Iran - death penalty
Greens deplore executions
According to official reports, ten prisoners were executed by hanging in the early hours of Monday, 22 October, in Teheran. The executions were initially scheduled for 11 October - one day after the World Day against the Death Penalty - but postponed following international outcry.
The Greens strongly condemned the executions, with Barbara Lochbihler, chair of the European Parliament's subcommittee on human rights, and Tarja Cronberg, chair of the EP delegation for relations with Iran stating:
"We strongly condemn these executions. The EU has repeatedly urged Iran to halt executions and introduce a moratorium on death penalty. The failure to do so is a further indictment of the current regime."
According to reliable evidence, none of those executed were granted a fair trial by the authorities. At least one of them - Saeed Sedighi - is believed to have confessed under torture and was, like the nine others, sentenced to death in a haste trial lasting less than 30 minutes. The ten prisoners were sentenced to death on charges of drug possession and drug trafficking.
Over 300 people are known to have been executed in 2012 - most of them under Iran's harsh anti-drug legislation. A significant number of prisoners are on death row and face imminent execution. The vast majority of recent executions in Iran have been for drug-related offences, despite lack of clear evidence that death penalty works as an effective measure against such offences. Iran has one of the highest rates of drug addiction in world.
Barbara Lochbihler and Tarja Cronberg concluded:
"The EU opposes capital punishment in all cases without exception, regardless of the gravity or circumstances of the crime. We urge the Iranian government and law-makers to abolish the legal concept and practice of death penalty."