Iran death penalty charges in economic crisis ‘breach international law’: Amnesty

Amnesty International on Wednesday expressed “alarm” over arrests of protestors, saying that the application of the death penalty for non-violent crimes would be “in direct breach of international law.” (AFP File Photo)
Updated 01 August 2018
0

Iran death penalty charges in economic crisis ‘breach international law’: Amnesty

  • At least 29 people have been arrested for “economic disruption,” Iranian officials announced last weekend
  • The plunging value of the Iranian currency and worsening economic situation has prompted a string of public protests this year

LONDON: Iran’s application of the death penalty to individuals arrested during the country’s economic crisis would be in “direct breach of international law,” the world’s leading human-rights organization has said.
At least 29 people have been arrested for “economic disruption,” Iranian officials announced last weekend, with many facing charges that carry the death penalty.
Amnesty International on Wednesday expressed “alarm” over the arrests, saying that the application of the death penalty for non-violent crimes would be “in direct breach of international law.”
The plunging value of the Iranian currency and worsening economic situation has prompted a string of public protests this year. In an apparent attempt to be seen to be tackling the crisis, officials announced dozens of arrests and blamed unnamed “enemies” for the rial’s decline.
“Amnesty International is alarmed at the judiciary’s announcement that it has charged individuals arrested in relation to the country’s economy and currency crisis with ‘corruption on earth’ (efsad-e fel arz), which incurs the death penalty,” an Amnesty spokesperson told Arab News.


“This would be in direct breach of international law, which restricts the use of the death penalty to only the ‘most serious crimes’ — those involving intentional killing. Amnesty International’s research has shown that basic fair trial guarantees are absent in death penalty cases in Iran.”
The statement follows warnings from other campaign groups over the human-rights situation in Iran.
“In recent weeks and months we’ve had many protests,” Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, spokesman for the Oslo-based Iran Human Rights group, told Arab News on Tuesday.
“Human rights are suffering … and every day they suffer more. Iran is among the biggest violators of human rights in the world today.”

 


Harvard scholar and Iranian affairs expert Dr. Majid Rafizadeh said that the arrests connected to the economic crisis amounted to a PR exercise by the Iranian government.
“The arrests by the regime are mostly cosmetic actions aimed at projecting that the Islamic Republic is taking actions to address corruption and address people’s grievances,” he said.
“The regime is also trying to point (the) finger at some individuals rather than on the systematic financial corruption within the political establishment.”
Amid widespread public anger, demonstrations spread to the historic city of Isfahan on Tuesday, with protesters demanding an end to the Iranian regime’s costly interference in the affairs of neighboring countries in the region.
Video footage showed hundreds of protesters shouting: “No to Gaza, no to Lebanon, my soul is Iran’s redemption.” The slogan refers to Tehran’s military adventures in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, at the expense of the domestic economy.
“The protests in Isfahan are significant because they highlight people’s ongoing and growing outrage and frustration with the theocratic establishment, as the economy is in shambles,” said Rafizadeh. “Despite the regime’s crackdown, people continue to take to streets as they can’t make ends meet.”

 

 


UN chief proposes options to protect Palestinians

Updated 18 August 2018
0

UN chief proposes options to protect Palestinians

UNITED NATIONS: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday presented four options aimed at boosting the protection of Palestinians in Israeli-occupied territories, from sending UN rights monitors and unarmed observers to deploying a military or police force under UN mandate.
The proposals were contained in a report requested by the General Assembly in response to a surge of violence in Gaza, where 171 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since late March.
The UN chief stressed that for each of the options, cooperation by Israel and the Palestinians would be necessary. It remained unlikely however that Israel would agree to the proposals.
In the 14-page report, Guterres proposed:
• Providing a “more robust UN presence on the ground” with rights monitors and political officers to report on the situation.
• Pouring in more UN humanitarian and development aid to “ensure the well-being of the population.”
• Creating a civilian observer mission that would be present in sensitive areas such as checkpoints and near Israeli settlements, with a mandate to report on protection issues.
• Deploying an armed military or police force, under a UN mandate, to provide physical protection to Palestinian civilians.
A UN mandate for a protection force would require a decision from the Security Council, where the United States could use its veto power to block a measure opposed by Israel.
A small European-staffed observer mission was deployed in the West Bank city of Hebron in 1994, but Israel has since rejected calls for an international presence in flashpoint areas.
In the report, Guterres said the United Nations was already undertaking many protection initiatives but that “these measures fall short” of the concerns raised in a General Assembly resolution adopted in June.
In that measure, the 193-nation assembly condemned Israel for Palestinian deaths in Gaza and tasked Guterres with the drafting of proposals for “an international protection mechanism” for the Palestinians.
Guterres argued that a political solution to the conflict was needed to address the safety of Palestinians but that “until such a solution is achieved, member-states may further explore all practical and feasible measures that will significantly improve the protection of the Palestinian civilian population.”
“Such measures would also improve the security of Israeli civilians.”
On Friday, Israeli troops shot dead two Palestinians taking part in protests along the Gaza border and 270 other Palestinians were wounded.
Israel has defended its use of live ammunition in Gaza by invoking its right to self-defense. One Israeli soldier was shot dead by a Palestinian sniper in July.
“The targeting of civilians, particularly children, is unacceptable,” Guterres said in the report, adding that “those responsible for violations of international humanitarian law must be held accountable.”
UN efforts to ensure the well-being of Palestinians must strengthened, he added, singling out the funding crisis at the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA as being “of particular concern.”
UNRWA is facing a major budget shortfall after President Donald Trump’s administration decided to withhold its contribution to the agency.
The report released to all UN member-states comes amid a vacuum in Middle East peace efforts as European and other big powers await a peace plan from the Trump administration that has been under discussion for months.
UN diplomats have recently begun questioning whether the US peace plan will ever materialize.
The United Nations has warned that a new war could explode in Gaza.
Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza, including its Hamas rulers, have fought three wars since 2008.