Regardless of the reports from Iranian media that legal changes to end punishment of adultery by stoning and the execution of minors are in progress, this news should not be taken at face vale. The reports say the changes were approved by the guardian council, which ensures judicial laws also conform to Islamic law. Yet time and again we see reports of cases where no law at all is being applied. Apart from scoring cheap PR points by making headlines, what difference could this possibly make?
The Telegraph says that the new legislation now requires only the signature of the president to be enshrined into law. But the president also told media that the judiciary is independent and he has no influence over it. As usual, the Iranian regime is spinning it’s own version of reality.
It adds: Drewery Dyke, an expert on Iran at Amnesty International, warns that due to quirks of the Iranian legal system, the reforms are not as clear cut as they appear.
“Execution is a specific legal concept in Iran. Punishment for murder in Iran under Islamic law is termed ‘retribution of the soul’,” Mr Dyke explains, adding that children may still be killed if charged with murder.
“Similarly with stoning, they have removed the punishment of stoning for adultery but we still don’t know what manner of punishment will be proscribed in the new law. There is more to his than meets the eye – the reforms do allow for a backdoor application of stoning.”
Execution sentences are routinely meted out for crimes of murder, homosexuality, adultery, drug smuggling, espionage and any perceived disruption to the economic and civil wellbeing of the country.
Amnesty International warned in December of a “killing spree of staggering proportions” being carried out in Iran, reporting that more than 600 people had been executed by the state from the beginning of 2011 until the end of November. At least three were children.
In September, Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, expressed his grave concern with the Islamic Republic’s human rights record. He was, “deeply troubled by reports of increased numbers of executions, amputations, arbitrary arrest and detention, unfair trials torture and ill-treatment.”
- Iran moves to ban stoning (telegraph.co.uk)
- Capital Punishment in Iran (uculr.com)
- Rampant Human Rights Abuse in Iran (blogs.the-american-interest.com)
- Iran’s war on pirates could lead to child execution (lissnup.wordpress.com)
- Iran human rights lawyer jailed 18 years: reports (vancouversun.com)