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UN rights experts: Iran should abolish death penalty

[JURIST] A group of independent UN human rights experts on Thursday condemned [press release] Iran's execution of a political prisoner, calling for the country to end the death penalty. Gholamreza Khosravi Savadjani [JURIST report] was arrested in 2008 for supporting western media, found guilty of enmity against God and sentenced to six years in prison. He was retried in 2011 and sentenced to death, contrary to Iranian laws against double jeopardy and sentencing rules. Savadjani's execution on June 1 inspired the rights experts to appeal for intervention by the UN. Specifically, following similar calls to action by Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website], the experts urged immediate suspension of the death penalty and would seek to abolish it altogether. According to the UN press release, Iran has executed more than 170 people in 2014, as of June 1.

Iran's human rights record has been a constant source of international concern. In April the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran [official website] urged Iran to immediately halt the execution [JURIST report] of Reyhaneh Jabbari, who was sentenced to death for murdering a man who allegedly sexually assaulted her. Earlier in April experts from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] voiced concern [JURIST report] that political prisoners in Iran were not receiving proper medical treatment. In February a UN expert expressed concern [JURIST report] over the recent spike in executions in Iran. In January AI released a report [JURIST report] finding that the Iranian government had executed 40 individuals since the beginning of 2014 and carried out 625 executions in 2013. Earlier that month, several international human rights groups urged [JURIST report] the Iranian government to end its state-sanctioned persecution of LGBT individuals.

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