Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

Omid, a memorial in defense of human rights in Iran
One Person’s Story

Shayan Sa'idpur


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


Date of Killing: April 21, 2020
Location of Killing: Saqqez Prison, Saqqez, Kordestan Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Murder
Age at time of alleged offense: 17

About this Case

News of the execution of Shayan Sa'idpur (also spelled Saeedpour) was published by both Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) and Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) on April 21, 2020. Additional information was gathered through an Abdorrahman Boroumand Center for Human Rights in Iran (ABC) interview with an informed source on February 2, 2019; from HRANA reports published December 6, 2018 and April 19, 2020; from an IRNA article dated April 5, 2020; from an Amnesty International report dated April 21, 2020; and from an April 22, 2020 statement from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. On April 21, 2020, both IRNA and Mizan Online News Agency disputed reports from human rights bodies stating that he was a minor at the time of his offense, and that his criminal responsibility was further diminished by other case facts. Information regarding Mr. Sa'idpur's prison conditions was drawn from the ABC report “COVID-19 Fear in Iran's Prisons,” published April 21, 2020.

Mr. Sa'idpur was born September 21, 1997 and was a native of Saqqez, Kurdistan Province. According to a family member, he competed in Zurkhaneh, a form of traditional Iranian athletics, for which he previously placed top in his province and third in the country. His family and an informed source reported that he struggled with mental health issues (HRANA 12/6/2018).

This case was brought about by the killing of a young man in a street fight that broke out among a group of youth on August 16, 2015 (HRANA 12/6/2018). 

Iran counts among the small number of countries who sentence juvenile offenders to death, and has in recent years issued more death sentences to juvenile offenders than any other country in the world. In 2019, at least four children were executed in Iran. The age of maturity in the Islamic Republic is currently set at 15 years for boys and 9 years for girls. 

International human rights organizations, including Amnesty International and the United Nations, have condemned the execution of Mr. Sa’idpur, which per the statement of UN High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet is “absolutely prohibited under international human rights law.” In her statement published April 22, 2020, Bachelet noted:

“Despite repeated interventions and engagement by my own Office with the Government of Iran on this issue, the sentencing and executions of child offenders continue,” Bachelet said. “This is both regrettable and, given the clear illegality of these actions, reprehensible. I repeat my call on Iranian authorities to honour its international human rights obligations, immediately halt all executions of juvenile offenders and commute all such death sentences.”

International laws strictly prohibit capital punishment against those under the age of 18 at the time of committing a crime. As a party to the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Iran is bound to abstain from capital punishment in the cases of such juvenile offenders.

Arrest and detention

Accompanied by his father, Mr. Sa'idpur turned himself into police in the city of Bukan on August 19, 2015, three days after he fatally wounded a fellow Saqqez native named Soleiman Azadi in a street fight that had broken out among a group of youth on August 16, 2015 (HRANA 12/6/2018).

While imprisoned in Saqqez, Mr. Sa’idpur was among a group of more than 70 inmates that managed to escape on March 28, 2020 following a riot that had broken out (IRNA 4/5/2020). At the time, Saqqez prison was one of many across the country experiencing acute prisoner unrest in response to overcrowding and inadequate safety protocols during the Covid-19 pandemic (ABC 4/21/2020). Kurdistan Public and Revolutionary Prosecutor Mohammad Jabbari refuted claims that the escape was related to concerns over Covid-19, but failed to provide further explanation. (IRNA 4/5/2020) 

Shortly after the escape, Mr. Sa'idpur was re-arrested and exiled to Sanandaj prison (HRANA 4/19/2020).


Judge Vefayan of Branch 1 of Kurdistan Criminal Court tried and sentenced Mr. Sa'idpur on October 23, 2018. The ruling was appealed to the Supreme Court in February of 2019 (HRANA 4/19/2020).


According to an informed source, Mr. Sa'idpur was charged with alcohol consumption and intentional murder (HRANA 4/21/2020).

