DEATH PENALTY. HANDS OFF CAIN- IRAN SECOND IN GLOBAL EXECUTIONS
October 23, 2008: the Hands Off Cain association awarded a sad title to Iran today.Â As in 2007, Iran comes second in the number of global death sentences carried out and is joined by China and Saudi Arabia on the podium of the three highest users of capital punishment. There were 228 executions in Iran in the first nine months of 2008.
This was made public in the report "Iran: death penalty and more", presented today by Elisabetta Zamparutti and Iranian Resistance leader Maryam Rajavi to the Chamber of Deputies. The data is sourced from monitoringÂ of the principle Iranian newspapers and from news provided directly by humanitarian organisations. However, the Association that fights against the death penalty warned that 'the real numbers could be even higher, because the Iranian authorities do not provide official statistics.'
Iran was 'distinguished' by the high number of death sentences, carried out by public hangings, usually with a crane or low platform to assure a slow and painful death. In 2007 at least 355 people were put to death, a third higher than the at least 215 executions in 2006.
A particularly painful chapter is the one on minors. According to the report, in the first nine months of 2008 at least 7 minors were executed in Iran. It is 'the only country in the world in 2008 where the death penalty has been used against people less than 18 years of age at the time of the crime.'
Hands Off Cain also raises the alarm over the 'quality' and 'variety' of the crimes that carry the death sentence, many of which aren't categorised as the 'most serious crimes.' In Iran, one can be hanged for adultery, corruption and other economic crimes, the production of pornographic material, apostasy, and drug related crimes. Many times, this last charge is used as a pretext for putting political opponents to death. 'In the name of the war on drug abuse there were at least 72 executions in the first nine months of 2008.'
'According to the Report, the 'fight against terrorism' is a grand pretext for eliminating political opponents, especially those from ethnic minorities such as the Kurds, Beluchis, Azeris and Ahwazis.'
Finally the investigation conducted by Hands Off Cain emphasises that in Iran 'there isn't only the death penalty.Â Under Iranian Shariah law there is also torture, amputation of limbs, whipping and other cruel, inhumane and degrading punishments.'
'Its not only isolated cases, and this is done in open violation of the International Pact on Civil and Political Rights, that Iran ratified, which forbids these practices.'
The association concluded by saying that âmany acknowledge and attempt to prevent the threat to world peace and security that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad represents. However, few acknowledge and prevent the daily threats practiced for decades by the Iranian regime against its own people." (Sources: Ansa, Adn, 23/10/2008)