A female juvenile offender, Zeinab Sekaanvand, was hanged this morning in Iran’s Orumieh Prison along with four other prisoners. The 24-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman was convicted of killing her abusive husband at the age of 17.
According to Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, “She did not see a lawyer until her final trial session in 2014, when she retracted ‘confessions’ she had made when she had no access to legal representation. She also says that, following her arrest, she was tortured by male police officers through beatings all over her body.”
After being provided with a state-appointed lawyer, she told the judge that her husband’s brother, who had raped her several times, had actually committed the murder. Her statements were ignored by the court.
UN’s Iran Rapporteur expresses concern
In his first report on Iran, Javaid Rehman, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Iran, also expressed his “grave concern” over the execution of juvenile offenders in Iran.
“The Special Rapporteur reiterates the grave concerns previously expressed by the Secretary-General, High Commissioner for Human Rights, and his predecessor with respect to the continuing execution of juvenile offenders in Iran, noting that at least four juvenile offenders were executed in first-half of 2018, with several others facing imminent execution,” he wrote in his report.
The Special Rapporteur also mentioned four juvenile offenders who were hanged since the beginning of 2018 including two young men who were convicted at the age of 15 and a young woman who was hanged for committing a murder at the age of 16. Mr. Rehman also emphazised that he intended to “closely follow the situation of juvenile offenders on death row in the course of his mandate and the legislation concerning the application of the death penalty to such individuals.”
Under Iranian law, adulthood is legally determined by puberty, which is defined as age 15 for boys and nine for girls. According to Amnesty International