U.N. human rights lawyer expresses outrage over “illegal” executions

A new wave of executions has sparked the outrage of U.N. human rights expert Ahmad Shaheed.

On Saturday, August 27, 12 people were executed for drug-related charges in Iran, including Alireza Madadpour, who Shaheed cited as a case of the illegal nature of the charges.

Madadpour was arrested when less than one kilogram of crystal meth was found in a government raid on a house he had cleaned. He never met his defense lawyer and his trial lasted about 20 minutes.

Shaheed, who is a special rapporteur for the condition of human rights in Iran for the U.N., said executions for drug-related offenses violate international law. His office cited that of the 966 people executed in Iran last year, most were for drug crimes.

Shaheed had publicly appealed to the Iranian authorities on August 26 to not go through with the executions.

He noted that international law only allows the imposition of the death penalty for the “most serious crimes”, such as intentional killing, and after a fair trial that respects due process guarantees. None of these conditions were respected in the case of Mr. Madadpour.

“Combating drug trafficking, a serious concern in Iran, does not justify the use of the death penalty in drug-related cases,” Shaheed stressed.


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  1. U.N. human rights lawyer expresses outrage over “illegal” executions — The Media Express | Freedom Star
  2. Guilty until proven innocent in Tehran | IRAN 24/07

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