(New York) – Amnesty International today expressed concern for the safety of five death row inmates whose transfer from Ghezel Hesar Prison in Karaj near Tehran to the capital’s Evin Prison has sparked fears about their imminent execution.
At least one of the men, Hamid Gholamy, is due to be executed on the morning of November 7 after being convicted for a drug offense in June 2011. Gholamy was acquitted three months earlier from a similar alleged offense due to a lack of evidence.
Gholamy was reportedly tortured or otherwise ill-treated while in detention, and was awaiting a decision on his clemency request when he was suddenly transferred to Evin Prison.
“These men’s lives must be spared by the Iranian authorities, who regrettably seem bent on continuing their state killing spree,” said Ann Harrison, deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa program at Amnesty International.
“Of the more than 380 people we believe were put to death in Iranian prisons so far this year, the vast majority were convicted of drug-related offenses – which fall far short of the ‘most serious crimes’ threshold set by international human rights law.”
Under Iranian law, those convicted of drug offenses are not permitted to exercise their right to appeal, as required by international law. Many alleged drugs offenders are executed after unfair trials in which they have been denied the possibility of a review by a higher tribunal.
“Amnesty International opposes the use of the death penalty in all cases. While Iran’s security forces have a right to prosecute individuals for drug offenses, they must eliminate capital punishment for such crimes,” said Harrison.
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.