The execution machinery continues with undiminished force. – A brutal law that turns an innocent child into a murderer.
Iran This week, Human Rights published its annual report on the death penalty in Iran. The report reveals that the Iranian regime has kept the execution machinery going despite the pandemic. The number of executions in 2020 is similar to previous years. Iran is also the only country in the world that in 2020 has carried out executions for crimes committed by minors.
At least 269 people were executed by the regime during last year. The majority of the executions have been carried out on convicts. In addition, four people were executed for crimes they committed when they were under 18 years old. Only one person was executed in full public, which is the lowest number of public executions in the country in 15 years.
A total of nine women were executed.
Four of them were sentenced to death for killing their husbands. It is very common for women to live in a relationship where they are exposed to violence, but then there is no way out of the misery. Murder is by no means something we defend under any circumstances, but I believe that some of these problems would have been solved if Iranian women and men were equal, both at home and in society, says the head of Iran Human Rights, Mahmood Amiry -Moghaddam, to Nettavisen.
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Ended up as an executioner – executed his own mother
As recently as March 13 this year, another woman was executed by hanging for killing her husband – allegedly as a result of long-term abuse.
Maryam Karimi and her father, the father-in-law of the killed man, were convicted of the murder. While the father-in-law was sentenced to a long prison term, Maryam Karimi was sentenced to death.
The couple Maryam and Ebrahimi Karimi had a daughter who was six years old when the murder took place. 13 years later, the girl became the executioner of her own mother, Iran Human Rights is informed by well-informed sources in Iran.
– The daughter was only 6 years old when the murder took place. She stayed with her father’s family, and was initially told that both her parents were dead. Eventually she learned the truth. They told her the truth a few weeks before the execution of her mother to prepare her psychologically for what was to come, says the Norwegian-Korean Amiry-Moghaddam, who is a professor and brain researcher by profession.
Eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth
The mother was convicted under the so-called Qisas clause. In short, the Iranian Islamic penal code considers it the right of a close relative to avenge the murder of a family member – eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth. Everything is happening under the auspices of the Iranian authorities.
“This shows how inhuman and brutal this law is, which transforms an innocent child – who has lost his father in a horrible way – into a human being who commits the murder of another human being,” said Amiry-Moghaddam.
Although barbaric methods of punishment such as execution by stoning, shooting and crucifixion are enshrined in Iranian Islamic criminal law, it is mainly hanging that is practiced by the clerical regime. Then it happens that a relative of a murder victim physically performs the actual execution, which usually takes place in either the prison yard or in a separate execution room in the prison building.
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– This is done either by the relative pressing a button that releases the fall limb under the feet of the death row inmate, so that the person falls down and is hung, or by the relative physically pushing away a stool on which the death row inmate stands, says Amiry -Moghaddam.
Can ask for retaliation, blood money or forgiveness
Among the 267 people executed in Iran during the corona year 2020, 211 were sentenced to death under the Qisas Penal Code.
– This is a law of retaliation. That is, someone who has committed a murder is sentenced to death under this retaliatory clause. In principle, this means that a relative of the murder victim carries out the actual execution of the person sentenced to death. According to the law, the next of kin of the murder victim must either ask for Qisas, blood money or offer forgiveness. Those who choose Qisas can carry out the execution themselves under the auspices of the authorities. They can also waive this right and ask either their lawyer or the prison authorities to carry out the execution on their behalf. But they are obliged to be present and attend the actual execution. A Qisas execution cannot be carried out without relatives present, says Amiry-Moghaddam.
Low support for the death penalty
Opinion polls show that the regime’s practice of the death penalty has very low support among the Iranian population. A survey conducted by Iran Human Rights, which is discussed in the annual report on the death penalty in Iran, shows that 70 percent of Iranians want the death penalty to be either abolished completely (44 percent) or limited to very special cases (26 percent). 22 percent state that they would like the death penalty in retaliation if a family member was killed.
– What is startling is that there were three times as many last year compared to the year before who opted out of Qisas. And that is in line with the general attitude towards the death penalty in Iranian society, says Amiry-Moghaddam.
The execution of Maryam Karimi was not mentioned in the Iranian state-run media, but has been widely reported by, among others, the British media.
A particularly gruesome detail from the execution is that the father, who was serving a sentence in the same prison, was allegedly transported to the execution room shortly after the death sentence on the daughter had been carried out.
He had to see his dead daughter hanging and dangling from the ceiling for ten minutes. It’s pure torture. It’s sadism. There is nothing in Iranian criminal law that requires such treatment, says Amiry-Moghaddam.
– We call for the international community to condemn the use of the death penalty in Iran and for them to take a more active role in society in the anti-death penalty movement that is now taking place in Iran, he says.
Amiry-Moghaddam refers to both physical and digital campaigns that have emerged in Iran in recent times and which advocate the abolition of the death penalty practice.
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