Human Rights Commissioner Strässer on the execution of a young Iranian woman

14.10.2015 - Press release

Responding to the news that the 23-year-old Iranian Fatemeh Salbehi had been executed, Christoph Strässer, the Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, commented as follows on 14 October from the sidelines of the World Humanitarian Summit in Geneva:

I am profoundly distressed that Iran hanged the young Iranian Fatemeh Salbehi yesterday.

Fatemeh Salbehi was only 17 years old at the time of her alleged crime. Her execution is thus a completely unacceptable violation of international law!

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights - both of which have been ratified by Iran – prohibit the execution of people who were minors at the time the offence was committed.

I strongly urge all those responsible in Iran to immediately suspend the execution of further death sentences and, in the case of minors, to refrain from imposing the death penalty at all.


Fatemeh Salbehi was married at the age of 16 to a significantly older relative. In 2010 she was convicted by the provincial court in Fars and sentenced to death for having allegedly murdered her husband in April 2009. This ruling was upheld by the supreme court a few months later.

The conviction was upheld again in 2013, when a review was conducted in the course of Iranian criminal law reforms. Numerous reports from human rights organisations have identified significant procedural shortcomings.

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