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Death Row Juvenile Offender Ali Arjangi in Solitary Confinement After Suicide Hospitalisation

14 Jun
Death Row Juvenile Offender Ali Arjangi in Solitary Confinement After Suicide Hospitalisation

Iran Human Rights (IHR); June 14, 2021: Death row juvenile offender Ali Arjangi who was hospitalised with 45 stitches after trying to commit suicide in Ardabil Central Prison on June 12, has been returned to prison before recovery and is in solitary confinement.

According to information obtained by Iran Human Rights, Ali Arjangi, 21, who was hospitalised after attempting to commit suicide by slitting his throat on Saturday, June 12, has been transferred to solitary confinement in Ardabil Central Prison.

Speaking to IHR, a source close to him said: "[Ali Arjangi] wasn’t even allowed to contact his family which has worried them even more.”

“Ali was in critical condition but they didn’t even allow him time to complete his treatment and he was hastily returned to prison and transferred to solitary confinement,” the source added.

Ali Arjangi who was sentenced to death for a murder he is accused of committing at 17, had been given until May 21 to come up with the diya (blood money) amount set by the victim’s family. The deadline was extended to the end of July after his family failed to raise the amount set by the victim’s family.

According to Article 91 of the new Islamic Penal Code, passed in 2013, “In the cases of offences punishable by hadd or qisas, if mature people under eighteen years do not realise the nature of the crime committed or its prohibition, or if there is uncertainty about their full mental development, according to their age, they shall be sentenced to the punishments prescribed in this chapter.” The note to the Article gives judges the power to determine the defendant's mental capacity: “The court may ask the opinion of forensic medicine or resort to any other method that it sees appropriate in order to establish the full mental development.”

Iran is one of the few countries in the world that still carries out the death penalty for juvenile offenders. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which the Islamic Republic is a signatory to, prohibits the issuance and implementation of the death penalty for crimes committed by an individual below 18 years of age.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child, which the Islamic Republic is also a signatory to, explicitly states that “Neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without possibility of release shall be imposed for offences committed by persons below eighteen years of age.”

Yet, according to data collected by IHR and international human rights organisations, the Islamic Republic is responsible for more than 70% of all executions of juvenile offenders in the last 30 years. IHR’s statistics also show that at least 63 juvenile offenders have been executed in Iran over the past 10 years, with at least six being executed in 2018 and four in 2019.

Given the security state and repression of civil society activists and the limited contact with prisoners, it is likely that the number of juvenile executions is much higher than recorded.