The United Nations Human Rights Office expressed deep concern over the execution of two young men, aged 17 and 22, by the Iranian government. The statement was issued on Tuesday, November 28, in response to recent incidents.
Hamidreza Azari, who had been convicted of murder during a brawl in May 2023, was executed on Friday, November 24, in the Razavi Khorasan province. Shockingly, Azari was only 16 years old when he committed the crime and 17 at the time of execution, the statement said.
Iran’s execution of juvenile offenders is not a new issue, but this case marked the first reported execution of a minor in 2023. The UN Human Rights Office highlighted that this act violated international commitments prohibiting death sentences and executions for individuals under the age of 18, which Iran is a signatory to.
Iran holds the second-highest execution rate globally, following China. The country imposes the death penalty for various offenses, including drug-related crimes, national security concerns, blasphemy, and anti-government activities.
This year, Iran witnessed a staggering 684 executions, the highest number since 2015. These figures marked a significant increase compared to previous years, with 582 executions in 2022 and 333 in 2021, report added.
On November 23, just one day before Azari’s execution, Iran executed Milad Zohrevand, a young man in his early 20s, in connection with nationwide protests that erupted in September 2022. The UN criticized this execution for lacking proper due process.
The Iranian government’s crackdown on protests, with arrests and executions, has alarmed human rights groups. Ethnic minorities are disproportionately affected. The UN Human Rights Office calls on Iran to stop using criminal procedures against activists and those expressing their rights to freedom and peaceful assembly.