EU's top diplomat slams Iran for execution of juveniles
Catherine Ashton, the Foreign Affairs head of the 27-member European Union, has slammed Iran for its ongoing executions of juvenile offenders, the Jerusalem Post reported.
"I deplore the public execution of four young men in Bandar Abbas, Iran, last week. At least two of the men were under 18 at the time of their alleged offenses. This stands in clear contravention to Iran's international obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child," said Ashton in a statement.
She added: "The EU has already expressed its concern over the alarming rate of executions in Iran this year, and condemns the practice of carrying them out in public or by suspension hanging. I reiterate the EU's call on Iran to declare a moratorium on the death penalty in line with the growing global trend towards abolition of this punishment."
Amnesty International also blasted Iran for executing adolescents. In a statement from the organization in late April, it expressed outrage.
"Amnesty International has condemned a sharp rise in the rate of executions in public in Iran - which have included the first executions of juvenile offenders in the world this year," it read. "Since the start of 2011, up to 13 men have been hanged in public, compared to 14 such executions recorded by Amnesty International from official Iranian sources in the whole of 2010. Eight of those executions have taken place since 16 April 2011."
In a scarcely reported death, Radio Free Europe and its Persian news program, Radio Farda, noted in late March that Mohsen Dokmehchi died of pancreatic cancer resulting from the lack of medical care, and "was among hundreds of people arrested after the June 2009 disputed presidential election that sparked widespread protests."
According to Radio Farda, "He was serving a 10-year sentence on charges of supporting the exiled opposition group, the People's Mujahedin of Iran [also known as the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization, or MKO]."
While the US State Department lists MKO as a terrorist organization, the EU does not.
On 20 April 2011, two juvenile offenders - identified only as "A.N" and "H.B" - were among three individuals hanged in public in Bandar Abbas, southern Iran, after being convicted over a rape and murder committed when they were only 17.
Iran is one of the only countries that still imposes the death penalty on juvenile offenders - those convicted of an alleged crime committed before they were 18 - and was the only country known to have executed a juvenile offender in 2010. Executions of juvenile offenders are strictly prohibited under international law.