July 13, 2015
An Iranian juvenile offender whose fate and whereabouts had been unknown since he was due to be executed in February was able to call his relatives from prison over the weekend, ending five months of unbearable suffering by his loved ones, who did not know what had happened to him, Amnesty International revealed.
Saman Naseem, 21, was sentenced to death in April 2013 after a deeply flawed trial that relied on self-incriminating evidence extracted under torture. The day before he was due to be executed, he was transferred to an unknown location, which has now been confirmed to be Zanjan Prison, north-west of Tehran. Neither his family nor lawyers were given any concrete information about his whereabouts until now.
The Supreme Court has also granted Saman Naseem’s application for judicial review, which means that his conviction and death sentence are quashed and that he is entitled to a full retrial.
“The welcome revelation that Saman Naseem was not executed and will receive a retrial is incredible news for his relatives, but raises very troubling questions about what the authorities have been doing to him while they held him in secret,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
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