenced believer to death on “absurd” allegations.
The Baha’i community said that Hamed bin Haydara, who has been detained since 2013, will face an appeal hearing on Tuesday in the Houthi-controlled capital Sanaa.
The US State Department said it was “deeply concerned” that the Houthis have targeted dozens of Baha’is and voiced alarm over accounts that Haydara has endured “physical and psychological torture.”
“This persistent pattern of vilification, oppression and mistreatment by the Houthis of Baha’is in Yemen must end,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.

READ: Abdul-Malik Al-Houthi: A wolf in sheep’s clothes

The Baha’i community on Thursday released what it said was the response to Haydara’s appeal, with the prosecutor accusing the faith of being founded on “satanic thought.”
It said that Haydara has also been accused of seeking to create a separate Baha’i homeland on the Yemeni island of Socotra.
“The prosecutor’s arguments do not address the merits of Mr. Haydara’s appeal and instead make absurd, wide-ranging accusations that are not based in law or in fact,” said Bani Dugal, the principal representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations.
He charged that the prosecutor was following the tactics of Iran’s clerical regime, which allows freedom of religion to several minorities but targets the Bahai’s, whose founder the Baha’u’llah was Iranian born in 1817.
The Baha’i faith calls for unity among religions and equality between men and women.
Baha’is consider the Baha’u’llah to be a prophet.