Iran: Easing of deadly drugs laws may spare hundreds from gallows

Iran: Easing of deadly drugs laws may spare hundreds from gallows

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

Campaigners said it was a potentially significant step towards halting executions worldwide. The country's parliament increased death penalty thresholds on opium and marijuana tenfold to 50 kilograms, or 110 pounds.

The abundance of cheap, addictive drugs coming from nearby Afghanistan is a challenge for authorities.

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.

Iran has mostly resorted to a punitive campaign of arrests and executions to tackle drugs. Health officials say there are more than 2 million drug addicts in a country of 80 million, but doctors say the actual figure is higher.

In addition to Iran, at least seven states, including Saudi Arabia as well as Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and China impose the death penalty for drug trafficking.

Take Lalu's missive to people, Tejashwi Prasad Yasdav asks functionaries
He was released on bail by the Supreme Court after having remained in jail for over two-and-a-half months. This year, Lalu's family in Patna had declared they won't celebrate the festival in his absence.

"This is quite unprecedented, but one caveat is that the commute is not automatic and convicts need to take the first step themselves and make sure their case is reconsidered".

"Since most of those sentenced to death for drug offences belong to the most marginalised parts of Iranian society, it is not given that they have the knowledge and resources to apply for commuting their sentence". The majority were put to death for drug offences, according to the Guardian.

Amiry-Moghaddam said that since November when the law was signed by the president, Hassan Rouhani, "nobody that we know of has been executed for such offences".

According to Iranian parliamentarians, there are now an estimated 5,000 people on death row for such offences across the country. Amnesty International says that since 1988, Iran has executed, usually by hanging, approximately 10,000 people for drug-related offenses.

Rights groups have long criticized Iran for being among the world's leading executioners.

Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa deputy director, said the new rules could "spare hundreds from the gallows", but she added that Iran "must stop using the death penalty for drug-related offenses with a view to eventually abolishing it for all crimes". Apostasy is considered a capital crime in both Saudi Arabia and Iran.

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