20 February 2015 – FIDH (a founding member of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty) and its Iranian member organisations, the League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI) and the Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC) strongly condemn the illegal execution of juvenile offender Saman Naseem that reportedly took place yesterday morning in Iran.
“The continuing execution of prisoners of conscience and juvenile offenders by the Iranian authorities is illegal and reprehensible,” stated Karim Lahidji, FIDH President. “Moreover, the regime’s deliberate policy of denying information to families of death row prisoners, intended to intimidate the Iranian people, violates international law and basic human rights.”
Our organisations received information that Saman Naseem’s relatives were contacted by the Iranian authorities yesterday afternoon and were told to collect his personal effects from prison on Saturday and to keep quiet. Naseem was reportedly executed yesterday morning in the presence of representatives from the Office of the Prosecutor and the Ministry of Intelligence.
Naseem was sentenced to death in 2013 after being convicted of vague charges including moharebeh (“waging war on God”) and “corruption on Earth” for his alleged participation in armed activities in 2011 as a member of the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK). He was only 17 years old at the time of his alleged crimes, making his death sentence and execution illegal under international law: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, both of which Iran has ratified, prohibit the death penalty for juvenile offenders. Nevertheless, Iran ignored international law and calls from international human rights groups, the United Nations, and the European Union to halt Naseem’s illegal execution.
5 other prisoners of conscience had also reportedly been sent to solitary confinement yesterday, in apparent preparation for their execution: Habibollah Afshari and Ali Afshari (two brothers accused of collaboration with Kumala, a Kurdish opposition group), Sirvan Nejavi and Ebrahim Shapouri (both convicted of collaboration with PJAK), and Yunes Aqayan (also spelled Younes Aghayan, a member of a religious minority group who was sentenced to death for moharebeh). The fate of these five individuals is yet unknown.
Our organisations are firmly opposed to the death penalty under all circumstances as it constitutes an inhuman treatment, and call on the Iranian authorities to introduce a moratorium on executions as the first step toward the abolition of death penalty. In particular, death sentences and executions against minors and for prisoners of conscience must cease immediately.