Reports of the imminent execution of the young Iranian Sajad Sanjari prompted Federal Government Human Rights Commissioner Bärbel Kofler to issue the following statement today (16 January):
I am extremely concerned about the imminent execution of the young Iranian Sajad Sanjari.
Sajad Sanjari was only 15 years old at the time of the crime he is accused of having committed. There are serious doubts as to whether due process standards were complied with in the proceedings against him. His death sentence was upheld in the appeal proceedings.
Iran has ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, both of which 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 Sajad Sanjari be executed, it would be an unacceptable violation of international law. I strongly urge the Iranian judicial authorities not to carry out the planned execution and to give Sajad Sanjari a fair trial and due process – without applying the death penalty.
Sajad Sanjari, who is now 21 years old, was sentenced to death in 2012. He confessed to the murder of which he was accused but said that he acted in self‑defence as the man wanted to rape him. In June 2015, a retrial was instigated due to Iran’s reformed juvenile law. In November 2015, however, Sajad Sanjari was again sentenced to death. The verdict was confirmed by Iran’s Supreme Court in August 2016. An appeal is still pending before that Court.