Iran - Human Rights Committee - Death Penalty - June 2020

The Advocates for Human Rights, together with The World Coalition Against the Death Penalty, Iran Human Rights, Impact Iran, and ECPM (Together Against the Death Penalty), submitted a Suggested List of Issues Prior to Reporting on the death penalty in Iran for the 129th session of the Human Rights Committee 

 

Iran has failed to uphold its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). It has not made the necessary changes to its legal system that would allow for the abolition of capital punishment or for its compliance with the Covenant. In Iran, the application of the death penalty is not limited to the most serious crimes. For example, the death penalty is an available sentence for some same-sex consensual sexual relations, drug-related offenses, and vaguely defined offenses such as moharebeh (waging war against God) and ifsad-fil-arz (corruption on earth). 

 

Iranian death penalty practices lack transparency. Some executions are carried out in secret, including without notification of the family or attorney of the person scheduled to be executed. Moreover, some executions are never officially reported. In violation of Article 6(5) of the ICCPR, Iran routinely executes juvenile offenders. Article 7 of the ICCPR bans torture and cruel, degrading and inhumane punishments, yet Iran continues to hold public executions. The State facilitates arbitrary killings by retaining the qisas death penalty for murder in the Islamic Penal Code. Qisasrefers to retribution in kind for murder and is one of the most common charges the State used against individuals who were executed in 2019. 

 

The authors of the report of the list of issues prior to reporting suggest the following questions for the Government of Iran: 

  • What steps have Iranian authorities taken to ensure that people do not face criminal prosecution on account of their sexual orientation or gender identity? During the reporting period, has any person been charged, tried, or sentenced for violating the provisions of the Islamic Penal Code that criminalize sexual intercourse between persons of the same sex?  

  • What measures have Iranian authorities taken to limit crimes that are eligible for the death penalty to the most serious crimes as defined by the Human Rights Committee in General Comment 36 (2018)?  

  • What measures will the State take to ensure that no person is executed for a crime committed when they were under 18 years of age?  

  • What measures is the State taking to end the practice of public executions?  

  • How will the State ensure that no such coerced or forced “confession” is accepted as evidence in court, except against a person accused of torture or other ill-treatment as evidence that the “confession” or other statement was made?  

  • Please clarify whether under Iranian law peaceful advocacy against the death penalty can be considered collusion against national security or propaganda against the state.