Concluding observations Human Rights Committee CCPR/C/79/Add.25 para 18

Full recommendation:
The Committee recommends that domestic laws should be revised with a view to curtailing the
number of offences currently punishable by the death penalty and to reducing the number of
executions. Public executions should be avoided and the accused should, in all cases, be
provided with all necessary guarantees, including the right to a fair trial as provided for under
article 14 of the Covenant.

Assessment using Impact Iran human rights indicators1

A. Domestic laws should be revised with a view to curtailing the number of offences
currently punishable by the death penalty and to reducing the number of executions
The death penalty continues to be applied in the Islamic Republic of Iran to a wide range of
offences that do not meet the threshold of “most serious crimes”, in other words, crimes that do
not involve intentional killing,2 in contravention with article 6 of the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights. For example, the death penalty may be applied in some cases of
adultery,3 for certain cases of consensual same-sex intercourse between men4 or for vaguely
defined offences such as moharebeh (“enmity against god”)5 and efsad-e fel-arz (“corruption on
earth”).6
In November 2017 an amendment made to the law on drug trafficking entered into force,
replacing the mandatory death penalty with a prison term of up to 30 years for non-violent drugrelated offences and increased the quantity of drugs required for a death sentence to be imposed.
However, mandatory death sentences for numerous drug-related offences were retained and
transformed a number of crimes into capital crimes for first-time offenders in specific
circumstances. 7 The Human Rights Committee has consistently underscored that drug-related

1

CCPR.6.2.S.1; CCPR.14.3.S.1
CCPR.6.2.P.1; CCPR.14.3.P.1; CCPR.14.3.P.2; CCPR.14.3.P.3
CCPR.6.2.O.2
2
UN Human Rights Committee, General Comment no. 36, Article 6 (Right to Life), 3 September 2019, CCPR/C/GC/35,
available at https://www.refworld.org/docid/5e5e75e04.html
3
Islamic Penal Code (2013), articles 136 and 225
4
Islamic Penal Code (2013) article 235
5
Islamic Penal Code (2013) article 279
6
Islamic Penal Code (2013) article 286
7
Drug trafficking law, arts. 8 and 45

1

Select target paragraph3