Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

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Death Penalty

Majles Rep. Taherkhani: Preventative Measures like Employment Will Reduce Iran's Execution Rate

HRANA / Translation by ABF
September 10, 2017
Newspaper article

HRANA News Agency – Bahman Taherkhani, member of the Judicial Commission said in the Majless (Parliament): “With the passage of the new law in Majless, I believe we can prevent up to 80 percent of executions, and we can arrest and punish the leaders of the gangs.”

According to a HRANA News Agency report, speaking on the “Baharestan” radio program about the Plan for the Reduction of Criminal Sentences for Drug Traffickers, Bahman Taherkhani alluded to the Law for the Fight Against Illicit Drugs and Punishment of Traffickers and stated: “In the past, in drug trafficking cases that we used to assign to courts, [the procedure was that the criminal] would be sentenced to death when the amount of drugs exceeded the legal limit, if for instance, it exceeded 30 grams of heroin, meth, or crack. Numerous cases resulted in the death penalty. The sentence was issued in accordance with the law and it was expedient for the country to issue a death sentence.”

He added: “Currently, the country has great security and stability, and Majless determined that even though the death penalty may have been effective at some point, that it is time for us to spend more on prevention rather than simply punishing [the criminals].”

Stating that the cost of implementing the law is higher than prevention, this member of the Judicial Commission emphasized: “With prevention, we will have fewer executions, and we will not have to resort to actions that are considered violent by the international community.”

Stating that the death penalty has not been completely abolished, he added: “The sphere of application of the death penalty has become more limited, and concerns mostly those who are at entry points, that is, those who control Mafia style gangs, have criminal records, and are thoroughly professional.”

Taherkhani alluded to preventive measures and said: “One preventative measure is to create employment. The country’s affairs, its economy and industries, are like the [human] body and must work in a systematic and coordinated manner.”

“In addition to punishments prescribed by law, which are actions backed by force, we must have rewards as well, and therefore, creating employment is one alternative. Unfortunately, some people go astray, including resorting to drugs, due to poverty and financial strife, inability to start a family, and maintaining a family.”

He added: “We have to rebuild the culture through the use of the media by pointing out the harms and the detriments caused by drugs. Furthermore, we have to see what kind of facilities and opportunities we have put in place after the people we have arrested and incarcerated on charges of addiction serve their time and get out of prison. We must, therefore, create employment and adopt the necessary measures for these individuals.”

Alluding to the effects of the new bill, this member of the Judicial Commission stated: “The reduction in sentences and the rewards put in place in the law can serve as a warning to first time criminals so that they don’t commit similar crimes once they get out of prison.”

Pointing to measures necessary to prevent abuse of these reductions, he added: “First, we must identify the leaders of these gangs and the drug entry points on our borders and increase border security, and, utilizing new means, reduce our field of supervision on our borders while using courageous and strong individuals on our borders; and we have more than enough dedicated forces for that purpose.”

Responding to the question “what percentage of drug-related cased fall within the purview of this reduction”, Taherkhani said: “With the new law that was passed through the efforts of Majless’ Judicial Commission and the support of Majless Representatives, I believe we can prevent up to 80 percent of executions, and we can arrest and punish the leaders of the gangs.”