Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); November 25, 2023: Newly obtained information shows that Hamidreza Azari was 16 years old at the time of the alleged murder he was executed for in Sabzevar Prison.
According to newly obtained documents witnessed by Iran Human Rights, Hamidreza Azari who was executed in Sabzevar Prison on 24 November, was a juvenile offender and 17 at the time of execution. He was born on 1 August 2006 and was alleged to have committed the murder on 28 April 2023, when he was 16 years and 8 months old.
It is important to note that in his previously aired forced confession and state media report, his age was given as 18. This is a deliberate attempt to evade accountability for violating international laws which explicitly prohibit the use of the death penalty against juvenile offenders.
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.” 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).