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Amnesty International

Iran: First Public Executions Since January 2008 Ban Are A Retrograde Step

Amnesty International
Amnesty International
July 11, 2008
Statement

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

PUBLIC STATEMENT

11 July 2008

Index number: MDE 13/095/2008

Iran: First public executions since January 2008 ban are a retrograde step

Amnesty International today deplored the first public executions to be

reported in Iran since the Head of the Judiciary, Ayatollah Mahmoud

Hashemi-Shahroudi banned such executions on 30 January 2008. It also

expressed great concerns about the new draft Penal Code and other measures

which seek to expand the number of crimes which carry the death penalty.

It called on the Iranian authorities to uphold the ban on public

executions and to take concrete steps to work towards the abolition of the

death penalty, instead of increasing the number of crimes punishable by

death.

The ban on public executions seemed to mark the recognition on the part of

Ayatollah Shahroudi that carrying out executions in public adds to the

already cruel, inhuman and degrading nature of the penalty and can only

have a dehumanizing effect on the victim and a brutalizing effect on those

who witness the execution. It is therefore extremely disappointing that

permission was granted for these executions to take place in public, and

for pictures to be circulated by news agencies despite the express

instruction by Ayatollah Shahroudi that images depicting execution victims

should not be published in the media.

Amnesty International was also extremely concerned that a new draft Penal

Code currently under discussion by the Majles (Iran’s parliament) does not

reduce the scope of the death penalty in Iran, but expands it by

introducing for example the crimes of apostasy, heresy and witchcraft into

the Hodoud section of the Penal Code, and specifying the death penalty for

these. Hodoud are crimes against divine will for which the penalty is

prescribed by Islamic law. Another bill reportedly passed on first reading

at the beginning of July aiming at increasing the protection of society's

moral security also makes the creation of blogs and websites promoting

corruption, prostitution and apostasy capital crimes.

The Iranian authorities should progressively and significantly reduce the

number of offences which may incur the death penalty, in accordance with

Article 6(2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

and paragraph 1 of the United Nations Safeguards guaranteeing protection

of the rights of those facing the death penalty, which stipulate that the

death penalty, if it is to be applied at all, should be reserved for only

the most serious crimes.

ENDS…/

For more information please call Amnesty International’s press office in London, UK, on +44 20 7413 5566 or visit our website at http://www.amnesty.org

Public Document

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