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Human Rights Commissioner on recent executions in Iran

Press release

Reports on the hanging of the 19‑year‑old Iranian Hassan Afshar as well as the execution of twenty men for alleged terrorist activities prompted Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Human Rights Commissioner at the Federal Foreign Office, to issue the following statement today (5 August):

Reports on the hanging of the 19‑year‑old Iranian Hassan Afshar as well as the execution of twenty men for alleged terrorist activities prompted Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Human Rights Commissioner at the Federal Foreign Office, to issue the following statement today (5 August):

I am deeply shocked that, as has transpired only now, Iran executed the young Iranian Hassan Afshar on 18 July.

Hassan Afshar was only 17 years old at the time of the crime he is accused of having committed. His execution is therefore a totally unacceptable violation of international law, especially since there are considerable doubts as to whether rule‑of‑law principles were complied with at his trial.

Not only the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, but also the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – both of which Iran has ratified – prohibit the execution of individuals who were minors at the time of the offence.

The German Government is opposed to the death penalty whatever the circumstances. Especially in view of the shocking reports of the recent execution of twenty men in the region of Alborz, I strongly urge all political leaders in Iran to suspend further executions with immediate effect and to refrain entirely from the imposition of death sentences against minors.

Background information:

Hassan Afshar was arrested at the age of 17 and sentenced to death at the beginning of 2015 for the alleged rape of another boy following a two‑month trial. Reports by human rights organisations point to considerable procedural shortcomings, such as the fact that Hassan Afshar had no access to legal counsel.

The Supreme Court had initially overturned the sentence against him due to incomplete investigations, but ultimately upheld it in March 2016. Hassan Afshar was hanged on 18 July 2016.

On 2 August, twenty Sunni men belonging to the Tawhid and Jihad group were executed in the Iranian city of Karaj for their alleged involvement in attacks on Iran’s security forces.

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