U.N. urges Iran to halt execution of minors

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, left, meets United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, right, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015 at United Nations headquarters. (AP Photo)

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday called on Iran to impose a moratorium on executions after two juvenile offenders were hanged in the past two weeks.

Ban said he was "deeply saddened" by the executions and recalled that Tehran had signed two international conventions outlawing the death penalty for children under 18.

"The secretary-general reaffirms the opposition of the United Nations to the imposition of the death penalty, and calls on the government of Iran to establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty," said a statement from his spokesman.

Fatemeh Salbehi, a 23-year-old woman, was hanged in the province of Fars on October 13 after being found guilty for killing a man she had been forced to marry when she was just 16.

A week earlier Samad Zahabi was hanged in Kermanshah province for shooting a fellow shepherd when he was just 17.

U.N. human rights experts said Iranian authorities did not provide the required notice to Zahabi's family or lawyer ahead of the hanging.

Ban said he was "concerned that these two executions reflect a worrying trend in Iran," where he said more than 700 people have reportedly been executed so far this year, including at least 40 publicly.

He said that was the highest total recorded in the past 12 years.

"The majority of executions were imposed for drug-related offenses -- crimes that do not meet the threshold of the 'most serious crimes' as required by international law," he said.

More than 160 juvenile offenders are believed to be on death row in Iranian prisons, according to Amnesty International.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:45 - GMT 06:45