/ IHRights#Iran: Hossein Amaninejad and Hamed Yavari were executed in Hamedan Central Prison on 11 June. Hossein was arrested… https://t.co/3lnMTwFH6z13 Jun

Child Bride Marjan Hajizadeh and Esmail Hassaniani Executed for Drug Charges- UPDATED

15 Apr
Child Bride Marjan Hajizadeh and Esmail Hassaniani Executed for Drug Charges- UPDATED

Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); April 15 2024: Marjan Hajizadeh and Esmail Hassaniani, a couple sentenced to death for drug-related charges in a joint case, were executed in Zanjan Central Prison. Marjan is reported to have been 16 at the time of arrest which IHRNGO is working to confirm. If verified, she will be the first child offender executed for drug charges since 2014. She was also a child bride forced into the marriage.

According to information obtained by Iran Human Rights, a husband and wife were were executed in Zanjan Central Prison on 11 April. Their identities have been established 29-year-old Esmail Hassaniani and 19-year-old Marjan Hajizadeh who were sentenced to death for drug-related charges in a joint case.

An informed source told Iran Human Rights: “Esmail Hassaniani and Marjan Hajizadeh were arrested for drug charges around three years ago and sentenced to death. Marjan was only 16 years and 4 months old when she was arrested and had been forced to marry Esmail.”

At the time of writing, Iran Human Rights is working to verify her age through document evidence.

“Marjan’s father was a labourer and they were extremely poor. Marjan and Esmail were arrested on a motorway in Zanjan. Marjan didn’t know her husband was carrying drugs and was innocent. But they executed both of them,” the source added.

Articles 88 and 89 of the 2013 Islamic Penal Code removed the death penalty for ta’zircrimes committed by offenders under the age of 18. As drug-related offences are considered ta’zir crimes, it is unlawful to carry out drug execution of child offenders per the Islamic Republic’s own laws. If Marjan’s age is confirmed, she will be the first child offender to be executed for drug offences since 2014. She is also the 4th woman executed in 2024.

At the time of writing, their executions have 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. According to Iran Human Rights' reports, at least 70 juvenile offenders were executed between 2010 and 2023 in Iran.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child, which the Islamic Republic is 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.”

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which the Islamic Republic of Iran is also a signatory to, prohibits the issuance and implementation of the death penalty for crimes committed by an individual below 18 years of age. 

Drug-related executions have continuously risen every year since 2021. According to IHRNGO’s 2023 Annual Report on the Death Penalty, at least 471 people were executed for drug-related charges, an 84% increase compared to 2022 (256) and about 18 times the average of drug-related executions in 2018-2020.

On 10 April 2024, 80+ Iranian and international organisations and groups called for joint action to stop drug-related executions, urging UNODC to make “any cooperation with the Islamic Republic contingent on a complete halt on drug-related executions.

* Ta'zir: punishment for offences at the discretion of the judge.


16 May 2024 UPDATE: according to several informed sources, Marjan Hajizadeh was not under 18 years of age at the time of arrest and therefore, not a child offender.