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UN expert: Iran executes minors in violation of Rights Law

President of Iran Hassan Rouhani (right) during the trilateral meeting of the heads of states, guarantors of the Astana process for facilitating the Syrian peace settlement on Feb. 14, 2019. (Kremlin/Released)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

An UN independent expert charged with monitoring human rights in Iran has found it “distressing” that Tehran continues using the death penalty, including executing minors, in a report he presented to the UN General Assembly on October 23.

Iran executed seven child offenders last year and two so far this year although it is prohibited to apply the death penalty to anyone under age 18, according to human rights law, Javaid Rehman told the UN’s Human Rights Committee.

Currently, there are 90 individuals on death row who are under age 18 at the time of their offenses, Rehman said, and as of mid-July, at least 173 executions were carried out, including two 17-year-olds, based on “conservative estimates.”

He noted that the execution rate in Iran was dropping, but still “remains one of the highest in the world.”

Executions sunk from 507 in 2017 to 253 in 2018, he said.

An improved anti-narcotics law in 2017 was partially attributed to the drop in executions, Rehman said, stating that “there is more work to be done.”

A number of troublesome “factors,” including the worsening economic situation due to biting U.S. sanctions, have had “serious consequences for the realization of economic and social rights,” he said.

U.S. President Donald Trump has intensified and broadened the scope of sanctions against Iran that are related to a 2015 nuclear deal from which Washington last year withdrew.

Rehman also noted that anyone standing up for human rights, including lawyers who defend activists, “have been intimidated, harassed, arrested, and detained.”