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Amnesty Decries Iran's 'Shameful' Execution Of Man Arrested At Age 15

FILE: Alleged criminals hang limply from the nooses during public execution in the southern Iranian city of Shiraz.
FILE: Alleged criminals hang limply from the nooses during public execution in the southern Iranian city of Shiraz.

Iran has executed a 21-year-old man who was arrested at age 15, Amnesty International and an Iranian news agency reported.

Alireza Tajiki was executed on August 10, the London-based human rights group Amnesty said, calling it a "shameful act."

"By going ahead with this execution in defiance of their obligations under international law, and despite huge public and international opposition, the Iranian authorities have again cruelly demonstrated their complete disdain for children’s rights," Amnesty's deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, Magdalena Mughrabi, said in a statement.

"This shameful act marks a critical turning point for Iran, and exposes the hollowness of the authorities’ claims to have a genuine juvenile justice system," she said.

According to Amnesty, Tajiki was arrested in May 2012, when he was 15 years old, and sentenced to death in April 2013 after a criminal court in the southern Fars Province had convicted him of murder and forced male-male intercourse. It said the trial was "grossly unfair" and that the case hinged largely on confessions that Tajiki "said were extracted through torture, including severe beatings, floggings, and suspension by the arms and feet."

The semiofficial Iranian news agency quoted the chief prosecutor in the city of Shiraz, Ali Salehi, as saying the prosecution of Tajiki was "fair and just, and that his execution was "legal." He was quoted as saying that Iran's Supreme Court upheld the death sentence following an appeal and that Tajiki was executed in the morning on August 10.

Under Iranian law, murder, rape, sodomy and armed robbery are punishable by death.

Iran introduced reforms in 2013 amid criticism over the execution of juvenile offenders but has "continued to condemn dozens of young people to death for crimes committed when they were under 18, in violation of [its] international human rights obligations," Amnesty said.

The right's group's statement said that as of this month, Amnesty has identified at least 89 people on death row who were under 18 when the crime was committed.

In a report issued in April, Amnesty said that at least two juvenile offenders were executed by Iranian authorities in 2016.

With reporting by AP

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