Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); May 18, 2022: Mehrab Salehi who was most probably a juvenile offender at the time of the alleged murder he was convicted of, has been executed in Yazd Central Prison as he was unable to afford the €50k diya (blood money) demanded by the victim’s family.
According to information obtained by Iran Human Rights, a young man was executed in Yazd Central Prison on the morning of May 15. His identity has been established as 20-year-old Mehrab Salehi who was sentenced to qisas (retribution-in-kind) for murder.
His relatives have told Iran Human Rights that Mehrab was born in February/March 2003 (Esfand) and arrested in December 2019/January 2020 (Dey), making him 16 years old at the time of the alleged offence. Iran Human Rights is working to verify the information through documentation.
Mehrab Salehi was previously taken to the gallows twice and had been able to obtain extensions each time. The victim’s family had demanded 1.5 billion tomans (€50K) as diya (blood money) instead of retribution, a sum Mehrab’s family were unable to afford.
At the time of writing, his execution has not been reported by domestic media or officials in Iran.
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.
According to data collected by Iran Human Rights 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 four being executed in 2020 and two in 2021.
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.” However, the new Islamic Penal Code adopted in 2013 explicitly defines the “age of criminal responsibility” for children as the age of maturity under Sharia law, meaning that girls over 9 lunar years of age and boys over 15 lunar years of age are eligible for execution if convicted of “crimes against God” (such as apostasy) or “retribution crimes”(such as murder).
According to data gathered by Iran Human Rights, at least 183 people were executed on murder charges in 2021. Those charged with the umbrella term of “intentional murder” are sentenced to qisas (retribution-in-kind) regardless of intent or circumstances due to a lack of grading in law. Once a defendant has been convicted, the victim’s family are required to choose between death as retribution, diya (blood money) or forgiveness.