Wednesday, October 21, 2009

October 10th, The Fight Against Execution

10 October, 18 Mehr in the Iranian calendar, is International Day Against the Death Penalty. The death penalty is a pre-planned crime by the regime against its political opponents. Regimes that perform this penalty are among the world’s criminal regimes, that don’t recognize human existence and dignity. Since execution is not only about its victims but demonstrates disrespect towards all human beings, the fight against it must not be limited to the country where the death penalty takes place. To stop the death penalty a powerful international campaign must be mobilized. These campaigns should not be limited to one day only, but must remain alive and active in the fight against regimes that practice execution.
Thousands of years on execution still occurs as a form of punishment around the world. Historically this type of punishment always replicates because of revenge, political strength and power. With the advent of the period of enlightenment in Europe, intellectual humanitarians questioned the pre-meditated murder of human beings by governments and people in power. Marx, the founder of scientific socialism was strongly opposed to capital punishment. At the beginning of twentieth century, only three states removed the death penalty from its penal laws.
The Declaration of Human Rights was passed by the UN General Assembly in December 1948. This declaration was a reaction against the brutality and terror against humanity performed by Germany and its allies during Word War II. In this declaration life is a respected right for every human being. This international agreement has also prohibited torture, “brutal, inhuman and contempt behaviors”. The international amnesty believes the death penalty is in violation of this declaration. International and regional agreements also support the removal of death penalty. For example Protocol No.13 of the European Convention of Human Rights, which was enacted in the beginning of June 2003, is the first international agreement that prohibits the death penalty. According to this protocol, issuing death sentences for crimes committed during war or when there is a risk of war is forbidden. In addition, according to an article of the International Supreme Court Association, passed in 1998, the death penalty has been removed from decreed punishment of this court, even thought the activities of this court relate to severe crimes such as crimes against humanity and genocide. Fortunately today in more than two-third of UN member countries (130) the death penalty has been abolished. But in 62 UN member countries the death penalty is still used.
It’s been five years since 10 October was determined as International Day Against the Death Penalty. Each year on this day meetings and conventions take place around the world with the purpose of abolishing execution. This year also demonstrations and various efforts took place in many countries to eliminate the death penalty.
Iran is among four countries with the highest record of executions and the only country in the world that executes juveniles and the only country that executes in public. International human rights institutions and organizations, democratic organizations, and Iranian political parties outside of Iran and in general those against death penalty, condemned Iran at their meetings and conventions and insisted on the abolishment of execution in this country.
It is worth noting that western democratic governments that introduce themselves as human rights defenders, while in their negotiations and business meeting with the Islamic regime, forget about human rights violations in Iran and especially avoid discussing the extensive use of the death penalty in this country. On this basis, it is essential that political parties, democratic organizations and human rights defenders of western countries put more pressure on their states and insist on political boycott of the Islamic regime.
Amnesty International has announced and published recent records showing a tremendous increase in the number of executions in Iran post June 2009 presidential elections and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s inauguration. In this declaration published on Friday 7 August 2009, Irene Khan, Secretary General of International Amnesty stated: “In only the past 50 days 115 people have been executed in Iran, an average of two people per day.” adding “This process compared to the high number of usual executions in Iran is a lot higher”. According to this declaration by Amnesty International at least 196 executions have occurred since the election, placing Iran in second place after China as the country with the highest number of executions of its own people .
Irene Khan emphasized: “The violent repression of protestors against election results has compounded the violations of human rights in Iran. Amnesty International believes that the real number of executions in Iran is certainly more than the numbers announced by officials. The Iranian government has not published the name of all those who were executed. For instance the identity of 24 people who were executed on 5 August at Rajaee city prison has not been announced. Indicating to the demand by the vast majority of United Nations General Assembly country members, to halt the death penalty Irene Khan has asked Iranian authorities to obey their international obligations relating to human rights.
Perhaps in the short term execution deters government opponents or intimidates some and forces others to retreat, but certainly the long-term result will not be the same, but will display the brutality and barbaric face of the Islamic regime that insists on repression, torture and execution. Even the execution of offenders is not a true fight against criminals, but a fight against the disabled. In a country where wages are low and poverty, inflation, unemployment, drug addiction, divorce, prostitution, suicide, selling organs and so on, is so prevalent, everyday the number of criminals increases. Physical termination of these victims will not have a major impact on reducing crime statistics.
Today, the important and public demands of the Iranian people are freedom of all political prisoners and the stopping of any mental or physical torture, executions and stoning.

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