UN demands Iran halt execution of 17-year-old offender

NEW YORK - UN rights experts appealed to Iran Thursday to cancel the looming execution of a juvenile offender, warning that Tehran was executing at "an unprecedented rate" people who had committed crimes as children.
"The scheduled execution of Hamid Ahmadi must be immediately halted and his death sentence annulled," the four experts said.
Ahmadi, who is scheduled to be executed on Saturday, was 17 years old when he was sentenced to death in 2009 for the fatal stabbing a year earlier of a young man during a fight between five boys, the experts said.
He has seen two previously scheduled executions halted at the last minute, they added.
The experts -- specialising in the human rights situation in Iran, arbitrary executions, torture and children's rights -- pointed to a range of reported flaws in Ahmadi's judicial process.
His confession was allegedly obtained under torture at the police station, they said in a statement.
These allegations "were not taken into consideration nor did they lead to any investigation," they said.
"Any death sentence undertaken in contravention of a government's international obligations, and particularly when a conviction is based on confessions extracted under torture, is unlawful and tantamount to an arbitrary execution."
They also stressed that handing down death sentences to people who were under 18 at the time their alleged crime was committed was unequivocally forbidden under international standards.
"We strongly deplore that execution of juveniles continue to be scheduled and even conducted at an unprecedented rate in Iran since the beginning of the year," the experts said.
They said that last month they intervened to halt the execution of another juvenile offender, and that they had learned too late that two others were hanged on January 15 and 18.
"Arman Bahr Asemani and Hassan Hassanzadeh were both juveniles at the time they allegedly committed the offence for which they were sentenced to death," they pointed out.
"Iran must observe its international obligations by putting an end to the execution of juvenile offenders once and for all."