Since adapting to the worldwide declaration of human rights in the year 1948, several conventions and treaties were subjected to the international legislation aiming to regulate and abolish the act of death penalty as a form of punishment. Iran is among the 34 countries still using the death penalty as the tool of justice and it is currently the second-highest country with the highest number of executions with china being the first. Due to the recent incident of Navid Afkari, a wrestler who was executed in Iran, it didn’t fail to capture the attention of international communities. The re-characterization of international laws is now more necessary than ever because these laws will remind them that shunning the system has its own disadvantages. In the last twenty years, a worldwide trend emerged to reduce the act of death penalty and over 108 states abolished the act of capital punishment on all crimes, approximately 7 have abolished it for crime 1 on common laws. However, there’re 35 states still practising the death penalty and these include the USA, China and Iran with the latter being among the member states that frequently practice the act. Thanks to the help of Maryam rajavi and other leading organizations, the abolition of the death penalty in Iran and other countries are now being handled seriously and taken into consideration.
1. Death penalty in Iran: a solid reality
In the year 2020, Iran experienced shame from the world stage because of the arbitrary act of the death penalty. It was on the month of September when the wrestler from Iran was executed due to the murder of a police officer. This happened during the anti-government wave protest back in 2018 and after he was executed, reactions immediately flooded the internet not forgetting international organizations and state officials. The spokesman from the European union stated how disappointed they were and that the UN has always opposed death penalty as they insisted on how cruel it is to deny human dignity. The condemnation of the wrestler had its controversies as a result of leaked information confirming that he was tortured before making a confession. In a voice record of him in prison he stated that if he was to be executed, he wanted people to know that he was innocent and that he fought with all his strength to be heard but was still executed. The advocates of human rights and united nations have condemned the secret and hasty decisions that disregard the fundamental rights of human beings.
Executing Navid Afkari is surprisingly not a one-time incident because out of the 34 countries that are still practising the act of death penalty, Iran is automatically among the countries with the highest number of executions. According to research from amnesty international, approximately 250 executions were held in Iran in 2019 with only 196 people being charged with murder. 13 of these executions were publicly held with the intentions of preventing new violations but the real goal is to impose fear on the people thus stopping future riots. They clearly don’t want to be opposed or told what to do and as a result, they leave you fearing for your life or the lives of people close to you.
2. Death penalty must be abolished
The Death penalty is an inhuman and archaic practice and cannot prevent people from committing crimes. Studies show that applying capital punishment only encourages a circle of violence in that, the states that are still practising this act have a higher crime rate compared to states that chose to abolish it. Take a look at Canada, since stopping capital punishment in 1976, their homicide rate dropped massively to 52%. It has never been proven that capital punishment is more right than imprisonment. It creates a lot of difficulties especially for lawyers when trying to reverse a sentence in a case of miscarriage justice. Countries that are still practising the act should have in mind that no judicial system is perfect and that they are faced with risks of killing their innocent citizens.
It’s very clear now that currently we have many alternatives that can be used to deal with a criminal and don’t involve the death penalty. The best way of dealing with crime tendency remains through trying to invest in the method of correction, protection and rehabilitation. It has finally reached a time where countries like Iran, China and the USA listen to all arguments stated by abolitionist movements who wish that the death penalty as a form of punishment should and must be abolished. These movements also urge the international communities to take responsibility in condemning such kinds of behaviours because those countries belong to the same community and they all accepted the legal authorities of the United Nations.