Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions A/HRC/23/47/Add.5 para 57
Full recommendation:
The Special Rapporteur notes that 17 communications were sent to the Government of the Islamic
Republic of Iran during the period under review. He thanks the Government for the responses received to
five communications. At the same time, he regrets that the Government did not provide replies to 12
communications, and encourages it to respond substantively to all of them. The Special Rapporteur is
particularly concerned about the high number of cases regarding the imposition of the death penalty in
the Islamic Republic of Iran in contravention of international human rights law, namely of the most
serious crimes provision and the standards on fair trial and due process safeguards. Should these
allegations be corroborated, he strongly encourages the Government to stay all executions and commute
without delay the death sentences. He also calls upon the Government to bring its domestic legislation
and practice in conformity with the international law requirements regarding the imposition of the death
penalty in the countries which have not yet abolished it.
Assessment using Impact Iran human rights indicators1
In its latest General Comment on Article 6, the Human Rights Committee explicitly stipulated that the term
“the most serious crimes” must “be read restrictively and appertain only to crimes of extreme gravity,
involving intentional killing. Crimes not resulting directly and intentionally in death […], although serious
in nature, can never serve as the basis, within the framework of Article 6, for the imposition of the death
penalty. In the same vein, a limited degree of involvement or of complicity in the commission of even the
most serious crimes, […], cannot justify the imposition of the death penalty.”2
The Islamic Republic of Iran continues to apply the death penalty 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,
in contravention with article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.3 For example,
the death penalty may be applied to some cases of adultery,4 certain cases of consensual same-sex
intercourse between men5, or for vaguely defined offences such as moharebeh (“enmity against god”)6
and efsad-e fel-arz (“corruption on earth”) that do not necessarily involve intentional killing.7 The Human
Rights Committee explicitly stipulated that the imposition of the death penalty cannot “be based on
vaguely defined criminal provisions, whose application to the convicted individual would depend on
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 (HRC), 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 UN Human Rights Committee (HRC), 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
4 Islamic Penal Code (2013), Articles 136 and 225, English translation, Iran Human Rights Documentation Center,
https://iranhrdc.org/english-translation-of-books-i-ii-of-the-new-islamic-penal-code/
5 Islamic Penal Code (2013), Article 235, English translation, Iran Human Rights Documentation Center,
https://iranhrdc.org/english-translation-of-books-i-ii-of-the-new-islamic-penal-code/
6
Islamic Penal Code (2013), Article 279, English translation, Iran Human Rights Documentation Center,
https://iranhrdc.org/english-translation-of-books-i-ii-of-the-new-islamic-penal-code/
7 Islamic Penal Code (2013), Article 286, English translation, Iran Human Rights Documentation Center,
https://iranhrdc.org/english-translation-of-books-i-ii-of-the-new-islamic-penal-code/

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