Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); October 20, 2021: The scheduled execution of juvenile offender Arman Abdolali has been temporarily suspended again and he has been returned to the general ward of Rajai Shahr Prison. Four other prisoners who were due to be executed this morning were also returned to their cells.
According to information obtained by Iran Human Rights, juvenile offender Arman Abdolali has been returned to the general ward after his scheduled execution this morning was postponed for the third time in the last fortnight. His execution will be carried out next week according to officials.
Four other prisoners who were due to be executed this morning were also returned to their cells. At the time of writing, it is unclear whether any other prisoners were executed at the prison this morning.
On October 11, Arman was transferred to solitary confinement in preparation for his scheduled execution on October 13 and his parents were summoned for their last visit on October 12. Iran Human Rights called on the international community to take action to save Arman Abdolali’s life. United Nations Human Right Experts including the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran urgently appealed to Iran to halt his execution on October 12 and demanded that Iran stop sentencing children to death. Arman’s execution was subsequently rescheduled for October 16, which was postponed without any reason given. He was returned to solitary confinement on Sunday, October 17 for his execution this morning.
Arman Abdolali was born on 9 March 1996 and was 17 years old at the time of the alleged murder in 2013. He was sentenced to qisas (retribution-in-kind) for murder without a body ever being found.
Informed sources told Iran Human Rights: “CCTV footage showed Ghazaleh (his alleged victim) leaving the building after meeting Arman. But the police never investigated the evidence.”
Arman’s lawyer had previously pointed to the fact that the pull-up bar Arman had confessed to using as the murder weapon had also never been examined by the police.
Upon arrest, Arman was held in solitary confinement for 74 days where he confessed to the murder. He was subsequently tried and sentenced to qisas (retribution-in-kind) based on the confession, without taking into consideration that he was a juvenile offender.
Days prior to his execution, Arman’s lawyer found out that Ghazaleh had been issued with a leave of absence by her university and her insurance policy had been renewed and used them as evidence to request a retrial.
Two of the judges who had previously sentenced Arman to qisas, opined that further investigations would be required in light of the fact that the letter from her university was dated after the murder was alleged to have taken place. Meanwhile, Ghazaleh’s family gave Arman an extension and opportunity to reveal the location of the body.
His retrial was heard before Branch 5 of the Criminal Court when he was studying for his master’s degree at Shahid Modarres University. Once again, he denied the murder and stated that he did not know where her body was and that she might be alive.
His case was later referred to the Tehran Criminal Court, which found him guilty of murder and sentenced him to qisas. The sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court in February this year.
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 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which the Islamic Republic is a signatory to, prohibit the issuance and implementation of the death penalty for crimes committed by an individual below 18 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 64 juvenile offenders have been executed in Iran over the past 10 years, with at least four executed in 2020.