NEW YORK: A human rights expert described executions carried out in Iran as “an arbitrary deprivation of life,” as he called on Tehran to reform its laws and abolish the death penalty. He said the punishment is often used as a political tool.
Javaid Rehman, the UN’s special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, told the General Assembly on Monday that the death sentence in the country is often imposed on “vague and arbitrary grounds.” He highlighted in particular three criminal charges used to target peaceful demonstrators and political opponents: waging war against God, corruption on earth, and armed rebellion.
“The entrenched flaws in law and in the administration of the death penalty in Iran mean that most, if not all, executions are an arbitrary deprivation of life,” Rehman said.
“The structural flaws of the justice system are so deep and at odds with the notion of rule of law that one can barely speak of a justice system.”
As he briefed the assembly on the fourth annual report on human rights in Iran, the independent expert said that in particular he was “extremely disturbed” by the practice in Iran of sentencing children to death.
“Iran remains one of very countries that continues this practice despite the absolute prohibition under international law,” he said.
The report highlighted a number of other key human rights concerns in Iran, including the repression of civic space, discrimination against religious, ethnic and sexual minorities, and the dire conditions inside prisons.