Posted by: bahareiran | August 13, 2011

Death sentences of mothers to be reviewed

Three women and two men facing execution for drug trafficking offences in Iran after unfair trials are believed to have had their cases sent for review by Iran’s Amnesty and Clemency Commission. A decision is expected on ’Id al-Fitr, the last day of Ramadan, which falls at the end of August.

Hourieh Sabahi, Leila Hayati and Roghieh Khalaji were arrested on 30 January 2009 along with two men whose names are not known to Amnesty International. All five are believed to be low-ranking members of a larger drug trafficking operation. During their interrogation, they had no access to a lawyer. They were tried before Branch 2 of the Revolutionary Court in Hamedan, Iran, and sentenced to death. The death penalty is a mandatory sentence for those onvicted of trafficking more than specified amounts of certain drugs. They had no right to appeal, as their sentences were only confirmed by the Prosecutor-General, as permitted under the Anti-Narcotics Law. Their requests for pardon have been rejected on two previous occasions but now are believed to be under review.

The women are all mothers of dependent children, currently cared for by relatives. Hourieh Sabahi has four children, one of whom is disabled. Two of them are aged 15 and 13; the ages of the other are unknown. Leila Hayati has a 10-year-old son and Roghieh Khalaji has a 14-year-old son and a 12-year-old daughter. Their husbands are reportedly drug-addicts,

either serving life sentences in prison or homeless, and are unable to support their children. The women reportedly turned to drug trafficking as a result of poverty.

UN human rights experts have repeatedly stated that drugs offences do not meet the criterion of “most serious crimes”, to which the use of the death penalty must be restricted under international law. (Amnesty International – Aug. 10, 2011)

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