UN urges moratorium in Iran on executions for drug offenses

Special to WorldTribune.com

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein has called on Iran to temporarily halt executions for drug offenses until parliament debates a new law to end the mandatory death penalty for such crimes.

An executioner in Mashhad, Iran. / Reuters
An executioner in Mashhad, Iran. / Reuters

“Given the broadening recognition in Iran that the death penalty does not deter drug crime and that antinarcotics laws need to be reformed, I call on Iran to take the important first step of instituting a moratorium on the use of the death penalty,” he said in a press statement issued on April 14.

Last weekend, five men were hanged in Iran, three of them on charges of narcotics trafficking.

So far this year, 60 executions have reportedly been carried out in Iran. Zeid noted that this represents a drop compared to the same period last year.

According to the latest UN report on human rights in Iran, Tehran carried out nearly 1,000 executions in 2015, the highest rate in over two decades, and many of them juveniles.