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Brussels, 7 February 2008
6186/08 (Presse 31)
Declaration by the presidency on behalf of the
The EU condemns the increasing recourse to death sentences and executions in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The EU also reiterates its longstanding opposition to the death penalty in all circumstances. The EU is in favor of the universal abolition of the death penalty and urges the Islamic Republic of Iran to abolish the death penalty, if necessary by initially establishing a moratorium on executions, in line with the UN General Assembly resolution adopted in December 2007 on a Moratorium on the use of the death penalty.
The EU is particularly concerned at the threat of imminent execution facing Ms. Zohreh Kabiri, Ms. Azar Kabiri and Mr. Abdollah Farivar, who have been sentenced to death by stoning. Despite the moratorium on stoning, which the EU was informed of by the Iranian side during the second round of the EU-Iran human rights dialogue in 2003, these punishments remain on the statute books in the Islamic Republic of Iran and sentences are still handed down by judges and carried out in practice. The EU urges the Iranian Government to abolish the use of cruel and degrading punishments and to abolish immediately, in law and in practice, the use of stoning as a method of execution - as called for in the most recent UN General Assembly resolution on the Situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, adopted by the General Assembly in December 2007.
The EU is also deeply concerned about three cases of juvenile offenders who have been sentenced to death. The EU notes that this is a direct contravention of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s international commitments, specifically the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, both clearly prohibiting the execution of minors or people who have been convicted of crimes committed when they were minors. The EU urges the Islamic Republic of Iran to comply with International Law and to immediately halt the executions of Mr Mahyar, Mr Mohammad Latif, Mr. Behnam Zare and of all other juvenile offenders, taking in consideration alternative sentences for juvenile offenders.
The EU is also dismayed at the handing down of death sentences to four Iranians working for the customs authorities at Mehrabed Airport. The crimes of the persons concerned were related to corruption. The EU reminds the Islamic Republic of Iran that under international minimum standards for use of the death penalty, it should only be applied in the case of the most serious crimes. Such crimes do not include those related to corruption. The EU calls for the immediate commutation of all the death sentences handed down in these instances.
The Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, and the EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine align themselves with this declaration.
* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.
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