Iran: Human Rights Commissioner calls for moratorium on the death penalty

29.11.2013 - Press release

As the number of people being executed in Iran continues to rise, Markus Löning, the Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (29 November 2013):

I am aghast at the current spate of executions taking place in Iran. More than 400 people have been executed since the start of the year. And even since President Rouhani took office in August 2013, some 200 death sentences have been carried out. This is in stark contrast to his stated intention of fighting for progress to be made in the field of human rights.

I am particularly shocked by the fact that the executions often take the form of public hangings, which result in a painful death by asphyxiation. I am dismayed that the death sentence is still being imposed on people who were minors at the time they committed their offences.

The Federal Government is opposed to the death penalty whatever the circumstances. I thus call on all those in positions of responsibility in Iran to suspend the execution of all current death sentences with immediate effect, to adopt a moratorium and thereby to become part of the international abolitionist movement.


According to the information available to the Federal Foreign Office, more than 400 people have already been executed this year (by comparison, the figure for 2012 was 370). The real figure is probably much higher.

According to the current report by Dr Ahmed Shaheed, the UN Special Rapporteur on Iran, there has been a huge rise in the number of executions since the presidential elections in June 2013.

By ratifying the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Iran has committed itself to using the death penalty only for the most serious crimes and to upholding certain minimum standards, such as the prohibition of particularly cruel methods of execution and the exemption from capital punishment of anyone who was underage at the time of the offence.

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