law

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Execution Statistics

Executions in 2009

Note: Official statistics from the Islamic Republic of Iran are unavailable. Official Iranian media often does not provide names, identifying information, or the offense when announcing executions.

  • Increase of about 20% from 2008
  • At least 388 executed
    • 402 executed, as reported by Iran Human Rights
  • 13 women
  • 5 juvenile offenders (age 17 at the time of arrest)
    • Mola Gol Hassan, 21 January
    • Delara Darabi, 1 May
    • Ali Jafari, 20 May
    • Behnoud Shojaee, 11 October
    • Mosleh Zamani, 17 December
  • 14 held publicly
  • 112 executions in the 8-week period following the June 12 Presidential elections
  • 3 members of separatist group Jundallah on 30 May, less than 48 hours after a mosque bombing, for which they were convicted and executed, despite being in detention at the time of the crime
  • Increased execution of political prisoners, often convicted of Moharebeh

from Amnesty International: In Iran, where at least 388 people were executed, the death penalty continued to be applied in political cases, in which individuals are commonly accused of “enmity against God”. A sharp increase in the rate of executions was registered in the eight-week period between the presidential election on 12 June and the inauguration of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for a second term as President on 5 August. Many of those executed were convicted in flawed legal proceedings, some after having made televised “confessions”.


Resources

Information about capital punishment and law in the Islamic Republic of Iran

Note: this information has been compiled from several sources and is intended to provide information about the Iranian legal system to those interested. It is not intended to support the Islamic Republic’s practices. It must be stated that the current regime does not follow its many of its own laws, its Constitution, or international laws. We seek to address laws and practices that are in direct violation of international law.


Law Regarding Murder

Important terms:

Diyeh (or diyyeh) is ‘blood money’, or the fines levied on behalf of the victim or victim’s family as compensation.

Qesas (officially qesas-e- nafs, or qisas) is the victim’s family’s legal right to retaliation, to demand the execution of the perpetrator.

Under the Iranian Penal Code murder is punishable by qesas-e nafs, or death. Murder by someone with diminished responsibility may be punishable by the payment of diyeh, a form of compensation. In cases of premeditated murder, the family of the victim has the right to ask for their relative's killer to be put to death. The family can also choose to forgive the culprit and accept payment of diyeh (blood money) instead.

Under Article 300 of the Penal Code, the diyeh for the first- or second-degree murder of a Muslim woman is half of that of a murdered Muslim man.

Murder is treated as a private dispute between two civil parties - the state's role is to facilitate the resolution of the dispute through the judicial process. In this sense, the death penalty is regarded as being imposed by the state, whereas qesas is imposed by the family of the victim. As a result, sentences of qesas are not open to pardon or amnesty by the Supreme Leader, whereas most other death sentences can be reversed by the Supreme Leader.

  • Article 6(4) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR): Anyone sentenced to death shall have the right to seek pardon or commutation of the sentence. Amnesty, pardon or commutation of the sentence of death may be granted in all cases.

Under Iran's international obligations, the Iranian authorities remain fully responsible for respecting and protecting the rights of those under its jurisdiction, irrespective of the role that private parties may play in the administration of justice. In the Iranian legal system, there is a distinction between cases where the penalty is hokm-e 'edam ("execution") and qesas-e nafs (“retaliation”), although people sentenced to qesas are often reported in the media to have been sentenced to death. There is no such distinction in international law.

Iranian law allows the death penalty for boys from age 15 and for girls from age 9, considered the age of criminal responsibility.

  • Article 37(a) of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) states: No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without possibility of release shall be imposed for offences committed by persons below eighteen years of age.
  • Article 6(5) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR): Sentence of death shall not be imposed for crimes committed by persons below eighteen years of age.


Execution of Women

Between June 1981 and 1990, at least 2,000 women were executed, including 85 hanged in 1988. The Organisation of Women Against Execution in Iran has named 1,428 confirmed victims.

187 were under age 18

9 were under age 9

32 were pregnant

  • Article 6(5) of the ICCPR: Sentence of death shall not be imposed for crimes committed by persons below eighteen years of age and shall not be carried out on pregnant women.

Since the law dictates that virgins cannot be executed, there is widespread forced ‘marriage’ between condemned girls and prison guards. Raping the girls before their executions ensures that their souls will not go to Heaven. One report states, “After the execution, the religious judge at the prison would write out a marriage certificate and send it to the victim's family along with a box of sweets.”

  • Article 16(2) of the UHDR: Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.


Resources

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