UN rights experts blast Iran executions

AFP , Tuesday 23 Oct 2012

UN Special Rapporteurs on human rights condemn the executing of ten Iranian men accused of drug trafficking in Tehran

A trio of UN human rights experts on Tuesday blasted Iran for executing this week 10 men accused of drug trafficking.

"We deeply deplore the recent executions and the continuing reports of individuals detained who remain at risk of executions for charges that do not amount to the ‘most serious crimes’ as defined by international human rights law,” said UN Special Rapporteurs Ahmed Shaheed, Christof Heyns and Juan E Mendez.

The executions took place in a Tehran jail on Monday despite repeated calls to stop the death sentences by the international community and independent experts of the Geneva-based Human Rights Council.

Iran's actions were "unacceptable", Shaheed, Heyns and Mendez said, given that the state had proceeded with the executions "when serious concerns related to due process are raised by multiple international actors.”

One of the victims, Saeed Sedighi, was sentenced to death on June 2 this year although he had not received a fair trial and was tortured, the UN investigators said.

They have called for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty, "especially in drug-related cases.”

“We urgently call on the Iranian authorities to heed to the recurrent calls of the international community not to carry out further executions,” they said.

More than 300 people had been recorded executed in the first eight months of the year, said Shaheed, Special Rapporteur on Iran.

But the figure was probably much higher as Iran has restricted information this year, he added.

Shaheed, a former foreign minister for the Maldives, reported 670 executions in 2011 in Iran, which has the world's highest per capita use of the death penalty.

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