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UN rights expert condemns Iran execution of 12 drug offenders

[JURIST] Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran Ahmed Shaheed [official website] on Monday expressed "outrage" [press release] regarding Iran's execution of 12 people for drug-related charges on Saturday. The day before the execution, Shaheed had publicly appealed [JURIST report] to the Iranian authorities not to proceed with the planned executions. He specifically noted that international law only allows capital punishment for the "most serious crimes" with an intentional killing, and after a fair trial respecting strict due process. However, these conditions were not met in this instance. "Combating drug trafficking, a serious concern in Iran, does not justify the use of the death penalty in drug-related cases," Shaheed said. "The execution of Mr. Madadpour and 11 others shows the Iranian authorities' complete disregard of its obligations under international human rights law and especially of international fair trial standards and due process guarantees." He renewed his plea to Iran to institute a moratorium on the death penalty.

Madadpour was arrested in November 2011 when 990 grams of crystal meth were found during a raid in a house he cleaned. He was later convicted in July 2012 by the Karaj Revolutionary Court in a trial that lasted 20 minutes, and was never given the opportunity to meet with his defense lawyer. Much international pressure has been directed toward Iran in recent years for its use of the death penalty. In March Shaheed expressed continued concern regarding Iran's alarming rate of juvenile executions [JURIST report] and other flaws in the justice system. In February Amnesty International [advocacy website] criticized Iran's justice system after 40 men were sentenced to death [JURIST report]. In January AI reported on the many juvenile offenders on death row [JURIST report] in Iran.

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