Nobel Winner Slams Rising Executions
January 06, 2008
Nobel peace prize winner Shirin Ebadi’s rights group slammed the rising number of executions in Iran, including the hanging of a young mother who murdered her husband. “The Defenders of Human Rights Centre denounces the nationwide executions and their upward trend,” the group of human rights lawyers led by Ms Ebadi said.
They pointed to the execution in Tehran’s Evin prison of Raheleh Zamani, 27, who had been found guilty of murdering her husband and was hanged despite her lawyers’ efforts to spare her the gallows.
“Judicial officials had agreed to delay her execution for a month… but she was hanged suddenly,” the group said. “In the evening of January 1 they informed her of the execution and then, after just 12 hours, they hanged her.
“Four reputable lawyers had also cast doubt on the case,” the group said, without giving further details.
Zamani, who killed her husband after discovering he was having an affair and then reportedly chopped his body into pieces, was hanged in Evin along with seven men convicted of murder.
“Sadly, the efforts of human rights groups fail because of a legal vacuum as well as the resistance and indifference of an extremist current in the judicial system.”
Western rights groups have repeatedly complained about the wave of hangings in Iran but it is uncommon for an Iran-based group to issue a public protest against executions.
As part of an unprecedented crackdown they authorities say is aimed at increasing security in society, Iran has stepped up its use of the death penalty.
So far this year it has hanged 14 convicts, according to media reports. Last year, the number of executions was at least 298, according to an AFP count compiled from the local press.
Last year’s total was a sharp increase on 2006, when 177 executions were carried out, according to Amnesty International.
Capital offences in Iran include murder, rape, armed robbery, serious drug trafficking and adultery.
The authorities have defended the hangings, saying capital punishment is an effective deterrent that is used only after an exhaustive judicial process.
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