A minor offender in Urmia prison, northwestern Iran, attempted suicide by consuming 30 sleeping pills as protest to being kept in a state of limbo.
According to the Human Rights News Agency, Bahaodin Ghasemzadeh was detained with his brother in 2009 when he was 17 years old. He was charged with murder and sentenced to death. On Thursday October 8, he took 30 sleeping pills to protest the undetermined status of his case and was transferred to a hospital. He is currently under treatment in the hospital.
Before this, Bahaodin and his brother Davoud went on a hunger strike March 2019 to protest being kept in a state of limbo for years. In 2018, human rights groups said that Davoud was suffering from spinal cord injuries due to torture and a leg infection due to poor prison conditions which was left untreated on orders of prison authorities. In protest, he and his brother wrote in a letter to the head of Urmia Prison to either implement the death sentence or determine their status.
Bahaodin and Davoud were born in Salmas, northwestern Iran. They were detained for the murder of two people during a clan conflict. Because Bahaodin was a minor at the time, he accepted both murders in a 2011 court. After the trial, he fled from the police and went to Iraq’s Kurdistan region. Security forces then arrested his family members including his sister, mother, and other brother and transferred them to Urmia Prison, demanding Bahaodin’s return in exchange for their release. Bahaodin returned after a month. His brother Davoud was severely beaten and suffered injuries to his spinal cord.
Iranian courts are notorious for their lack of due process and offenders are usually coerced into making confessions against themselves.
From 2014 to the end of 2017, Iran executed at least 25 people for crimes committed when they were children, according to Amnesty International and Iran Human Rights. In 2018 alone, Iran executed seven people for crimes they allegedly committed as children.