Commenting on reports about the imminent execution of the young Iranian Hossein Shahbazi, Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Assistance at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (25 June):
The imminent execution of the young Iranian Hossein Shahbazi is horrific. Hossein Shahbazi was a minor at the time of the crimes he allegedly committed. His death sentence was nevertheless upheld in a re‑trial. His confession seems to have been extracted under torture and there are serious doubts as to whether due process standards were complied with in the proceedings against him.
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 opposes the death penalty, whatever the circumstances. I strongly urge the Iranian judicial authorities not to carry out the planned execution. There must be a fair trial for Hossein Shahbazi under the rule of law – without applying the death penalty.
Hossein Shahbazi (20 years old) was arrested on 3 December 2018 at the age of 17. He is accused of stabbing a fellow pupil to death during a fight between youths. On 13 January 2020, 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. The verdict was upheld by Iran’s Supreme Court on 16 June 2020. The Court admitted that Shahbazi was under 18 at the time the offence was committed. By means of a medical report, however, he was deemed to have attained mental maturity.