Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran
A/HRC/22/56 para 78(i)
Full recommendation:
Consider a moratorium on capital punishment until the effectiveness of judicial safeguards can
be meaningfully demonstrated, and stay the executions of individuals who have alleged
violations of their right to due process;
Assessment using Impact Iran human rights indicators1
There is currently no standing moratorium on the death penalty in Iran.
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 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, 3 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,4 for 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”).7 Repeating offenses for specific crimes including drinking alcohol or drugs related
offences can be sentenced with the death penalty.
Despite the existence of several means and mechanisms that accept complaints regarding the
violation of rights in Iran, such as the Judge’s Disciplinary Court, the Parliament’s Article 90
Commission and, in general, any appeals courts including the Supreme Court, there is little
1

CCPR.6.1.S.1; CCPR.6.2.S.1; CCPR.6.3.P.1; CCPR.6.1.O.1
https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CCPR/Shared%20Documents/1_Global/CCPR_C_GC_36_8785_E.pdf
3
Human Rights Committee, general comment No. 36 (2018) on the right to life
4
Islamic Penal Code, articles 136 and 225, English translation, https://iranhrdc.org/english-translation-of-books-i-ii-of-the-newislamic-penal-code/
5
Islamic Penal Code article 234, English translation, Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, https://iranhrdc.org/englishtranslation-of-books-i-ii-of-the-new-islamic-penal-code/
6
Islamic Penal Code article 279, English translation, Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, https://iranhrdc.org/englishtranslation-of-books-i-ii-of-the-new-islamic-penal-code/
7
Islamic Penal Code article 286, English translation, Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, https://iranhrdc.org/englishtranslation-of-books-i-ii-of-the-new-islamic-penal-code/
2

1

Select target paragraph3