Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 24th February 2005.

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Photo of Andrew MacKinlay Andrew MacKinlay Labour, Thurrock

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many persons under 18 years he estimates are held under death penalty sentence in Iran; what information he has received in relation to each person's (a) personal details and (b) crime; what representations the Government has made, and on what date, in respect of each individual case; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Bill Rammell Bill Rammell Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Foreign & Commonwealth Office

We take the sentencing to death of juveniles very seriously. Ministers have made clear our concerns on many occasions. Most recently I did so when I met the Iranian Ambassador on 7 February.

Amnesty International report that there are currently at least 30 juveniles awaiting execution. With our strong support the EU has, in the last six months, urged the Iranian authorities to review the sentences imposed on 15 juvenile cases. Individual cases also form an important part of the EU-Iran Human Rights Dialogue; the last session took place in June 2004.

The UK, along with all other EU member states, co-sponsored a resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly on 21 December, which called on Iran, "to comply with its obligations under article 37 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights not to impose the sentence of death for offences committed by persons below eighteen years of age".

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