Iran to Hang 300 for Drug Trafficking

Three hundred people convicted of drug trafficking offenses are on death row in Iran, the Islamic Republic's judiciary said Monday. According to the anti-death penalty group Hands Off Cain, at least 126 people have already been hanged for drug offenses so far this year.

The hangman has been -- and will be -- getting a real work out in Iran. (Image via Wikimedia.org)
"For 300 drug-related convicts, including those who were in possession of at least 30 grams of heroin, execution verdicts have been issued," said Tehran prosecutor-general Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, according to a Reuters report.

An annual British report on human rights put the number executed in Iran last year at more than 650, up from 388 in 2009. Of last year's executions, a whopping 590 were for drug trafficking, according to that report.

Members of the Iranian government have confirmed that drug executions make up a huge part of all executions, but added that if the West was unhappy with the killings, Iran could simply quit enforcing its drug laws.

"The number of executions in Iran is high because 74% of those executed are traffickers in large quantities of opium from Afghanistan bound for European markets," said Mohammad Javad Larijani, head of Iran's Supreme Council for Human Rights, during a press conference in May.

That press conference came after a meeting with representatives of South Africa, which had criticized Iran's quick resort to the death penalty.

"There is an easy way for Iran and that is to close our eyes so drug traffickers can just pass through Iran to anywhere they want to go," he said."The number of executions in Iran would drop 74%. That would be very good for our reputation."

[Editor's note: That's actually not the worst idea.]

For information on ongoing efforts to curtail the use of the death penalty for drug offenses, visit the International Harm Reduction Association's Death Penalty Project.

Iran
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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I am usually against the

I am usually against the death penalty in a lot of cases but maybe it should be the other way around. The people who fight the drug war by far kill, maim and ruin the lives of more people than those who traffic drugs. Even arguably more than those of a drug cartel member who traffics drugs. I would support the death penalty for the masterminds of Americas Drug War. As well as possibly current drug cartel leaders if it is proven that they have been responsible for many murders etc. I am far from being a supporter of any drug cartel due to the killings, kidnappings etc. But none of this would be so without the drug war.

Drug Cartels

Bootleggers prevailed in the USA during the prohibition because prohibition provided them with a market. When prohibition was repealed the bootleggers and criminals no longer had a market and turned to other illicit markets - prostitution and drugs.

It is self evident that the drug war cannot be won by targeting the supply side - self evident in economic terms. The market must be curbed and if the market cannot be curbed, as for the market for alcohol, it is far better to normalise and legitimise the supply so that it can be controlled.

The underlying principal of prohibition is that "if its illegal people do not do it." When it becomes self evident that this is just not true then it is time for legalisation and control. Quite apart from the economic gains to the community in taxation income.

That reduction of supply will reduce demand is an economic oxymoron; reduction of supply will simply increase price (or reduction in quality & purity). Increase in supply does not lead to an increase to demand, it reduces price. Simple empirical evidence tells us that even as tobacco prices increased (with increased taxation) demand remained constant. Hence reducing supply to increase price will not reduce demand.

The whole war on drugs is based on false premises. It is time for a cease fire leading to a peace accord. Then the illegal drug cartels will be replaced with legitimate taxable and controllable business.

Think of the idiocy of Australia's "zero tolerance" not only has it made no difference to drug use, but even the courts are ambivalent and demonstrate the community expectations. The maximum penalty for marijuana possession in Queensland is 20 years imprisonment and/or $300 000 fine, yet the usual penalty in a magistrates court is about $150 - $600 depending on first or subsequent offenses. 

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