Iran may ease up on capital punishment (exclusive)

Iran may ease up on capital punishment (exclusive)

Tehran, Iran, November 14

By Mehdi Sepahvand - Trend:

The Islamic law allows Iran to cut down on the number of instances of capital punishment for crime, Minister of Justice Mostafa Pourmohammadi told Trend .

The Holy Quran says "Do not exceed norms in killing," he said, adding that "Punishment should be preemptive and proportionate to crime. You have to kill one who kills, and you have to obliterate the corrupt. But in its own right and to the minimum."

The minister further said that the record has shown that some capital punishments in Iran have not been effective.

"We will investigate to see where it is effective and what the outcome is," he said. "However, you cannot let go of one who has killed somebody if the next of kin of the murdered person does not forgive the murderer."

The Islamic law regards life as personal right, meaning if someone kills somebody, they have deprived them of their right and that the next of kin of the murdered person have a right to plea for the killing of the murderer, which is called Qisas in the Islamic jurisprudence.

The EU and Iran sat together in Brussels on November 9 for the first time since the conclusion of the nuclear deal to exchange ideas on human rights, one major sticking point in bilateral ties.

The human rights debate has increasingly emerged as an important component for stronger ties between the two sides.

In a recent document on the future of relations with Iran in the post-sanctions period, the EU has particularly expressed opposition to Iran’s use of the death penalty as punishment for drug traffickers.

The death punishment was also a major theme of a March report by UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran Ahmad Shaheed who called on Tehran to, consider a moratorium on the use of death penalty, among other things.

In October, Mohammad Javad Larijani, Iran’s Human Rights Council chief, said the judicial system "may" reconsider capital punishment for drug smugglers, limiting it to drug lords only.

The human rights debate has increasingly emerged as an important component for stronger ties between Iran and the EU.

Also, last week Hassan Norouzi, a spokesman with the Iranian Parliament’s Legal and Judicial Committee, announced that a motion signed by 76 legislators would be brought to the parliament in an effort to rethink capital punishment for drug smugglers.

The motion, if passed, will rule out the capital punishment for first-time drug smugglers, many of whom are juveniles.

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