Maryam Namazie
Speech delivered at a UK parliamentary meeting in the House of Commons sponsored
by John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn
February 11, 2003
London, UK

The Campaign to end Executions in Iran’s clear message is that Iran is the execution capital of the world, bilateral relations and the EU’s ‘human rights dialogue’ only condones, maintains and justifies the situation and that human rights must take precedence over all else. The Campaign is also calling on MPs opposed to stoning and execution to use their influence to exert pressure on the UK government to end stoning and execution in Iran.

Iran is the execution capital of the world

According to Amnesty International, the Islamic Republic of Iran and three others are responsible for 90 percent of all executions worldwide in 2001. In 2002, executions escalated in Iran. Executions have always been one of the mainstays of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Islamic regime established itself from 20 June 1981 with widespread executions. Since then, and particularly in 1988, the regime has executed 100,000 political opponents, progressives, communists, women, labour activists, people attributed to religious and ethnic minorities, youth and gays and lesbians and so on. There are ample statistics, documents and witnesses to prove this.

With escalating protests against the entirety of Islamic rule, the regime has once again stepped up its executions in order to intimidate the protesting public. In the first ten days of January 2003 alone, 17 people were either executed or sentenced to execution. The regime executes and stones people to death indiscriminately and for a wide range of ‘offences’ including adultery, apostasy, homosexuality, lesbianism, ‘corruption on earth’ and so on. Adultery is punishable by death by stoning in law; the law even specifies the size of the stone to be used. While some officials of the regime have stated that there is a moratorium on stoning [thanks to the efforts of the International Committee against Stoning], they have stressed that it is temporary and that in the meanwhile, alternative forms of punishment, including execution will be used.

Currently, there are reports of five women – Ashraf, Sima, Ferdows B. and Shahnaz with pending sentences of death by stoning and Nosrat Abouie who managed to escape during her stoning and is now in prison – being at risk of alternative forms of punishment including execution. There has also been a recent news report that a young woman and man who have been accused of ‘adultery’ and ‘murder’ are to be executed in Karaj rather than stoned to death. The regime has also stepped up its executions, including sentencing Davood, a 19 year old youth for drinking alcohol thrice and Sassan Al Kanaan for his political opposition to the regime.

Bilateral talks and relations condone, maintain and justify the situation

Under such circumstances, bilateral talks and relations don’t help. Furthering relations with the Islamic regime, including recent meetings between Tony Blair, Jack Straw and Donald Anderson with the regime’s foreign minister, Kamal Kharazzi, are deplorable. They condone, maintain and justify the escalating executions and human rights violations in Iran. The UK and EU have been ‘dialoguing’ with the Islamic regime for many years; nothing has fundamentally changed. In fact, the human rights situation has worsened. Clearly, dialogues and bilateral relations do not change brutal practices and regimes. Could Nazi Germany or the former apartheid regime of South Africa be made to change their policies and practices via talks and dialogue? An end to political links with a repressive regime can exert far more influence and pressure in defence of people’s rights, particularly in Iran where there is widespread protest and opposition to this regime and a movement for its ouster. The breaking of political ties will support rights and the people in Iran rather than the regime.

Human rights must take precedence

Ties with the Islamic regime of Iran that is still executing people in public, hanging them from cranes, amputating limbs, flogging them, prescribing an eye for an eye retribution, has women with stoning sentences languishing in prison and that has only temporarily banned stoning and still has it on its law books is indefensible. Human rights must take precedence over all else. The Campaign to end Executions in Iran calls on MPs who support and end to stoning and executions in Iran to do all they can to influence the UK government to exert pressure on the Islamic regime of Iran to ban stoning and end executions.

The Campaign against Executions in Iran unequivocally opposes capital punishment and calls for its abolition in all countries. The Campaign aims to: * mobilise international protest against and condemnation of executions in Iran * galvanise public pressure against the Islamic regime in Iran and its Western government supporters * save the lives of those under execution sentences * stop executions in Iran.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.