When will Iran stop executing juveniles?

In the wake of the agreement on limiting its nuclear programs, Iran has been busy trying to present itself as open to the modern world and re-establishing economic and political relations with the West. To that end, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has embarked on a tour of European capitals. He started with Italy and the Vatican, where on Jan. 26 he met with Pope Francis.

But according to a recent report by Amnesty International, Iran’s juvenile justice system reveals another reality. Iran is ranked among the leading countries in the world in executions of juveniles. Though Iran had pledged over 20 years ago to eliminate the practice of applying the death penalty to juveniles under the age of 18, the evidence shows otherwise. In the 10-year period from 2005 to 2015, over 73 juveniles were executed by the state. Since ratifying the 1994 Convention of the Rights of the Child, Iran has claimed that it has “modernized” its juvenile justice system. Cynically, the Iranians claim they do not execute underage juveniles; in practice the state waits until they reach age 21 before doing so. Currently, there are 160 juveniles on death row in Iran.

Advertisement

According to Michael G. Bochenek, senior counsel of the children’s rights division of Human Rights Watch, Iran is a “world leader” in juvenile executions. According to Amnesty International, other countries in this “class” are China, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. The United States did not eliminate the death penalty for juveniles until 2005. When will Iran do so?

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Pro-life advocates participate in the annual March for Life in Washington January 2017. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)
Describing abortion as a “key social evil” in the United States, the Jesuits say: “The most fundamental building block of a just social order is respect for human life.”
America StaffJanuary 19, 2018
Men carry a replica of Peru's most revered religious icon, the "Lord of Miracles," during an Oct. 18, 2017 procession in Lima. Each year thousands of Catholics gather to commemorate the image's survival in a 17th-century earthquake that destroyed Lima. (CNS photo/Mariana Bazo, Reuters)
Father Ernesto Cavassa was provincial of the Jesuits in Peru from 1998 to 2004, and president of the Conference of Latin American Jesuit Provincials from 2005 to 2012.
Gerard O’ConnellJanuary 18, 2018
For over 45 years, Feminists for Life has been committed to ending the practice and legality of abortion and promoting the feminism of Susan B. Anthony.
Serrin M. FosterJanuary 18, 2018
A President Donald Trump supporter is see seen at the annual March for Life in Washington Jan. 27. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)
During their tenure in office, President Ronald Reagan, President George H.W. Bush and President George W. Bush all addressed the march via telephone or a radio hookup from the Oval Office.
Catholic News ServiceJanuary 18, 2018