Iran executes Arman Abdolali over killing that took place when he was a minor

Tehran executed at least 246 people last year, Amnesty International estimates

Iran executed a man found guilty of killing his girlfriend when he was a minor at the age of 17, the judiciary said on Wednesday, despite calls from human rights groups to spare his life.

Arman Abdolali was executed at dawn in the Rajal Shahr prison near the capital Tehran. He was convicted of murdering Ghazaleh Shakour in 2014.

Amnesty International had appealed on October 11 for Iran to halt the execution of the 25-year-old. The group said he had been sentenced to death twice, in 2015 and 2020, but that the execution was stopped both times following international outcries.

Amnesty described the 2015 trial as "grossly unfair," saying the court relied on "torture-tainted 'confessions'" following Shakour's disappearance.

"This young man was not a criminal," Hadi Sadeghi, a judicial official, was quoted as saying by Iranian media in October.

"Like the victim, he came from a respectable family. In prison, Arman continued his studies to obtain a master's degree in education," he said.

"The two families knew each other and the victim and the accused intended to get married," Mr Sadeghi added.

The body of Shakour, who was 19 at the time of her disappearance, was never found.

The victim's mother had said she would forgive Abdolali if he revealed the location of her body, the judiciary's Mizan Online website reported.

UN human rights experts also appealed to Iran to halt the execution.

"International human rights law unequivocally forbids imposition of the death sentence on anyone under 18 years of age," said the Geneva-based UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Iran executed at least 246 people last year, retaining its place as the most prolific user of capital punishment in the region and the second worldwide after China, Amnesty said.

In July, a senior Iranian official said the Islamic republic was doing its best to bring down to zero the number of executions of child offenders.

"We are going to the zero point," said Majid Tafreshi of the state-run High Council for Human Rights, insisting that was the "will of the system" of the country.

Updated: November 24, 2021, 12:56 PM