17 January 2018

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01/11/2018 IRAN

Tehran changes law on drug trafficking, sparing thousands sentenced to death

Up to 5 thousand people on death row. Head of the judiciary: all convictions will be reviewed. Human rights activists: If applied appropriately, it represents a "significant step" in reducing the death penalty. Since 1998, the Islamic Republic has executed almost 10 thousand people for drugs.

Teheran (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Thousands of Iranian citizens, on death row for drug-related crimes, could be spared and see their sentences commuted, in the context of a general softening of the laws on drug trafficking. Recently, the head of the judiciary stressed that all cases of death sentences imposed so far will be reviewed.

According to official sources, the decision will have retroactive effect and could involve up to 5 thousand prisoners, now held on death row waiting to be executed.

Iran sends hundreds of people to the gallows each year, most of them for crimes related to drug trafficking. In August, the Parliament raised the minimum quantity of drug possession to invoke capital punishment.

Previously, possession of at least 30 grams of cocaine was sufficient to end up in the hands of the executioner. Today the level has been raised up to 2 kg. The quantity of opium and marijuana has increased 10-fold to 50 kg.

The head of the Iranian judiciary, Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, confirms that most of the death sentences will be commuted to prison detention. A decision immediately welcomed by activists and NGOs for human rights, as underlined by Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam of Iran Human Rights (IHR). "If applied appropriately - reports the activist to the BBC - this change to the law will be one of the most significant steps towards reducing the use of the death penalty all over the world".

At the same time, he hopes for a quick application of the law, to save as many people as possible who are still awaiting execution. "Given that most of those convicted of drug-related offenses come from the most marginalized sections of the population - he adds - they often have no resources to appeal and obtain a change in their sentence".

According to a recent statistic there would be at least about 5 thousand people on death row for drugs in the prisons of the Islamic Republic. Of these, at least 90% are aged between 20 and 30 years.

A government source, speaking on condition of anonymity, would have admitted the killing of nearly 10 thousand people from 1988 to today for drug trafficking and drug use. Already in 2016 the Iranian Minister of Justice announced the search for "effective punishment" alternative to capital punishment. On the occasion, Mostafa Pourmohammadi added that the number of executions and the use of the executioner should be reviewed only in cases of "serious corruption".

See also

03/10/2017 09:53:00 SAUDI ARABIA
Saudi Arabia reaches one hundred executions in 2017

The convict was executed for the murder of a fellow citizen. Recently the sentence was confirmed in appeal. Since July, the authorities have conducted an average of five executions per week. Activists denounce government's justice "frenzy". Among the reforms to promote the "moratorium on the death penalty".

12/09/2016 12:48:00 INDONESIA - PHILIPPINES
Duterte: No problem if Jakarta decides to execute Mary Jane Veloso

The Philippine president, on a diplomatic visit to Indonesia, had a private meeting with Widodo on the possible the condemnation of the Filipino woman. Veloso is in jail on charges of drug dealing, but her execution was postponed several times due to the efforts of former President Aquino and criticism of the Catholic Church.

14/06/2016 17:44:00 INDONESIA
Jakarta ready to execute 48 drug traffickers

In mid-July, after Ramadan, 18 death row inmates will be executed. Another 30 are set for early 2017. More and more young people are getting addicted to drugs. About 104,000 have died so far. Currently, 50 people die from overdose every day. The Indonesian Church is involved in rehab work, but lacks the facilities.

Drug trafficking and diplomacy: Jakarta recalls its ambassador to Brazil
The President Dilma Rousseff has not accepted the credentials of the Indonesian delegate, in protest against the death sentence of a Brazilian citizen for drug dealing. The man is scheduled to be executed next week, but is schizophrenic. Indonesia confirms the executions of seven foreign drug traffickers and a compatriot.

05/06/2006 IRAN
Iran's new threat against Europe: drug trafficking
Iranian authorities warn that if the West continues to threaten Tehran's nuclear programme, Iran might stop fighting drug smuggling.

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