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HARM REDUCTION INTERNATIONAL: ‘THE DEATH PENALTY FOR DRUG OFFENCES’ 2011 REPORT

September 14, 2011: Harm Reduction International has released a new report: The Death Penalty for Drug Offences: Global Overview 2011. One of the key findings of the report is:
“There are likely to be more than a thousand people executed every year for a drug offence and in many environments the majority or even totality are non-nationals of the executing state.
The countries that do the most executing particularly like to execute people who come from other countries (don’t assume that being an American will protect you).
Harm Reduction International points out the state of international law regarding execution, particularly for drug offenses:
The lawful application of capital punishment is significantly restricted under international law. Article 6(2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states that the penalty of death may only be applied to the ‘most serious crimes’. Over the past twenty-five years UN human rights bodies have interpreted Article 6(2) in a manner that limits the number and type of offences for which execution is allowable under international human rights law. While many retentionist governments argue that drug offences fall under the umbrella of ‘most serious crimes’, this is not the perspective of the UN Human Rights Committee or the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, both of which have stated that drug offences do not constitute ‘most serious crimes’ and that executions for such offences are therefore in violation of international human rights law. This is supported by international State practice given the small minority of countries retaining capital punishment for drugs. In recent years there has also been increasing support for the belief that capital punishment in any form violates the prohibition of cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment, as enshrined in numerous UN and regional human rights treaties, and customary international law.
I’d like to see the UNODC focus more on this area. When UNODC head Yury Fedetov recently visited Iran and praised them effusively for their drug seizures, saying:
“Iran is our important partner in the war on drugs,” he said, adding, it is a “good and reliable” partner for the international community as well.
“We will make efforts to increase international support for Iran,” he added.
Where was the admonishment for their execution of drug offenders in violation of UN law? According to reports (including from Iran government sources) as detailed in the HRI document, Iran executed at least 590 last year for drug offenses and has executed over 10,000 for drug offenses since 1979.” (Sources: Harm Reduction International, 14/09/2011)

IRAN: 22 PRISONERS HANGED
SAUDI ARABIA: PRISONER DIES DAY BEFORE EXECUTION
SAUDI ARABIA: MAN BEHEADED FOR MURDER
IRAN: TWO PRISONERS HANGED
EGYPT: ASHTON, EU WORKS FOR THE ABOLITION OF DEATH PENALTY
TAIWAN COURT ACQUITS EXECUTED SOLDIER IN RAPE CASE
INDIA: EXISTENCE OF DEATH PENALTY WARRANTS IMPOSITION IN SOME CASES – SC
SAUDI BEHEADS MURDERER, SYRIAN SMUGGLER
JAPAN: JUSTICE MINISTER HIRAOKA CALLS FOR NATIONAL DEBATE ON DEATH PENALTY
CHINA: 4 UIGHUR MEN SENTENCED TO DEATH OVER ATTACKS
IRAN: TEN PEOPLE EXECUTED
IRAN: SIX HANGED FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: INDIANS ON SHARJAH DEATH ROW TO WALK FREE
BANGLADESH: 6 TO DIE FOR KILLING AL LEADER
IRAQI BILL TO FORCE PRESIDENT TO SIGN DEATH SENTENCES
INDIA: COURT AWARDS DEATH TO FIVE MEMBERS OF FAMILY
GEORGIA (USA): TROY DAVIS EXECUTION SET FOR SEPTEMBER 21
SAUDI ARABIA TRIPLES BLOOD MONEY
BANGLADESH: MAN HANGED FOR KILLING WOMAN, SON
SAUDI ARABIA: MAN EXECUTED FOR MURDER
IRAN: FOUR PEOPLE HANGED IN KERMAN
BAHAMAS: DEATH SENTENCES TOSSED
IRAN HANGS SIX CONVICTS IN PRISON
BANGLADESH: DEATH PENALTY EXECUTED IN RAJSHAHI JAIL
THAILAND: MALAYSIAN TRIO TO HANG FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING
CHINESE EXECUTED FOR ATTACKING FEMALE STUDENTS
JAPAN: NEW JUSTICE MINISTER WON'T OK EXECUTIONS IN NEAR FUTURE
UGANDA: SOLDIER TO HANG FOR MURDER
CHINA: 2 EXECUTED AFTER COURT TURNS DOWN THEIR APPEAL

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