Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

Promoting tolerance and justice through knowledge and understanding
Death Penalty

Commander Zahedian: Necessary Framework and Infrastructure for Eliminating of Death Penalty for Drug Traffickers not Available

ANA News Agency / Translation by Abdorrahman Boroumand Center
Abdorrahman Boroumand Center
May 1, 2017
Web article

The Anti-Narcotics Police Chief said that eliminating the death penalty for drug traffickers would only embolden them under the current conditions and added: “The conditions and the infrastructure and framework for applying substitute punishments are not there, and for drug traffickers, prison is like a five-star hotel.”

According to a report by ANA News Agency’s social affairs reporter, in response to a question regarding the elimination of the death penalty for drug traffickers (a matter that is currently being debated and studied at the Islamic Consultative Assembly), Commander Mohammad Massud Zahedian, the Police Force’s Anti-Narcotics Police Chief who was holding a press conference with journalists stated: “We enforce the laws and we will implement whatever law that is passed, but under the current circumstances, eliminating the death penalty for drug traffickers would only embolden them.”

He added: “Ever since this matter was taken up in the Majles (“Parliament”), the number of beginners [and first-time offenders] involved in drug crimes has been on the rise, and the number of drug traffickers looking to make illegal profits will certainly increase.”

Zahedian specified: “We don’t know what the reasoning and logic behind this [prospective law] is: it would allow those who endanger the lives of 80 million people to get away with committing crimes and to bypass the law, and would force the youth, who are the future of the country, to get involved in drugs, and it would derail the country from a path of constructive progress.”

The Anti-Narcotics Police Chief said that narcotics were one of the tools of “soft” warfare that inflicts many casualties. He emphasized: “It shouldn’t be that they would not be punished for what they do; Majles must take the country’s expedience and interests into consideration.”

He continued: “Right now we are seeing signs that there are sometimes miscalculations being made.”

The ANA reporter then asked whether it would not be better to replace the death penalty with other punishments, given the fact that the elimination of the death penalty for drug traffickers is a matter brought forth by the Human Rights High Council and is in response to and follows human rights objections. Zahedian responded: “These explanations [and justifications] are only valid when the framework and the infrastructure for other punishments have been put in place in the country. There were plans for a camp that was meant to hold those convicted of drug trafficking in hard and rough conditions, but was that plan ever put into effect? Are they being kept in rough and difficult conditions?”

He said that drug traffickers are sent to prisons that are like five-star hotels for them and there is no deterrence whatsoever. He added: “They run their narcotics networks from inside prison and there is absolutely no control and supervision over [what they do] whatsoever.”

Zahedian added: “Why does the subject of human rights make its way mostly into drugs, because it does the most harm to people? They use drugs in ‘soft’ warfare; why aren’t human rights concerned with other matters that harm people as well? There certainly are other reasons for these objections that are supported by Arrogant countries (referring to Western countries, especially the United States).”