Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

Promoting tolerance and justice through knowledge and understanding
Amnesty International

Iran: Fear of imminent execution: Ali (surname unknown)

Amnesty International
November 23, 2007
Appeal/Urgent Action

PUBLIC AI Index: MDE 13/139/2007

UA 316/07 Fear of imminent execution

Ali (surname unknown), aged 17, Afghan national

Amnesty International is concerned that the death sentence against a 17-year-old Afghan boy known only as Ali, imposed for a murder he allegedly committed when he was only 15 years old, has reportedly been upheld and could be carried out at any time.

According to a 19 November report by the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA), on 18 December 2005, Ali reportedly led an eight-year-old boy called Jan Ahmad (also known as Ahmad) onto the site of a partially built building in Shahriar, a city south-west of the capital, Tehran, where Ali allegedly sexually assaulted him before killing him.

Ali was sentenced to death for the murder on 23 July 2007 by Branch 74 of the Tehran Province's Criminal Courts. According to the ISNA report, the sentence was upheld by Branch 39 of the Supreme Court on or around 19 November and the case was due to be sent to the Office for Implementation of Sentences.


International law strictly prohibits the use of the death penalty against people convicted of crimes committed when they were under the age of 18. Under Iranian law, children are those who have not yet attained puberty, usually defined as boys under 14 years and seven months (15 lunar years), girls under eight years and seven months (nine lunar years). The Committee on the Rights of the Child has expressed deep concern at these ages of majority because it implies that children in Iran above these ages are not covered by the provisions and principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

As a state party to the CRC and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Iran has undertaken not to execute child offenders. However, since 1990, Iran has reportedly executed at least 27 child offenders, five of them in 2007. Most recently, Mohammad Reza Turk was executed on 15 November 2007 after being convicted of murder. At least 76 child offenders are on death row in Iran. There are fears that at least 15 Afghan child offenders convicted of drug smuggling may have been, or face being, sentenced to death. Meanwhile, on 19 November 2007, a lower court in Tehran sentenced to death Khosro, a 16-year–old boy, in connection with the killing of his roommate.

For more information about Amnesty International's concerns regarding executions of child offenders in Iran, please see: Iran: The last executioner of children (AI Index: MDE 13/059/2007), published in June 2007


On 15 November, a UN resolution calling for a moratorium on executions was adopted by the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly at its 62nd session. The Resolution was adopted by a vote of 99 countries in favour and 52 against, with 33 abstentions. The General Assembly, sitting in plenary, is expected to endorse the resolution in December. The adoption of this resolution is an important milestone towards worldwide abolition of the death penalty. Ten countries from across the world co-authored the resolution although Iran opposed it.

The resolution calls upon all states that still maintain the death penalty “to establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty”. It urges these states “to respect international standards that provide safeguards guaranteeing the protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty” and “progressively restrict the use of the death penalty and reduce the number of offences for which it may be imposed”. The UN Secretary-General will report to the General Assembly in 2008 on how the resolution is being implemented.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in Persian, Arabic, English or your own language:

- expressing concern that Ali, an Afghan national aged 17, is at risk of imminent execution for a crime allegedly committed when he was under 18;

- calling on the Iranian authorities to immediately halt the execution of Ali, and calling for his death sentence to be commuted;

- urging the authorities to impose a moratorium on the implementation of the death penalty, in line with the 15 November resolution passed by the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee;

- reminding the authorities that Iran is a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which prohibitthe use of the death penalty against people convicted of crimes committed when they were under 18, and that the execution of Ali would therefore be a violation of international law;

- urging the authorities to pass legislation to abolish the death penalty for offences, including murder, committed by anyone under the age of 18, so as to bring Iran’s domestic law into line with its obligations under international law;

- stating that Amnesty International acknowledges the right and responsibility of governments to bring to justice those suspected of criminal offences, but unconditionally opposes the death penalty.


Leader of the Islamic Republic
His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei

The Office of the Supreme Leader
Islamic Republic Street - Shahid Keshvar Doust Street
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: [email protected]
Salutation: Your Excellency

Head of the Judiciary

Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi

Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Justice Building, Panzdah-Khordad Square,

Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Email: [email protected] (In the subject line write: FAO Ayatollah Shahroudi)

Salutation: Your Excellency


Speaker of Parliament

His Excellency Gholamali Haddad Adel

Majles-e Shoura-ye Eslami

Baharestan Square, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Email: [email protected]

Salutation: Your Excellency

Director, Human Rights Headquarters of Iran

His Excellency Mohammad Javad Larijani

C/o Office of the Deputy for International Affairs

Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Justice Building, Panzdah-Khordad (Ark) Square,

Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Fax: + 98 21 5 537 8827 (please keep trying)

and to diplomatic representatives of Iran accredited to your country.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your section office, if sending appeals after 3 January 2007.