Reports of the imminent execution of the young Iranian Saman Naseem prompted Federal Government Human Rights Commissioner Christoph Strässer to issue the following statement on 18 February:
The imminent execution of the young Iranian Saman Naseem scheduled for 19 February deeply troubles me.
Saman Naseem was a minor at the time of the crimes he allegedly committed. Nevertheless, his death sentence was upheld in the appeal proceedings.
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 anyone who was a minor at the time of the offence.
Should Iran execute Saman Naseem, it would be committing a totally unacceptable violation of international law. I therefore call on the authorities in Iran to halt the execution immediately, overturn the death penalty and grant Saman Naseem a fair retrial!
Saman Naseem (born in 1994), who is alleged to be a member of the PJAK party (Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan), which is banned in Iran, and to have been involved in a gun battle with Revolutionary Guards, was arrested in July 2011. In April 2013, he was found guilty of “enmity against God” and “corruption on Earth” and sentenced to death. The death sentence was confirmed by the Supreme Court in December 2013. The sentence was communicated to the law enforcement authorities back in September 2014 and Naseem’s family has now been informed that his execution has been scheduled for 19 February 2015.