LONDON: The Iranian regime is secretly executing dozens of children every year in violation of international law, according to a rights group.

More than 85 people are currently on death row for crimes they are accused of having committed as children, according to Human Rights Activists of Iran.

In its annual report, it found that 299 citizens were known to have been executed in the year to Oct. 9.

But discovering information about executions was a struggle, with the group saying judicial authorities did not make a public announcement in 82 percent of cases. It warned that up to 100 children may be secretly hanged every year.

Murder by boys aged 15 and over, and by girls aged 9 and over, is punishable by the death penalty in Iran, where confessions are often made through torture. International law bans capital punishment for crimes committed before the age of 18.