The death penalty for minors and death by stoning have been omitted from the Islamic Republic’s penal code after years of review and reform of the penal laws.
Before the recent changes, adultery was punishable by being stoned to death, but in the new penal code, stoning has been replaced by hanging.
According to the new code, capital punishment will not be applied to convicts under the age of 18 or those who have not reached “intellectual growth.”
The revised penal code has been approved by the Guardian Council, which is necessary to make the changes official.
Three years ago, Iranian judiciary officials issued a directive banning the execution of juvenile offenders, but mere directives do not carry enough weight to guarantee compliance in every case.
Human rights activists in Iran have continuously protested against the execution of minors and stoning.
Minors convicted of murder were usually sentenced to death by petition of the victim’s family, and the sentence was suspended until the convict reached the age of 18.
The execution of minors is still carried out in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Sudan and Yemen.
The United States banned the execution of minors only in 2005, and four juvenile offenders were executed there between 2000 and 2004.
Iran has signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, both of which prohibit the death penalty for minors.