a reconciliation commission, a working group tasked to support mediation with the next of kin
victim, conflict resolution council branches and the Women and Children and Protection Office
of the judiciary. 7 There is no readily available information indicating the number of cases
concerning children that have been received, reviewed and adjudicated by these institutions.
However, the Government of the Islamic of Iran stated that the State was not intervening in the
execution of the sentence in cases of qisas, which “is only possible on the basis of the request of
the owners of the blood”.8 Ultimately, if the next of kin of the victim does not grant pardon in
exchange for diya, the sentence must be fulfilled, with no option for the accused, including
children, to seek pardon or commutation from the State.
Additionally, Article 91 of the 2013 Islamic Penal Code allows judges to issue alternative
sentences in circumstances where the juveniles “do not realize the nature of the crime committed
or its prohibition, or if there is uncertainty about their full mental development, according to their
age”.9 The Article further adds that “the court may ask the opinion of forensic medicine or resort
to any other method that it sees appropriate in order to establish the full mental development”.10
In 2017, a number of special procedure mandate holders described ongoing executions of child
offenders in the Islamic Republic of Iran as “conclusive proof of the failure of the 2013
amendments to stop the execution of individuals sentenced to death as children”.11 In 2019, the
Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran found that the
aforementioned assessment of the mental development of the accused at the time of the offence
was “arbitrary and inconsistent, and at the sole discretion of the judge, who can choose whether
to seek medical advice or not”.12 In recent years, reports indicate that courts have been selective
in applying Article 91 and its note.13 There were cases where, despite forensic reports confirming
that the defendant was not “fully mature” at the time of the crime, the judge decided that the
accused individual(s) were mature and the language of Article 91 did not apply to them, as they
had previously been charged for criminal activities (e.g., robbery).
In general, the current Iranian legal framework permits the issuance of the death penalty for
those under the age of 18, and the reforms introduced by the Islamic Penal Code have not
7

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, January 2019,

https://undocs.org/Home/Mobile?FinalSymbol=A%2FHRC%2F40%2F67&Language=E&DeviceType=Desktop

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, January 2019,
https://undocs.org/en/A/HRC/40/67
9
Islamic Penal Code (2013), English translation, Iran Human Rights Documentation Center,
8

https://iranhrdc.org/english-translation-of-books-i-ii-of-the-new-islamic-penal-code/
10

See Islamic Penal Code (2013), English translation, Iran Human Rights Documentation Center,

https://iranhrdc.org/english-translation-of-books-i-ii-of-the-new-islamic-penal-code/.
11
See OHCHR News, www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=21547&LangID=E
12

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, January 2019,

https://undocs.org/Home/Mobile?FinalSymbol=A%2FHRC%2F40%2F67&Language=E&DeviceType=Desktop
13
Amnesty International, https://www.amnestyusa.org/press-releases/irans-hypocrisy-exposed-as-scores-of-juvenileoffenders-condemned-to-gallows/

2

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