European Union strongly condemns Iran’s new parliamentary bill

Application of the death penalty in Iran (July 18, 2008)

 Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union


The European Union is deeply concerned by the news of the public execution of ten Iranians during the week beginning 7 July 2008 alone. It is also worried about the parliamentary bill to extend the range of offences carrying the death penalty, in particular to include the establishment of websites disturbing the “psychological security of society”, as it is worded. The bill makes a disproportionate link between the acts committed and the penalty imposed and sets out to brutally restrict the exercise of freedom of expression. Being firmly committed to universal abolition of the death penalty, the EU strongly condemns its application in Iran and the parliamentary bill.

The European Union reaffirms its opposition to capital punishment under any circumstances. The death penalty offends human dignity. There is also no irrefutable evidence that it has any deterrent effect, while any miscarriage of justice in its use is irreversible and irreparable. The Iranian authorities have doubled the number of executions from 2006 to 2007, without achieving anything but a worsening crime rate.

The European Union urges Iran to respect international human rights standards, put an immediate stop to all executions and introduce a moratorium with the aim of abolishing the death penalty, in accordance with the resolution adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 18 December 2007. It calls on the Iranian parliament to withdraw its bill and support a thorough overhaul of judicial practice, making for more lenient sentences.

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 and Montenegro, and the EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova, align themselves with this declaration.

* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.