Dozens of juvenile offenders face death penalty in Iran: Amnesty

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Dozens of people who were arrested in Iran for crimes committed before they turned 18 remain at risk of the death penalty despite recent reforms, with many having already spent years on death row, according to a report by Amnesty International released on Tuesday.

See Full Article

The London-based group also found that Iran has executed at least 73 juvenile offenders between 2005 and 2015, including at least four last year.

Amnesty's 110-page report intensifies pressure on Iran at a time when Tehran is working to rebuild relations with the West following last year's landmark nuclear deal. The agreement came into force this month after Iran took steps to curb its nuclear program, leading to the lifting of crippling international sanctions.

On Monday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani arrived in Rome at the start of the first European trip by an Iranian president in almost two decades. The visit, which will also include stops at the Vatican and France, is expected to lead to a raft of business and trade deals.

Iran is one of the world's largest users of the death penalty, ranking second behind China in 2014, according to the most recent figures from Amnesty. Most executions overall in Iran are carried out for drug smuggling. The country straddles a major narcotics trafficking route linking opium-producing fields in Afghanistan to Europe.

Amnesty's researchers were able to identify the names and locations of 49 juvenile offenders who face the death penalty, though the group notes that actual numbers could be higher. A 2014 UN report put the number of juvenile offenders at risk of execution at more than 160.

The majority of the 73 juvenile offenders Amnesty identified who were put to death over the past decade were convicted of murder. Others were executed for crimes such as rape, drug-related crimes and national security offences such as "enmity against God."

The group noted that reforms introduced in 2013 give judges more discretion to take into account juvenile offenders' mental maturity and potentially impose less harsh punishments, and that the Supreme Court has since said juvenile offenders facing execution could have their cases retried. Additional reforms introduced last year require that cases involving juveniles must be heard in special juvenile courts.

Still, Amnesty urged Iran to do more.

"Despite some juvenile justice reforms, Iran continues to lag behind the rest of the world, maintaining laws that permit girls as young as nine and boys as young as 15 to be sentenced to death," Amnesty said.

Iranian officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

In late October, the United Nations' special investigator on the human rights situation in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, warned that executions in Iran have risen at an "exponential rate" since 2005 and could top 1,000 in 2015. He said Iran puts more people to death per capita than any other country, adding that the majority of executions do not conform to international laws banning the death penalty for juveniles and non-violent offenders.

The head of Iran's Human Rights Council, Mohammad Javad Larijani, subsequently dismissed the UN report as "a collection of baseless accusations."


Latest Canada & World News

  • Five men arrested after Vegas-bound plane diverts to Winnipeg

    Canada News CTV News
    WINNIPEG -- Five men were removed from a plane that was forced to divert to Winnipeg on its way from the United Kingdom to Las Vegas. A spokesman with Thomas Cook Airlines says the Airbus A330 was travelling from Manchester to Las Vegas on Saturday morning when the crew diverted to Winnipeg due to some passengers' "disruptive behaviour. Source
  • Family found dead at Mexico resort killed by toxic gas

    World News CTV News
    MEXICO CITY -- Autopsies indicate an Iowa couple and their two children died from inhaling toxic gas at a rented condo on Mexico's Caribbean coast, but there was no sign of foul play or suicide, Mexican authorities said Saturday. Source
  • 'A historic moment': Montreal massacre survivor joins Washington rally

    Canada News CTV News
    It’s been more than 28 years since a gunman stormed Montreal’s École Polytechnique, killing 14 women in the deadliest mass shooting in Canadian history. Another 14 people were injured in the massacre, including Nathalie Provost, who sustained four gunshot wounds, including one to the forehead. Source
  • 'I will vote you out': Teens vow to shake up U.S. politics at gun control rallies

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Kat Schamel did not vote in the last American election, because her 18th birthday happened to fall on Nov. 9, 2016, one day after Donald Trump was elected president of the United States. Source
  • Car bomb in coastal Egyptian city kills 2 police

    World News CTV News
    CAIRO -- A bomb placed under a nearby car exploded Saturday in the coastal city of Alexandria as the city security chief's convoy passed by, killing two policemen and wounding four others, the Interior Ministry said. Source
  • Accused Austin bomber called himself a 'psychopath': congressman

    World News CTV News
    AUSTIN, Texas - A congressman says the suspected Austin bomber left a confession calling himself a "psychopath" and saying he felt no remorse for his actions. Rep. Michael McCaul made the comments at a news conference Saturday, where he thanked law enforcement officials for stopping the deadly three-week bombing spree that terrorized the capital of Texas. Source
  • The road map and road blocks of Trump's transgender troops ban explained

    World News CBC News
    U.S. President Donald Trump has issued an order supporting his push to ban most transgender troops from serving in the U.S. military except under "limited circumstances." But the decision is expected to be the subject of an ongoing legal fight in the months ahead. Source
  • Nigerian police: Boko Haram to free 1 more kidnapped girl

    World News CTV News
    MAIDUGURI, Nigeria -- Nigeria's police chief says another girl who was abducted from a school in Dapchi last month is being brought back by her kidnappers. Police Inspector General Muhammed Abubakar said Saturday that he cancelled a trip to Dapchi to avoid interfering with the release. Source
  • Quebec doctors protest their own raises, call for improved patient accessibility

    Canada News CBC News
    When Lashanda Skerritt decided to go to medical school, money was far from being the first thing on her mind — she wanted to serve the population. She is among hundreds of health care workers, patients and community groups who marched in protest of raises for doctors in the province. Source
  • New Brunswick man reaches halfway point of 3,000-kilometre dog sled trek

    Canada News CTV News
    A New Brunswick man making a 3,000-kilometre dog sled trek from Manitoba to his home province says the journey thus far has been "a mix of beauty and terror." Justin Allen and his 12 Alaskan huskies left Churchill, Man. Source