Iran | Death Penalty According to Shariah Law

Chapter III of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran contains provisions related to the rights of the people.  In this Chapter, Article 22 states: “The dignity, life, property, rights, domicile, and occupations of people may not be violated, unless sanctioned by law.” However, the number of crimes punishable by death in Iran is among the highest in the world. Charges such as “adultery, incest, rape, sodomy, insulting the Prophet Mohammad and other great Prophets, possessing or selling illicit drugs, theft and alcohol consumption for the 4th time, premeditated murder, moharebeh (waging war against God), efsad-fil-arz (corruption on earth), baghy (armed rebellion), fraud and human trafficking” are capital offences.[1] Many of the charges punishable by death cannot be considered as “most serious crimes” and do not meet the ICCPR standards.[2] Murder, drug possession and trafficking, rape/sexual assault, moharebeh and efsad-fil-arz and baghy are the most common charges resulting

Amnesty International: Halt imminent execution of young man in Saudi Arabia

In response to the news that Mustafa al-Darwish could face imminent execution after his case was referred to the Presidency of State Security following the Supreme Court upholding his death sentence, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Lynn Maalouf said:

“Saudi Arabia’s authorities must immediately halt all plans to execute Mustafa al-Darwish who was convicted on charges of participation in anti-government riots and sentenced to death after a deeply flawed trial based on a so-called ‘confession’ obtained through torture. 

Time is rapidly running out to save his life.

“Use of the death penalty is an abhorrent violation of the right to life in all circumstances. Going ahead with this execution will greatly undermine Saudi Arabia’s recent progress on use of the death penalty which saw an 85% drop in executions in the Kingdom in 2020.

“International human rights law strictly prohibits the use of the death penalty for people who were under 18 years old at the time of the crime. Given that the official charge sheet does not specify the exact month the alleged crimes took place, Mustafa al-Darwish could have been either 17 or 18 at the time.

“Instead of putting Mustafa al-Darwish to death the authorities must immediately quash his conviction and order a fair re-trial of his case.”


In the last week of May 2021, Mustafa al-Darwish’s case was referred to the Presidency of State Security. In the absence of transparent information around judicial processes, it is Amnesty International’s assessment that this referral could signal his imminent execution as soon as the King ratifies his death sentence.

Mustafa al-Darwish, 26, was arrested in May 2015 for his alleged participation in riots between 2011 and 2012. During his detention, he was placed in solitary confinement and held incommunicado for 6 months and denied access to a lawyer until the beginning of his trial two years later, violating his right to a fair trial. 

In March 2018 he was sentenced to death by the Specialized Criminal Court on a string of charges including “participation in armed rebellion against the rulers, blocking roads and sowing discord”; “forming… an armed terrorist network and firing at security officials” and “seeking to disrupt national cohesion through his participation in more than 10 riots.”

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception, regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime; guilt, innocence, or other characteristics of the individual; or the method used to carry out the execution.

Source: Amnesty International, Staff, June 8, 2021

Saudi Arabia | Two young men face the death penalty for crimes they reportedly committed while minors

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
The relatives of 2 men awaiting execution in Saudi Arabia have asked British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to press for their release while he visits the kingdom.

Last Thursday, a Saudi court upheld the death sentence of Mustafa al-Darwish, who was detained as a child in 2015 for allegedly participating in anti-government riots in the Shia majority Eastern Province.

According to court documents, Darwish was subjected to prolonged pre-trial detention, torture and a grossly unfair trial.

Darwish's relatives said on Monday that there was an "immediate risk" of his death sentence being carried out.

"We received the tragic news that the supreme court has upheld the death sentence on Thursday after desperately trying to obtain information for months," they said, speaking through the human rights organisation Reprieve, as quoted by The Times on Monday.

"Courage from Mr Raab in raising Mustafa's case could ensure that his execution does not go ahead."

Raab met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Monday, where he said the 2 discussed "shared interests including trade, Iran and climate change".

It was not mentioned whether the foreign secretary brought up the issue of minors facing the death penalty.

The second man at risk of the death penalty is Abdullah al-Huwaiti, who was convicted on murder and armed robbery charges by a criminal court in October 2019 when he was 17, along with 5 other defendants.

Huwaiti says he was forced to confess to the alleged crimes under torture and his family claim that CCTV evidence shows he was not at the scene.

UN human rights experts have also expressed "deep concern" over Huwaiti's status on death row. They said he was convicted of a "crime allegedly committed when he was a minor and is now facing execution following a trial marred by torture allegations".

Last April, Saudi King Salman issued a royal decree ending death sentences for crimes committed as a minor, instead making the maximum sentence 10 years in a juvenile detention facility.

Still, rights groups have raised concerns about its implementation and previously warned that several youths still face the death penalty.

Source: Middle East Eye, Staff, June 8, 2021

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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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