Iran has drawn criticism from human rights organizations for the execution of 17-year-old Hamidreza Azari in the town of Sabzevar. The incident, which took place on Friday (Nov 24), has reignited global concerns about Iran's practice of imposing the death penalty on individuals for crimes committed as minors.
According to statements from Norway-based Hengaw and Iran Human Rights (IHR) groups, the execution occurred in a prison in Sabzevar, Razavi Khorasan province. Official documents cited by both organizations revealed that Azari was only 16 years old at the time of the crime, emphasizing that Iran's actions violate the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which defines a child as anyone under the age of 18.
Hamidreza Azari had reportedly been sentenced to death for killing a man in a brawl in May this year. The rights groups said that the execution marked another violation by Iran of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The convention defines a child as any person under the age of 18.
IHR reported a disturbing trend, indicating that at least 68 minors have been executed in Iran since 2010. Mahmood-Amiry Moghaddam, Director of IHR, highlighted the inconsistency in Iran's laws, where the minimum age for obtaining a driver's license is 18, while the penal code allows for criminal executions at the age of 15.
Iran Human Rights said, "Iran is one of the few countries that sentences child-convicts to death and executes more juveniles than all other countries." As per data issued by the group, at least 68 minors have been executed in Iran since 2010 and at least 684 people have been executed this year in Iran. IHR director Mahmood-Amiry Moghaddam said, "In Iran, if someone wants to get a driver's licence, they must be 18 years old, but 15 years old is enough to be executed."
The group accused Iranian media of intentionally misrepresenting Azari's age, potentially to evade accountability for violating international standards.
Azari's execution is part of a broader surge in capital punishment in Iran. Another unrelated execution on Thursday (Nov 23) involved a man in his early 20s linked to protests that erupted in September 2022. These protests were sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd, in custody for an alleged dress code violation. Human rights campaigners argue that Iran is witnessing an alarming wave of executions, possibly as a tactic to intimidate the public following nationwide protests.