UN Secretary General expresses concern for Iran

Angel Chan

NEW YORK 4 January 2018: The United Nations Secretary-General is following with concern recent developments in Iran.

In a statement issued by Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres said that he deplores the loss of life in the protests.

He urged respect for the rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, noting that any demonstrations should take place in a peaceful manner and that Further violence must be avoided.

In the meantime, two UN human rights experts have made a last-minute appeal to Iran to halt the execution of Amirhossein Pourjafar, who was 16 when he was sentenced to death.

He is due to be executed on Thursday 4 January in direct contravention of international standards on the use of the death penalty.

“The Iranian authorities must immediately halt the execution of this juvenile offender and annul the death sentence against him in compliance with their international obligations,” the experts said in a joint statement. The experts are Asma Jahangir, a Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights inĀ Iran; and Agnes Callamard, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

International standards unequivocally forbid imposing the death sentence on anyone under 18 years of age, they affirmed.

The experts stressed their dismay at the ongoing juvenile executions in Iran despite it being strictly prohibited by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Iran is party.

Amirhossein Pourjafar was sentenced to death in September 2016 after being convicted of the rape and murder of a seven-year-old girl. The court said he had attained “mental maturity” at the time of the crime and had understood the nature and consequences of his actions.

The Supreme Court upheld the death sentence in January 2017. The execution was originally due to take place last October, when the UN experts also made an urgent plea for it to be annulled.