Sunday, September 09, 2007


Amnesty International: Public Statement

AMNESTY INTERNATIONALPublic StatementAI Index: MDE 13/110/2007 (Public)News Service No: 1715 September 2007Iran: Amnesty International appalled at the spiralling numbers of executionsAmnesty International is appalled at the reports of the execution of 21 people inIran this morning, bringing the total number of executions recorded by the organizationsince the start of 2007 to 210.This figure exceeds the 177 executions recorded in 2006, although the true figurefor both years is likely to be higher. At least two child offenders were among thoseexecuted to date in 2007.Amnesty International has catalogued scores of unfair trials in recent years andthe organisation is concerned that many of those executed today faced unfair trials,and a failure to ensure that fair trial safeguards in death penalty cases are implementedin all cases without exemption or discrimination.Under Iranian law, the accused has no right to legal representation prior to beingformally charged. The UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitraryexecutions has stated that all defendants facing the imposition of capital punishmentmust benefit from the services of a competent defence counsel at every stage ofthe proceedingsThe scope of capital crimes in Iran remains extraordinarily large and includes vaguelyworded charges, such as "enmity against God" (moharebeh ba Khoda) "beingcorrupt on earth" (mofsed fil arz), which refer, inter alia, to those accusedof using firearms against the state; carrying out acts of robbery and to those whoare considered to be carrying out espionage against the government. These crimes,including those of are adultery by married people, and same-sex sexual conduct,regarded as a crime against God and as such are not subject to pardon. Discretionarylaws over which judges have the power to impose the death penalty include thoserelating to national security offences.Article 6(2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to whichIran is a state party states: "In countries which have not abolished the deathpenalty, sentence of death may be imposed only for the most serious crimes..."The UN Human Rights Committee, the independent body that reviews states' implementationof this treaty has stated: "The Committee is of the opinion that the expression'most serious crimes' must be read restrictively to mean that the deathpenalty should be a quite exceptional measure." Furthermore, Safeguard 1 ofthe Safeguards Guaranteeing Protection of the Rights of Those Facing the Death Penalty,adopted by the UN Economic and Social Council in 1984, states: "In countrieswhich have not abolished the death penalty, capital punishment may be imposed onlyfor the most serious crimes, it being understood that their scope should not gobeyond intentional crimes, with lethal or other extremely grave consequences."At least four of the executions today, in Shiraz, were carried out in public, althoughthe UN Human Rights Committee has stated: "Public executions are... incompatiblewith human dignity." At least two of those executed in Shiraz appeared to havebelonged to Iran's Baluchi minority. Amnesty International is concerned thatmembers of Iran's Baluchi minority have formed a significant proportion of thoseexecuted in Iran.Amnesty International continues to urge the Iranian authorities to stop executingchild offenders; to implement all required safeguards in capital cases and to limitthe scope of crimes punishable by death, as a first step towards its total abolition.The organisation is calling for an immediate moratorium on executions in Iran. TheUN General Assembly's (UNGA) 62nd session in October 2007 will vote on a resolutioncalling for a global moratorium on executions, to be introduced as a step towardsthe abolition of the death penalty. Amnesty International calls on Iran to haltthe continuing use of this most extreme penalty, which is a gross violation of humanrights and to back this resolution.The organisation also calls on the people of Iran to support the campaign entitled"Stop the Death Penalty: The World Decides," initiated by World Coalitionagainst the Death Penalty (WCADP) and other non-governmental organizations by signingan online petition found at: <>

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