Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy at the Federal Foreign Office Bärbel Kofler on reports of the imminent execution of the Iranian Arman Abdolali, who was a minor at the time of the crime (12 October):
I am very concerned by the news that the execution of the young Iranian Arman Abdolali could be imminent.
Arman Abdolali was a minor at the time of the crime he allegedly committed. There is credible evidence that his confession was extracted under torture and that this sentence thus contravenes fundamental principles of the rule of law.
Should Arman Abdolali be executed, this would be an unacceptable violation of international law. Iran has ratified not only the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, but also the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, both of which prohibit the execution of individuals who were minors at the time of an offence.
The German Government is opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances, as it is a cruel and inhumane form of punishment. The death penalty means that miscarriages of justice cannot be rectified. Furthermore, it has been proven that capital punishment does not serve as a deterrent.
I therefore urgently appeal to the Iranian judicial authorities not to execute the death penalty, but rather to allow Arman Abdolali the possibility of a fair trial under the rule of law without the reimposition of the death penalty.
Arman Abdolali, now aged 24, was sentenced to death in 2013 for the murder of his girlfriend. The body has never been found. He initially confessed to the crime, but later retracted his confession. He said that he had spent 76 days in solitary confinement following his arrest and that the confession had been made under torture. The sentence, which had been upheld on appeal, was due to be carried out back in January 2020, but the execution was postponed. Reports in the media suggest that it is now imminent.