Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Assistance at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (19 December) following reports about the imminent execution of the Iranian Mohammad Hassan Rezaiee, who was a minor at the time of the crime:
I am alarmed by reports that the execution of Mohammad Hassan Rezaiee in Iran is imminent. Mohammad Hassan Rezaiee was only 16 years old at the time of the crime he is accused of having committed. Iran has ratified both 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 an offence. In addition, there is credible evidence that his confession was extracted under torture and that this sentence thus contravenes fundamental principles of the rule of law.
The German Government is opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances, as it is a brutal and inhumane form of punishment. That is why we have been campaigning actively for many years, alongside our partners in the EU, for it to be abolished around the world.
This year, at least four people who were minors at the time of the crime have already been executed in Iran. Many other people who were minors at the time of the crime they are accused of having committed are on death row.
I therefore urgently call on all those responsible in Iran to respect Iran’s obligations under international law and to suspend the execution of the death sentence against Mohammed Hassan Rezaiee with immediate effect. No further death sentences must be imposed or carried out in the case of minors.
Mohammad Hassan Rezaiee, who has been sentenced to death, was transferred to solitary confinement at Rasht Central Prison in Lakan (Gilan Province) on 17 December 2020. His family was informed that he would be executed after one week. Rezaiee was arrested in 2007 in connection with the death of a man during a stabbing incident. In 2008, he was sentenced to death for murder and has been on death row at Rasht Central Prison ever since. He was only 16 years old at the time of the crime. According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the conviction was based on a confession extracted under the repeated use of torture.