Evidence of guilt

According to Amnesty International, the Legal Medicine Organization of Iran determined that Mr. Sa'idpur “‘had attained ‘mental maturity’ at the time of the crime’ and ‘could distinguish between right and wrong.’” It was reported that these findings were initially issued by experts in Kurdistan and later affirmed experts by Kermanshah (HRANA 04/21/2020).


According to Mr. Sa'idpur’s family members, he was exactly 17 years, 10 months, and 25 days old at the time of the crime. The fact that he was a minor was affirmed in reports that quoted another informed source (HRANA 12/6/2018).

Under Article 91 of the Islamic Penal code, in force since 2013, judges can spare minor defendants who would otherwise be subject to harsh sentences by hadd or qesas when evidence casts doubt on their ability to comprehend the nature or impact of the crime. 

Family members refuted the assessments that Mr. Sa’idpur was able to comprehend the nature and impact of his crime. Sources close to him stated that he had a history of self-harm, seemed oblivious to what had taken place in exchanges from prison (HRANA 12/6/2018), and had been in psychological treatment since January of 2015, eight months before the crime took place (HRANA 4/19/20). The findings of the Legal Medicine Organization were disputed in court, underlining that Mr. Sa'idpur had a history of impulse control disorder (HRANA 12/6/2018). 

Two witnesses at Mr. Sa'idpur’s trial testified that he was under the influence of homemade alcohol at the time of the crime (HRANA 4/19/20). In an interview with ABC, an informed source emphasized that Mr. Sa'idpur’s criminal responsibility was diminished by his state of inebriation (ABC 2/5/19). It is unclear how the court, while sentencing him to flogging for alcohol consumption, reasoned that alcohol consumption was immaterial to the case. 

A Summary of the Legal Defects in the Adjudication of Mr. Shayan Sa’idpur

According to available information, Mr. Shayan Sa’idpur was under the age of 18 at the time of the commission of the murder. Pursuant to Article 91 of the Islamic Penal Code, if an individual under the age of 18 commits a crime but does not comprehend the nature of the crime or the prohibition thereof, or if there is doubt as to his/her mental development [and capacity] and maturity, that individual will be sentenced to Qesas. What we see in this case is that the Medical Examiner’s Office and the trial court were of the opinion that Shayan had the requisite mental development and maturity, [which was ascertained] solely based on the type of murder and the defendant’s conduct after the commission of the crime, whereas, it seems that in order to satisfy the requirements of Article 91, there must be an assessment of the criminal’s personality conducted by expert psychologists. Furthermore, Shayan Sa’idpur turned himself in to the Police after the murder, which shows that he had committed the crime in particular circumstances and that he felt remorse thereafter. Generally, it seems that the examinations and assessments necessary to ascertain the defendant’s mental capacity and maturity were not properly conducted. Additionally, although the case had been thoroughly adjudicated, it seems that his execution was hastened after his escape from prison and his subsequent arrest. Escape from prison is a separate crime, defined in criminal law, and completely unrelated to the implementation of a particular punishment. Therefore, hastening his execution was contrary to the customary judicial norms of Iran, when the possibility of the murder victim’s next of kin forgoing Qesas [and thus sparing Mr. Sa’idpur’s execution] still existed. In accordance with Article 37 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Iran is a signatory as of 1993, it is prohibited to issue a death sentence for individuals who were under the age of 18 at the time of the commission of the crime. Furthermore, in accordance with Article 6, Paragraph 5, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, “a sentence of death shall not be imposed for crimes committed by persons below eighteen years of age”. Although the government of Iran has ratified both of these conventions with certain reservations, acting in contravention to their provisions is nevertheless a violation of international obligations and regulations.


Branch 1 of Kurdistan Criminal Court sentenced Mr. Sa’idpur to flogging and death (qesas) on October 23, 2018. The family of the victim stated that they were “under no circumstances” willing to pardon him. The Supreme court upheld his death sentence in February of 2019 (HRANA 4/21/2020).

It was reported on April 19 of 2020 that Mr. Sa'idpur was among 7 inmates transferred to solitary confinement prior to their execution, and that his family had been summoned to say their final goodbyes (HRANA 4/19/2020). 

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