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UN rights expert urges Iran to halt execution of 12 drug offenders

[JURIST] The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed [official website], on Friday urged [press release] Iran to halt the execution of Alireza Madadpour and 11 other individuals convicted on drug related offenses. All 12 individuals were sentenced to death for drug offenses and recently transferred to solitary confinement in Karaj Central Prison. 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. Madadpour's request for a pardon and retrial were denied. Shaheed expressed serious concern regarding Iran's' insistence on using drug-related executions as means to deter crimes and pointed out the open acknowledgement of Iran's own government officials concerning the ineffectiveness of executions in the prevention of drug-related crimes. Shaheed stated that:

It is regrettable that the Government continues to proceed with executions for crimes that do not meet the threshold of the "most serious crimes" as required by international law, especially the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is State party. It is also troubling that courts continue to issue death sentences in trials that not only breach international fair trial standards but even domestic due process guarantees.
Shaheed urged Iran to impose a moratorium on executions and restrict the use of the death penalty for the "most serious crimes."

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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