Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

https://www.iranrights.org
Omid, a memorial in defense of human rights in Iran
One Person’s Story

Turaj Azizi

About

Age: 22
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Unknown

Case

Date of Killing: July 28, 2019
Location of Killing: Nur Prison, Nur, Mazandaran Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Murder
Age at time of offense: 16

About this Case

News of Mr. Turaj Azizi (Aziz-zadeh’s) execution was published on the IRNA (Islamic Republic News Agency) website and on the HRANA (Human Rights Activists in Iran News Agency) website, quoting the Nur County General and Revolutionary Prosecutor. Additional information regarding this case was gathered from the TAVANA Facebook page.

Mr. Azizi was single, from the Chamestan District of Nur County in Mazandaran Province.

His case is related to a murder in 2014 in the Chamestan village in Mazandaran Province. He was only 16 years old at the time of this murder.

International laws have strictly prohibited capital punishment for those who were under the age of 18 at the time of committing a crime. As a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Iran has the obligation not to impose capital punishment for an offence committed before the age of eighteen.

Arrest and detention

Mr. Azizi spent six years in Nur Prison. (HRANA). Nur County General and Revolutionary Prosecutor announced that Mr. Azizi had spent five years in prison. (IRNA). However, there is no information about the details of his arrest and detention.

Trial

A court in Nur County tried Mr. Azizi but there is no information about the trial session(s).

Charges

Mr. Azizi’s charge was announced as “murder”.

A source with knowledge of Mr. Azizi’s murder charge said: “Six years ago when he was 16, he had killed a 19 year old man in a fight.” (HRANA). IRNA News Agency declared Mr. Azizi’s age at the time of the crime as 18.

The validity of the criminal charges brought against this defendant cannot be ascertained in the absence of the basic guarantees of a fair trial.  International human rights organizations have drawn attention to reports indicating that the Islamic Republic authorities have brought trumped-up charges, including drug trafficking, sexual, and other criminal offences, against their opponents (including political, civil society activists, as well as unionists and ethnic and religious minorities). Each year Iranian authorities sentence to death hundreds of alleged common criminals, following judicial processes that fail to meet international standards. The exact number of people convicted and executed based on trumped-up charges is unknown.

Evidence of guilt

The report of this execution does not contain information regarding the evidence provided against the defendant.

Defense

Mr. Azizi was 16 years old at the time of the crime. Nur County General and Revolutionary Prosecutor has declared his age at the time of the crime as 18, which is in question by certain media (HRANA). No information is available about his defense.

A Summary of the Defects of Mr. Turaj Azizi’ss Legal Proceedings

According to certain reports, Turaj Azizi was 16 years old at the time of the murder. Although the age of criminal responsibility in Iranian law is the age where an individual reaches puberty, and Mr. Azizi had reached puberty at the time of the murder, the change in the Islamic Penal Code in 2013, provides individuals under the age of 18 with the possibility of being exempt from the death penalty. Pursuant to Article 91 of said Law, “In crimes requiring Hadd or Qesas, if the individuals under the age of 18 who have attained puberty cannot comprehend the nature of the crime or the prohibition thereof, or if there is doubt as to their mental development [and capacity] and maturity, they will be sentenced to the punishments prescribed in this chapter on a case by case basis. In order to ascertain mental development and maturity, the court may obtain the medical examiner’s opinion, or utilize any other method it deems appropriate.” In the present case, it appears that judicial authorities did not believe that Turaj Azizi was not mentally developed and mature at the time of the murder. Generally speaking, however, a 16-year-old individual can hardly understand the nature of his/her actions as would an adult. There is no unified procedure in Iranian courts to ascertain a person’s mental development and maturity. What courts generally take into account is the defendant’s conduct at the time of the murder and thereafter. Lack of a unified procedure, and not making proper use of specialized medical and psychological capabilities, has resulted in certain defendants under the age of 18 being found as lacking mental development and maturity in certain cases, and as mentally developed and mature in other similar cases, and therefore subject to the death penalty. It therefore appears that Article 91 is not applied to certain juvenile offenders in a methodical and well thought out manner. Furthermore, pursuant to Article 37 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Iran became a signatory in 1993, issuance of a death sentence for individuals who were under the age of 18 at the time of the commission of the crime is prohibited. Additionally, according to Article 6(5) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, it is prohibited to issue a sentence of death for individuals under the age of 18. Even though the Iranian government made certain reservations when becoming a party to both of these conventions, violation of these conventions constitutes, however, a breach of its obligations and of international laws and regulations.

Judgment

A court in Nur County sentenced Mr. Turaj Azizi to death.

On Sunday, July 28, 2019, Mr. Azizi was hanged inside Nur County Prison.

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