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U.N. experts urge Iran to halt execution of juvenile offender Hossein Shahbazi

U.N. experts urge Iran to halt execution of juvenile offender Hossein Shahbazi
A group of four United Nations experts urged Iran to halt the execution of 20-year-old Hossein Shahbazi who was arrested for fatally stabbing a classmate during a fight involving four people when he was 17. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 13 (UPI) -- A group of four independent United Nations experts on Thursday urged Iran to halt the execution of juvenile offender Hossein Shahbazi.

The experts said they were "dismayed" by the decision of Iranian authorities to proceed with the execution of Shahbazi, 20, who was arrested for fatally stabbing a classmate during a fight involving four people when he was 17.

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"We urge the Iranian authorities to immediately and permanently halt the execution of Hossein Shahbazi and annul his death sentence, in line with international human rights law," the experts said.

The experts noted that the court relied in part on confessions reportedly obtained under torture and ill-treatment as Shahbazi was interrogated by police for 11 days, during which he was also denied access to a lawyer and his family.

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Shahbazi's execution was scheduled to take place on Jan. 5, but was temporarily halted.

He "remains at risk of imminent execution," the experts said.

The experts also noted that Shahbazi's execution has been scheduled to take place four times, stating that this has caused "irreversible psychological pain and suffering to him and his family."

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Previously they had raised concerns about Shahbazi's impending execution to which the government responded that a stay of execution was granted to facilitate reconciliation for a pardon.

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"We underline again that reconciliation efforts to not replace the government's obligation to prohibit such executions," the experts said. "International law unequivocally forbids the imposition of the death penalty on persons below 18 years of age. Iran must observe its international obligations by imposing de jure and de facto moratorium on the execution of juvenile offenders once and for all."

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