Despite three years in his office, Iran´s president Hassan Rouhani has not delivered on his campaign promise of greater respect for civil and political rights. Executions, especially for drug-related offenses, continued at a high rate, during 2016.
Despite an initial slowdown in executions in the first months of 2016, authorities had executed at least 203 individuals by October 25.
Under Iranian law, many nonviolent crimes, such as “insulting the Prophet,” apostasy, same-sex relations, adultery, and drug-related offenses, are punishable by death. In December 2015, members of Parliament introduced a bill to eliminate the death penalty for drug offences that do not involve violence. However, the initiative, while welcomed by several authorities, has not moved forward.
Iranian courts, and particularly the revolutionary courts, regularly fell short of providing fair trials and allegedly used confessions obtained under torture as evidence in court. Iranian law restricts the right for a defendant to access a lawyer, particularly during the investigation period.
Prominent opposition figures such as Mir Hossein Mousavi, Zahra Rahnavard, and Mehdi Karroubi have remained under house arrest without charge or trial since February 2011. Tehran’s prosecutor, who has banned media from publishing the name of Iran’s former president, Mohamad Khatami, also prohibited him from attending several public gatherings.