Reports of the imminent execution of the young Iranian Alireza Tajiki prompted Federal Government Human Rights Commissioner Bärbel Kofler to issue the following statement on 25 May:
I am extremely concerned about the imminent execution of the young Iranian Alireza Tajiki. Even after the last-minute stay of execution, the death sentence could be carried out at any time.
Alireza Tajiki was a minor at the time of the crimes he allegedly committed. Nevertheless, his death sentence was upheld in a re-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.
Should Iran execute Alireza Tajiki, it would be committing an unacceptable violation of international law. I therefore strongly urge the Iranian judicial authorities not to carry out the planned execution. There must be a fair trial for Alireza Tajiki under the rule of law – without applying the death penalty.
In May 2012, Alireza Tajiki, now 19 years old, was arrested at the age of 15 together with other young men on suspicion of murder and rape. In April 2013, he was sentenced to death by a court in Fars province. According to a recent amnesty international report, his conviction was based on confessions extracted through torture which he subsequently withdrew on repeated occasions. The original verdict was quashed in April 2014 and the court ordered an examination of Tajiki’s mental maturity. In November 2014, however, Tajiki was again sentenced to death on the basis of a medical report which claimed he had attained “mental maturity”.