BEIRUT: Human Rights Watch on Wednesday called for Iran to stop executing child offenders after three people were put to death in January for crimes they committed as minors.
"Iran should immediately and unconditionally end the use of the death penalty for crimes committed by children under age 18, and move toward a complete ban on capital punishment," the New York-based rights group said in a statement.
It detailed the executions of the three detainees -- Amirhossein Pourjafar, Ali Kazemi and Mahboubeh Mofidi -- last month.
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Pourjafar, 18, was executed on January 4 in Karaj prison close to Tehran for the rape and murder of a three-year-old girl when he was 16.
Kazemi was put to death on January 30, seven years after he allegedly fatally stabbed a man dead in a street fight aged 15.
On the same day the authorities also executed Mofidi, 20, over the murder of her husband at the age of 17, some four years after they were married.
The reports of the executions came after Iran appeared to seek a reduction in executions by easing drug laws, effectively taking thousands of people off death row.
"Iran seems intent on erasing any positive impression gained from modest reforms to its drug execution laws last year by hanging several child offenders in a bloody start to 2018," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.
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The group said that Iran is "one of only four countries known to have executed child offenders since 2013", including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
Amnesty International says at least 87 people were executed in Iran from 2005 to the start of this year for crimes committed when they were minors.