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article imageOp-Ed: Meanwhile, Iran is hanging one person every twelve hours

By Michael Cosgrove     Jan 29, 2011 in Politics
It is understandable that the eyes of the world be turned towards Tunisia and Egypt, but meanwhile Iran is quietly and efficiently hanging people at an alarming rate. The tempo has increased since the New Year, with 66 victims as of today and counting.
The Canadian Press reports that the Iranian ambassador to Holland was summoned to the Dutch Foreign ministry yesterday after the Dutch government learned from Iranian state TV that a Dutch-Iranian woman had been hanged in Iran.
The woman, Zahra Bahrami, had been charged with possessing and selling cocaine, although she had been in prison since December 2009 when she was arrested on charges of committing ‘security crimes’ during the upheaval which followed the Iranian presidential elections. Dutch diplomats were not allowed to visit her during her time in prison because Iran does not recognize the principle of dual nationality.
Bahrami was not the only woman to be sentenced to hang in Iran. Sakineh Ashtiani was sentenced to death by hanging in 2006 for alleged adultery, then the sentence was upped to 99 lashes followed by stoning to death before the authorities decided to revert to hanging her instead after intense international pressure. She is still in prison awaiting her fate.
Iran has been hanging people with renewed zeal since the beginning of 2011 and France 24 International News says that 66 people have been hung there since January 1st according to AFP figures based on media reports. That’s one person every 12 hours as of yesterday.
Many of them were hung for alleged drug trafficking, although homosexuals and political activists have suffered the same fate.
Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani has been sentenced to death for a crime for which she is innocent.
Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani has been sentenced to death for a crime for which she is innocent.
Save Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani
What is intolerable about this situation is not the fact that Iran has the death penalty, although I am against it in almost all instances. Iran is not the only country with the death penalty but what is unacceptable in Iran’s case is that it hangs people for relatively minor crimes such as adultery and theft and it hangs them without adequate investigations or legal representation being offered to the accused, without trials or after condemnation by kangaroo courts. Iran also hangs people for their political opinions and sexual orientation and hangings are often carried out in public in the most cruel of circumstances. In other words, Iran uses state terror against its own people.
I wrote an article yesterday pleading for a more measured approach towards regime change in Muslim countries such as Egypt and Tunisia as I fear that too much too soon may lead to an increase in Muslim extremism that could destabilize those countries or even take them over.
I would like to add here that that article’s argument does not apply to Iran, which is already run by religious zealots and terrorist backers who are intent on possessing nuclear weapons. The sooner revolution hits the streets of Tehran the better.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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