Child offender facing imminent execution

Press release

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the Iranian League for the Defence of Human Rights (LDDHI) have been informed about the imminent execution of Mr. Behnam Zare, a child offender convicted of murder, committed when he was 15 years old. We strongly urge the Islamic Republic of Iran to immediately halt the execution, and to respect its obligations under international human rights law, as it is party to the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, which expressly prohibits the execution of child offenders.

Child offender Behnam Zare is now facing execution within 72 hours, since the order to carry out his execution was sent to the Adelabad prison, in the south-western city of Shiraz, where he is detained since his arrest. Behnam Zare was convicted of the murder by knife, when he was 15, of a man named Mehrad. He has been detained since November 2005 and was sentenced by the Fars Criminal Court to qesas for premeditated murder. The sentence was upheld by the Iranian Supreme Court. The Iranian authorities have been waiting for him to turn 18 years old in order to carry out the execution.

Despite several calls addressed to the authorities to halt the planned execution of Behnam Zare, and to commute his death sentence, his family was informed that the only way to cancel the execution is to obtain the victim’s family pardon by means of reimbursement. Under Iran’s Criminal Code, only by paying the « blood cost » of the murder to the victim’s family, it is possible to avoid the death penalty.

FIDH and LDDHI express, once again, their deep concern regarding the broad application of death penalty in Iran. We urge the Islamic Republic of Iran to respect international human rights law, in particular the international standards on death penalty.

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