Iranian juvenile offender Amir Amrollahi has been sentenced to death for the second time, after a retrial and following a decade in prison. The court rejected the conclusion of an official forensic report which had said he had not attained “mental growth and maturity” at the time of the crime, in November 2005, when he was 16 years old .
Amnesty International understands that at the time of his first trial in 2007, Amir Amrollahi’s family did not have the financial means to secure competent legal representation. According to a lawyer who later took the case, the court failed to adequately consider Amir Amrollahi’s mental state at the time of the incident or that he was prescribed heavy doses of sedatives while in prison awaiting trial. As a state party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Iran is legally obliged to treat everyone under the age of 18 as a child. they should never be subjected to the death penalty or life imprisonment without the possibility of release.
The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child reviewed Iran’s implementation of the CRC in January 2016. The Committee’s Concluding Observations express “serious concern” that the exemption of juvenile offenders from the death penalty is “under full discretion of judges who are allowed, but not mandated to seek forensic expert opinion and that several persons have been resentenced to death following such retrials”. Beside Amir Amrollahi, Amnesty International is aware of at least seven other juvenile offenders – Salar Shadizadi, Hamid Ahmadi, Sajad Sanjari, Siavash Mahmoudi, Himan Uraminejad and Amanj Veisee, and Fatemeh Salbehi – who have been retried, found to have sufficient “mental growth and maturity” at the time of the crime and sentenced to death again. The execution of Fatemeh Salbehi, who was 17 years old at the time of the commission of the crime, was carried out in October 2015. Amnesty International has recorded at least 73 executions of juvenile offenders between 2005 and 2015. According to the UN at least 160 juvenile offenders are now on death row (See Growing up on death row.