The Government remain deeply concerned by the increasing use of capital punishment in Iran. We regularly make representations to the Government of Iran, in our bilateral contacts and through the EU, to express general concern about the use of the death penalty in Iran and to raise individual execution cases. In 2007, the EU presidency did this on more than 20 occasions in both meetings and public statements. The EU has issued two further declarations on the death penalty in Iran already this year. We also discuss human rights issues bilaterally with Iranian officials in London and Tehran. In the last 12 months we have raised serious concerns about the use of death penalty on seven separate occasions. This has included specific instances when capital punishment has been carried out in Iran, for example the executions of Mohammad Moussavi, Jafar Kiani, Makwan Moloudzadeh and Mohammad Reza Tork.
We are extremely worried by the growing numbers of executions taking place in Iran. We understand that approximately 300 executions were carried out in 2007, compared with 177 in 2006 and 94 in 2005. This has included growing numbers of public and collective executions (eg the execution of two men in central Tehran in August 2007), and the first confirmed execution by stoning for five years in July 2007. Iran continues to execute juvenile offenders—at least four were put to death in 2007. We have concerns that not all death sentences are the result of a fair trial and that capital punishment continues to be applied for charges such as adultery, rape and drug related offences. The Government will continue to raise concerns with the Iranian authorities about executions and the use of the death penalty in Iran. We will continue to press Iran to uphold its international human rights obligations including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which states that
“in countries which have not abolished the death penalty, the sentence of death may be imposed only for the most serious crimes”
“no-one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”.
The EU presidency, with strong UK support, has issued two statements about the use of the death penalty in Iran this year.