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Saman Naseem at risk of imminent execution

 

EXECUTION LOOMS FOR SAMAN NASEEM

Source: Amnesty International 

 

Iranian juvenile offender, Saman Naseem, could be executed as early as 19 February 2015 for crimes allegedly committed when he was 17 years old. He was sentenced to death after an unfair trial. 

 

The family of Saman Naseem, who is now aged 22, have received reliable information that he will be executed on 19 February. Amnesty International understands that the authorities have prevented Saman Naseem’s lawyer from pursuing the case and have not allowed him to appoint another lawyer. 

 

Saman Naseem was sentenced to death in April 2013 by a criminal court in Mahabad, West Azerbaijan Province, for “enmity against God” (moharebeh) and “corruption on earth” (ifsad fil-arz) because of his membership of the Kurdish armed opposition group Party For Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK), and for taking part in armed activities against the Revolutionary Guards. His death sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court in December 2013. 

 

According to court documents, during early investigations Saman Naseem admitted firing towards Revolutionary Guards forces in July 2011. He retracted this during the first court session, saying that he had only fired into the air and had not been aware of the content of the written “confessions” he was forced to sign as he had been kept blindfolded while he was interrogated. Saman Naseem was allowed no access to his lawyer during early investigations and he said he was tortured by being hung upside down for a lengthy period of time. 

 

Please write immediately in English, Arabic, French, Spanish or your own language: 

 Urging the Iranian authorities to stop the execution of Saman Naseem immediately and ensure that his case is subject to a judicial review; 

 Reminding them that Iran has ratified both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which strictly prohibit the use of the death penalty against people who were below 18 years of age at the time of the crime; 

 Urging them to investigate the allegation that he was tortured or otherwise ill-treated and ensure that “confessions” obtained from him under torture are not used as evidence in court. 

 

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 20 MARCH 2015 TO: 

Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran 

Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei 

The Office of the Supreme Leader 

Islamic Republic Street - End of Shahid Keshvar Doust Street 

Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran 

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Twitter: @khamenei_ir 

Salutation: Your Excellency 

 

Head of the Judiciary 

Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani 

c/o Public Relations Office 

Number 4, 2 Azizi Street intersection 

Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran 

Salutation: Your Excellency 

 

And copies to: 

President of the Islamic republic of Iran 

Hassan Rouhani 

The Presidency 

Pasteur Street, Pasteur Square 

Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran 

Twitter:@HassanRouhani (English) and @Rouhani_ir (Persian) 

 

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please insert local diplomatic addresses below: 

 

Name Address 1 Address 2 Address 3 Fax Fax number Email Email address Salutation Salutation 

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date. This is the second update of UA 234/14. Further information: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE13/049/2014/en 

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION 

 

Saman Naseem started a hunger strike on 20 November 2014, along with 23 other prisoners from Iran’s Kurdish minority, in protest at the conditions in Ward 12 of Oroumieh Central Prison, West Azerbaijan Province, where political prisoners are held. In retaliation, the authorities threatened to expedite the execution of Saman Naseem and nine other men on death row. The men ended their hunger strike after 33 days, after the authorities promised to meet their demands. 

 

Saman Naseem was arrested on 17 July 2011 after a gun battle between Revolutionary Guards and PJAK, in the city of Sardasht, West Azerbaijan Province. Court documents say that during the fight one member of the Revolutionary Guards was killed and three others were wounded. In September 2011, Saman Naseem was forced to make a “confession” which was filmed and aired on state television. He told the court that during interrogation he had been hung upside down from the ceiling while blindfolded and that the interrogators had put his fingerprints on his “confessions”, whose contents he did not know. He has also alleged that the interrogators pulled out his toenails and fingernails and subjected him to beatings which left him with bruises on his back, legs and abdomen. The court dismissed his statements and allowed the use of his “confession”. 

 

Saman Naseem was first sentenced to death in January 2012 by a Revolutionary Court but the Supreme Court overturned the sentence in August 2012 and sent the case back for a retrial as he had been under the age of 18 at the time of the alleged crimes. During his retrial, the court once again allowed the use his “confession” and sentenced him to death. 

 

Under the Islamic Penal Code, the execution of offenders under the age of 18 is allowed for qesas (retribution-in-kind) and hodoud (offences and punishments for which there are fixed penalties under Islamic law). However, Article 91 of the Islamic Penal Code excludes the death penalty for crimes that fall under these categories of punishment, if the juvenile offender did not understand the nature of the crime or its consequences, or if there are doubts about the offender’s mental capacity. 

 

The use of the death penalty against juvenile offenders – those convicted of crimes committed when they were below 18 - is strictly prohibited under international law, as set out in Article 6(5) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and Article 37(a) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), both of which Iran has ratified. Articles 37(d) and 40(2)(b)(ii) of the CRC guarantee children who have been deprived of their liberty or who are suspected of criminal offences the right to legal and other appropriate assistance in the preparation and presentation of their defence, access to which must be prompt. The best interests of the child should be a primary decision in all legal proceedings affecting children, which require particular care to ensure respect for children’s right to be free from compulsion to confess guilt or to incriminate themselves. In view of the irreversible nature of the death penalty, the proceedings in capital cases must scrupulously observe all relevant international standards protecting the right to a fair trial, including access to the services of competent defence counsel at all stages of criminal proceedings including the preliminary investigation. 

