It has come to my attention that in the vast majority of instances in which Iran’s death-row mechanism is reported in the media, the reporter’s critical eye seems to be looking the other way.
There appears to be a blind assumption that (a) all the accused are guilty and (b) they deserved to die.
This Reuters piece, headlined ‘Iran hangs 10 drug smugglers’, notes that:
Iran invariably dismisses criticism from Western human rights groups over its high rate of executions, saying it is implementing Islamic law and responding to a major drugs problem.
In past posts, I have quoted Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International on this matter. “In reality, Iran’s drug enforcement programs increase its capacity to arrest alleged drug offenders,” said Rebecca Schleifer [advocacy director of the Health and Human Rights Division at Human Rights Watch]. “They make it easier to prosecute alleged offenders based on unfair trials, and even apply the death sentence under the draconian drug laws of Iran’s revolutionary courts.”
The short Reuters news bulletin, while blindly accepting the guilt of Iran’s death row candidates, at least managed to highlight the host of ‘sins’ for which one could be put to death in Iran. These include, amongst others, “armed robbery”, “drug trafficking” and “apostasy” – the renouncing of Islam. Let’s not forget the act of a man lying with another man. But that could never happen; as there are in fact no gays in Iran. Right, Mr. Ahmadinejad?