Human Rights Commissioner criticizes wave of executions in Iran

03.02.2011 - Press release

In response to the recent executions in Iran, Markus Löning, the Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, today (3 February) issued the following statement:

“I am shocked and horrified by the recent wave of executions in Iran: in January alone dozens of people were put to death.
There is an alarming increase in the number of cases in which death sentences are handed down and carried out. In political cases in particular, the intention is to create a climate of fear and silence critical voices. That was precisely the message sent by the execution a few days ago of Zahra Bahrami, who had dual Dutch and Iranian citizenship. At her trial not even basic rules of due process were observed; in addition, she was denied consular access. All this constitutes a crass breach of international law and the Islamic Republic’s international commitments. I call on Iran to halt the carrying out of death sentences and support the moratorium whose ultimate aim is the abolition of capital punishment.”

According to reports, at least 68 people were executed in Iran in the first weeks of 2011. Death sentences are increasingly imposed and carried out, moreover, for so-called “political crimes” and for offences committed by people who were under age at the time. In some cases executions are carried out in public or by stoning. Safeguards to ensure due process are inadequate.

Zahra Bahrami, a Dutch-Iranian national, was arrested in late 2009 for “security offences” on the margins of a demonstration against the re-election of President Ahmadinejad. In the course of the proceedings against her she was charged with membership of an international drugs ring. On 2 January Ms Bahrami was condemned to death for drug-trafficking; the sentence was carried out on 29 January.

The German Government is against the death penalty on principle and is working for its universal abolition.

Iran has signed and ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

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