Reports of the imminent execution of the young Iranian Zeinab Sekaanvand Lokran prompted Federal Government Human Rights Commissioner Bärbel Kofler to issue the following statement today (12 October):
I am extremely concerned about the imminent execution of the young Iranian Zeinab Sekaanvand Lokran.
Zeinab Sekaanvand Lokran was only 17 years old at the time of the crime she is accused of having committed. There are serious doubts as to whether due process standards were complied with in the proceedings against her.
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. Should Iran execute Zeinab Sekaanvand Lokran, it would be committing an unacceptable violation of international law. I strongly urge the Iranian judicial authorities not to carry out the planned execution and to give Zeinab Sekaanvand Lokran a fair trial and due process – without applying the death penalty.
Zeinab Sekaanvand Lokran was arrested in 2012 at the age of 17. She confessed to murdering her husband, to whom she had been married at 15 and at whose hands she had suffered mental and physical abuse. She revoked her confession during her trial in October 2014 but was still sentenced to death. Reports from human rights organisations point to serious procedural deficits on the one hand, and to abuse by the police interrogators on the other.
In 2015 she married a fellow prisoner and became pregnant. Her execution was postponed until after the birth. On 30 September 2016 she gave birth to a stillborn child. The execution was thereupon scheduled for 13 October 2016.