Iran—Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities—Death Penalty—February 2017

The Advocates for Human Rights, in collaboration with the Aborrahman Boroumand Foundation and the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty, submitted a report on the death penalty and rights of people with disabilities in Iran to the 17th Session of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities for its review of Iran in March 2017.

The Iranian Criminal Code discriminates against individuals with psycho-social disabilities who are victims of crimes, violating their right to equality, non-discrimination, and to life. The Code also discriminates against crimes suspects who have psycho-social disabilities, violating their right to a fair trial and access to justice. A disproportionate number of people in Iran's penal system have psycho-social disabilities, yet Iranian prisons do not provide accommodations for these disabilities.

Judges in some Iranian provinces make use of amputation as a form of punishment for crimes. The government is secretive about amputation practices. Iranian authorities have performed amputations of fingers, hands, and feet, as well as chemical blinding as a form of punishment.

The authors of the report suggest the following recommendations:

  • Revise the Penal Code to eliminate the death penalty;
  • Ensure that any legal definitions of psycho-social disability or “insanity” have a well-founded basis in medical and scientific research, recognizing that psycho-social disabilities have different degrees;
  • Ensure that defendants with psycho-social disabilities receive a fair trial and appropriate accommodations while in prison facilities;
  • Provide training to police inspectors and judges to ensure that they interact with individuals with psycho-social and intellectual disabilities in a manner that promotes the individual’s fullest possible participation in the judicial process; and
  • Immediately and categorically prohibit the use of amputations and blinding as judicial punishments, and provide compensation to the victims of these punishments.