• Switzerland's news in English
UN expert slams rise in Iran executions
UN special rapporteur on Iran Ahmed Shaheed. Photo: Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UN expert slams rise in Iran executions

AFP · 16 Mar 2015, 20:58

Published: 16 Mar 2015 20:58 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The UN special rapporteur on Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, hailed "some limited improvements" on the ground in Iran since the 2013 election of President Hassan Rouhani, but warned "the overall situation has worsened."
Speaking to reporters before presenting his latest report on the human rights situation in Iran to the UN Human Rights Council, Shaheed pointed to soaring numbers of executions and the jailing of journalists and activists in the Islamic country.
He also warned that new legislation under discussion risked deepening the problem of discrimination against women and minorities.
Iran's ambassador to the UN in Geneva Mohsen Naziri Asl slammed Shaheed's report as "politically motivated", telling the council that the UN expert was "ignoring the positive developments in my country."
Shaheed, meanwhile, pointed out in his report that at least 753 people, including 25 women and 13 minors, were executed in Iran last year alone, marking a 12-year-high.
Counting the 252 executions in the country since the beginning of this year, Iran has executed more than 1,000 people since January 2014, he said.
"Iran continues to execute more individuals per capita than any country in the world," Shaheed told reporters.

Urges moratorium on executions

Story continues below…

That is particularly alarming, he said, considering a majority of all executions in the country are for drug-related offences or other crimes, including adultery, sodomy, and "vaguely worded national security offences"
that do not meet international standards for when the death penalty is permissible.
Shaheed called on Tehran to "declare immediately a moratorium on executions."
The UN expert, a former foreign minister of the Maldives, also lamented that Iranian authorities "continue to harass, arrest, prosecute and imprison many members of society who express criticism of the government or publicly deviate from officially sanctioned narratives."
Iran is one of the countries in the world that imprisons most journalists, he said.
Journalists, as well as activists, lawyers and opposition politicians are often charged with breaching a range of national security laws, including on propaganda against the system, and offending government leaders, he said.
Many had hoped that the election of Rouhani, regarded as a moderate, would lead to improvements in the human rights situation in Iran.
But Shaheed said the deterioration he had seen may have come because "hardline" elements in the country "want to undermine the president's image as a reformist."
Shaheed's comments came as Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met his US counterpart John Kerry in nearby Lausanne in a race to hammer out an elusive agreement on Tehran's nuclear programme.
"I warmly welcome these efforts, as I share a genuine hope for long-lasting peace and stability with those sitting at the negotiating table," Shaheed said.
But he noted that "there is concern among the Iranian civil society that the nuclear file may be casting a shadow over the human rights discussions."

Shaheed said he himself believed that "if there is improvement in terms of engagement on security issues, there is potential for improvement in other areas as engagement widens."

For more news from Switzerland, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Swiss woman wins headscarf court battle
Photo: Jack Guez / AFP file picture

A Swiss court has ruled against a company that fired a longtime employee after she began wearing the Muslim headscarf, marking one of the first such rulings in Switzerland, media reported Sunday.

Montreux throws hat in Olympic rings
Could Montreux host the 2026 Games? Photo: Ivo Scholz/Swiss Tourism

Montreux is to put itself forward as the host city for the 2026 winter Olympics as part of a potential bid by the cantons of Valais and Vaud.

Geneva car share scheme could help reduce city traffic
Catch a Car is aimed at short hops within a city. Photo: Catch a Car

Catch a Car, already in Basel, launches in Geneva next month.

Swiss women will ‘work for free’ for the rest of year
Female employees in Switzerland earn 19.3 percent less than their male colleagues. File photo: Randy Kashka

Switzerland's gender pay gap means from today, Friday October 21st, women in the country will effectively be working for free for the rest of 2016.

Swiss luxury watches stolen in Paris raid
Police outside the Girard-Perregaux watch store on Thursday. Photo: Bertrand Guay/AFP

The 10 Girard-Perregaux watches are worth half a million euros in total.

Brother-in-law arrested over murder of Swiss teacher
The victim worked in a school in Stabio, near the town of Mendrisio. Photo: Oliver Graf

The primary school teacher was found dead in Ticino earlier this week.

Inside Switzerland’s largest nuclear bunker – 40 years on
Designed to house 20,000 people, the bunker was built in and over two motorway tunnels. Photo: Unterirdisch Ueberleben

The Local takes a tour of the Sonnenberg bunker in Lucerne, opened 40 years ago at the height of the Cold War.

Ten Swiss ski resorts named most expensive in Europe
File photo: Renato Bagattini/Swiss Tourism

Skiers in Switzerland pay the highest prices for their ski passes of anywhere in Europe, according to research.

Eco group fights Bern over wind farm plans
There are currently more than 30 wind farms in Switzerland. Photo: Alpiq

Wind turbines are “gigantic and destructive” machines, says Paysage Libre Suisse.

Vegan wins battle to be accepted by Swiss army
Antoni Da Campo will now carry out his military service. Photo: Antoni Da Campo

A Swiss man who was told he would not be accepted for military service because of his strict veganism has finally succeeded in making the army change its mind.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
Photo: file
Some deodorants could cause breast cancer: Swiss study
Photo: Royal Savoy
In pictures: Inside the latest Swiss luxury hotel
Photo: AFP
Geneva airport bomb hoaxer faces 90,000-franc bill
Photo: Schaffhausen police
Mother leaves toddler son alone in car to go clubbing
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Swiss populist attacked by knife-wielding pensioner
Photo: File
Bern argues over passports for 3rd generation foreigners
Photo: Broad Bean Media
Muslim pupils must shake hands – ‘no ifs and buts’
jobs available