In his latest report to the Human Rights Council, the UN Special Rapporteur on Iran’s Human Rights Situation, Javaid Rehman, denounced human rights abuses in Iran, particularly the widespread use of death penalty against juvenile offenders.
On February 27, Javaid Rehman, British-Pakistani legal scholar and Professor of Islamic and International Law, raised concerns over execution of at least 33 minors under the supposedly moderate President Hassan Rouhani and expressed regret that children as young as nine years old can still be executed in Iran.
He urged the Iranian regime to “urgently amend a legislation to prohibit the execution of persons who allegedly committed [a crime] while below the age of 18 years and as such are children, and urgently amend the legislation to commute all existing sentences for child offenders on death row”.
He also asked Iran to provide the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Special Rapporteur with a list of all child offenders currently on death row.
Rehman noted that the death sentence should only be applied to the “most serious crimes”, which is widely thought to refer to premeditated murder, especially as international law prohibits executions for nonviolent crimes.
In recent months, Iranian Judiciary has issued an increased number of death sentences for convictions on financial crimes, which was seen as the mullahs’ attempt to handle the ongoing economic crises that have led to mass protests, although almost all the convicts had some connections in their financial activities to the regime’s high officials or affiliated financial institutions and it is that these financial crimes were clearly originated from or connected to the regime officials.
The UN Special Rapporteur advised that a disproportionately large percentage of persons executed or imprisoned in Iran are from ethnic and religious minorities, including Kurdish Iranian H. Abdollahpour whose sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court in October despite reports that he had been tortured in detention and denied access to a lawyer of his choice.
Rehman also raised concerns about women’s right abuses, the detention of dual citizens, the suppression of ethnic and religious minorities, and the crackdown on labour activists.
The UN Special Rapporteur called on Iran to:
• End the death penalty for all but the most serious crimes in accordance with international law
• Protect prisoners against torture and ill-treatment
• Provide a fair due process and allow the defendants to have access to a lawyer of their choice
• Ban all forms of discrimination against women and religious and ethnic minorities
• End persecutions of religious and ethnic minorities
These are, however, nothing new and the Iranian regime has been doing all these and much more for nearly four decades. In addition, the western appeasement policy particularly by European countries has emboldened the mullahs to continue with their atrocities. This means that Europe has failed to act properly against previous human rights violations in Iran and must now end its appeasement policy and hold the Iranian regime accountable.