Iran hangs teenager, Alireza Molla-Soltani

Iran held a public execution Wednesday of a teenager, Alireza Molla-Soltani, who had been convicted of killing a popular athlete.

The official IRNA news agency reported that a large crowd gathered at the scene of the crime in Karaj, a city west of Iran's capital, to watch the execution, AFP reports. Officials then held a hanging of Molla-Soltani, who was 17.

Authorities convicted Molla-Soltani of stabbing Ruhollah Dadashi to death in July. He was sentenced to death in August.

Amnesty International called on the authorities to halt the execution. The human rights group said the teenager had acted in self-defense during a fight over a driving accident.

"Executing juvenile offenders is strictly forbidden under international treaties that Iran has signed up to," Amnesty's Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui told AFP.

The prosecution argued that according to the lunar calendar, Molla-Soltani was over 18 and could be killed, UPI reports.

There have been 203 executions in Iran this year, which has drawn steep criticism from rights groups.

Meanwhile, Iran freed two American hikers Wednesday, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, who had been convicted of spying after being caught in the country.

A senior U.S. official told CNN the young men were released from jail Wednesday and immediately turned over to the custody of an Omani official. It reports that the men's families are in Oman, where they will receive medical checkups before being sent back to the United States.