Tags: iran | drug | law | softening | death row

Iran Drug Law Softening Could Spare 5,000 on Death Row

Iran Drug Law Softening Could Spare 5,000 on Death Row
Iran's new drug law softens the penalties on cocaine and other drugs. (Yvdavyd/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Wednesday, 10 January 2018 02:07 PM

Iran is softening a drug law and in turn would spare about 5,000 people now on death row for such charges.

The head of the Iranian judiciary said all drug cases on death row can be reviewed after the country abolished capital punishment for some drug offenses, suggesting that the law will be applied retroactively, BBC News reported Wednesday.

Iran, which executes hundreds every year for drug offenses, increased the amount of drugs that would be considered a capital offense back in August.

The new law states the death penalty would be applied to those possessing 2 kilograms, or 4.4 pounds of cocaine, compared to the old law of 30 grams, or 1.05 ounces. The country's parliament increased death penalty thresholds on opium and marijuana tenfold to 50 kilograms, or 110 pounds.

Judiciary chief Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani told local media most death sentences would be reduced to extended jail stints, the BBC said.

Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, from Iran Human Rights, an independent nongovernmental organization based in Norway, told BBC News the change is a move in the right direction.

"If implemented properly, this change in law will represent one of the most significant steps towards reduction in the use of the death penalty worldwide," he said.

Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa deputy director, said in a statement the changes should be considered only a first step in policy reform.

"The Iranian authorities have executed thousands of people for drugs offences in Iran, in blatant violation of international law which restricts the use of the death penalty to the most serious crimes involving intentional killing," Mughrabi said in the statement.

"If implemented properly this long-overdue reform will spare hundreds from the gallows, but that should be just the start. The Iranian authorities must stop using the death penalty for drug-related offences with a view to eventually abolishing it for all crimes," she continued.

The United Nations has on one hand praised Iran's battle against narcotics trafficking but criticized its use of the death penalty. Britain and Denmark have stopped providing funding for the United Nations drug control program in Iran because of the executions.

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Iran is changing a drug law and as a result sparing about 5,000 people now on death row for such charges.
iran, drug, law, softening, death row
Wednesday, 10 January 2018 02:07 PM
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