 

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception, regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime, the guilt, innocence or other characteristics of the offender or the method used by the state to carry out the execution. The death penalty violates the right to life as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. 

 

Name: Saman Naseem 

Gender m/f: m 

Further information on UA: 234/14 Index: MDE 13/004/2015 Issue Date: 6 February 2015 

 

-------------------------------------------------------

East Gulf Team

Middle East and North Africa Programme

Amnesty International

International Secretariat

1 Easton Street

London WC1X 0DW

United Kingdom

 

http://www.amnesty.org

 

Alleged juvenile offender risk of execution in Iran

Source: AI http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/iran-alleged-juvenile-offender-among-10-hunger-strikers-threatened-immediate-execution-2014-12-?linkId=11183616

16 December 2014

Iran: Alleged juvenile offender among 10 hunger strikers threatened with immediate execution

The Iranian authorities’ threat to expedite the execution of 10 men on death row in retaliation for going on hunger strike is deplorable, said Amnesty International as it called for the death sentences to be commuted immediately. 

One of the 10, Saman Naseem, was sentenced to death in 2013 for engaging in armed activities against the state after he allegedly participated in a gun battle while he was a child during which a member of the Iran’s Revolutionary Guards was killed. The 10 men are among 24 prisoners from Iran’s Kurdish minority who have been on hunger strike since 20 November 2014 in protest at the conditions of Ward 12 of Oroumieh Central Prison, West Azerbaijan Province, where political prisoners are held. 

“It is truly deplorable that the Iranian authorities are playing games with the lives of these men in such a manner. Resorting to death threats and other punitive measures to quell prisoners’ hunger strikes only serves to underscore how rotten Iran’s criminal justice system is,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa. 

“Saman Naseem was a child at the time of his alleged offence. He says he has been tortured in detention and forced to “confess”. Now, the authorities are effectively blackmailing him with the prospect of death. Executing him would be a flagrant violation of international law. His sentence must be commuted immediately.” 

Amnesty International is calling for Saman Naseem’s case to be re-examined fairly without recourse to the death penalty or relying on torture-tainted evidence, and taking into account provisions of Iran’s revised Penal Code that exclude the use of the death penalty for juvenile offenders in certain situations. 

Saman Naseem was arrested on 17 July 2011 when he was just 17 years old. He was held for two months at a Ministry of Intelligence detention centre in Oroumieh, West Azarbaijan Province. While there, he said he was tortured by interrogators who pulled out his fingernails and toenails, and beat him leaving bruises on his back, legs and abdomen. He also said he was forced to sign a written “confession” while blindfolded. 

On 14 December, Saman Naseem was transferred to a prison clinic suffering from low blood pressure and physical weakness, but he refused to break his hunger strike. He was returned to Ward 12 the same day. 

Prisoners in Ward 12 at Oroumieh Central Prison went on hunger strike to protest against a decision to transfer 40 prisoners convicted of serious crimes, such as murder and armed robbery, to their ward leading to a deterioration in their security. 

In addition to execution threats, the prison authorities have also reportedly subjected those on hunger strike to beatings and other punitive practices and threatened them with transfer to remote prisons in the south of the country, so as to force them to end their hunger strike. 

The prisoners, who are all members of Iran’s Kurdish minority, say that they will continue their hunger strike until the authorities put an end to the abuse of prisoners. The hunger strikers who are not on death row are serving prison sentences ranging from six months to 34 years. 

“The death penalty is a cruel and inhuman punishment under any circumstances. Instead of dealing out threats of execution against these prisoners the authorities must commute their death sentences and ensure they are treated humanely,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui. 

Background 

Saman Naseem was sentenced to death on charges of “enmity against God” (moharebeh) and “corruption on earth” (ifsad fil-arz) for allegedly carrying out armed activities against Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. 

He was first sentenced to death in January 2012 by the Revolutionary Court of Mahabad but the sentence was overturned by Branch 32 of the Supreme Court in August that year for lack of jurisdiction by the Revolutionary Court and because Saman Naseem was under 18 at the time of the alleged offence. His case was reverted to Branch 2 of the Criminal Court of West Azerbaijan Province for re-trial. 

In April 2013 he was sentenced to death again by Branch 2 of the Criminal Court of West Azerbaijan Province. The judgement made no mention of the issue that Saman Naseem was under 18 at the time of the alleged the crime. Branch 32 of the Supreme Court subsequently upheld his death sentence in December 2013. He could be executed at any time as his death sentence has been sent to the Office of the Implementation of Sentences. 

Under Iran’s revised Islamic Penal Code, passed into law in May 2013, the execution of offenders under the age of 18 is allowed under qesas (retribution-in-kind) and hodoud crimes under Islamic law, unless the juvenile offender is found to have not understood the nature of the crime or its consequences, or if there are doubts about their mental capacity. 

In 2014, Amnesty International received reports of the execution of at least 14 individuals for crimes allegedly committed while they were under 18 years of age. The use of the death penalty against juvenile offenders is strictly prohibited under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of a Child, which Iran is a party to. 

The names of the other nine prisoners on death row are, in alphabetical order: Ali Afshari, Habib Afshari, Behrouz Alkhani, Mohammad Abdollahi, Sayed Sami Hosseini, Sayed Jamal Mohammadi, Sirvan Nejavi, Ebrahim Rezapour, Ali Ahmad Soleiman.