At dawn on Thursday, December 31, 2020, the Iranian regime committed another crime by hanging a juvenile offender. Authorities executed Mohammad Hassan Rezaei at the Lakan Prison in the city of Rasht, Gilan province in the north of Iran.
“Mr. Rezaii had been taken to solitary confinement once before last year to prepare for execution. But the implementation of his verdict was postponed. He was taken for execution again, two weeks ago, but the implementation of the verdict was postponed, and he was returned to the ward,” the Iran Human Rights Monitor reported.
Twelve years ago, the State Security Forces (SSF) detained 16-year-old Mohammad Hassan Rezaei for a murder allegation. According to the case, he had been involved in a street clash, leading to the death of one citizen with a cold weapon.
Like many detainees, security forces immediately transferred Rezaei to a dungeon, exposing him to torture and ill-treatment to ‘confess.’ Inhuman pressure eventually pushed the juvenile to confess to what he had not committed. Afterward, Iran’s full of flaws judiciary filed Rezaei’s torture-tainted remarks as reliable evidence and sentenced him to death.
The regime had transferred Mr. Rezaei to solitary confinement to prepare him for execution on Wednesday morning. This issue prompted human rights organizations and activists to sound alarm bells about an imminent death penalty.
Since December 18, Amnesty International called on the Iranian regime to “Stop execution of young man arrested at 16 and forced to ‘confess’ under torture.
“After more than 12 years on death row, Mohammad Hassan Rezaiee was transferred to solitary confinement in Lakan Prison in Rasht on Thursday, and his family was told that his execution would be carried out ‘in a week’. The Iranian authorities are yet again waging an abhorrent assault on children’s rights and making an absolute mockery of juvenile justice,” said Diana Eltahawy, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.
On December 30, Amnesty International called on Iranian authorities to revoke Mohammad Hassan’s death sentence. It also urged human rights activists and citizens to convince the mullahs to spare this young man’s life using the ‘#SaveHassan‘ hashtag. Amnesty also condemned the unfair trial of Rezaei, calling for a retrial.
“Mohammad Hassan Rezaiee arrested at 16 and tortured to “confess” is hours away from execution in a prison in Rasht, Iran. [The Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei, [President] Hassan Rouhani, and [Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad] Zarif must halt his execution now and ensure a fair retrial in accordance with the rules of juvenile justice. #SaveHassan,” the Iranian branch of Amnesty International tweeted on the same day.
Mohammad Hassan Rezaiee arrested at 16 and tortured to "confess” is hours away from execution in a prison in Rasht, Iran. @khamenei_ir @HassanRouhani @JZarif must halt his execution now and ensure a fair retrial in accordance with the rules of juvenile justice. #SaveHassan pic.twitter.com/Yvmy0LlEym
— Amnesty Iran (@AmnestyIran) December 30, 2020
However, Iranian authorities once again showed their defiance of international norms and appeals. With the criminal execution of Mohammad Hassan Rezaei, the mullahs recorded at least 258 executions in 2020. The victims include four juvenile offenders, nine women, and eight political prisoners.
In 2020, six juvenile offenders were executed, four of them were Iranians. Meanwhile, on May 2, the Iranian regime clandestinely executed two 17-year-old boys Mehdi Sohrabi-Far and Amin Sedaghat at the Shiraz Central Prison, in Fars province.
Notably, in 2019, the regime executed six juvenile offenders, showing a deteriorating situation of human rights in Iran. Iran’s judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi is known as one of the perpetrators of the mass killing of more than 30,000 political prisoners in the summer of 1988.
During Raisi’s tenure, the regime has intensified blunt suppression such as executing, flogging, and amputating people in public and issuing severe punishments against political and civil rights activists, prisoners of conscience, and followers of ethnic and religious minorities such as long-term imprisonments and even death penalties. Raisi and his appointees commit all these crimes under the pretext of ‘security,’ and they proudly tout their inhuman crimes.
Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), severely condemned this execution. “A prisoner was executed today in Rasht after 13 years of imprisonment. He had been arrested at the age of 16. Continued executions in Zahedan, Sanandaj and Urmia show that this regime cannot survive without torture and executions,” she tweeted.
“I call for urgent action to save death-row prisoners, particularly minors, whose execution is in violation of international conventions,” Mrs. Rajavi added.
I call for urgent action to save death-row prisoners, particularly minors, whose execution is in violation of international conventions. #FreePoliticalPrisoners
— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) December 31, 2020