A member of the Iranian Parliament’s judiciary and legal commission says a bill signed by 70 MPs proposes to eliminate the death penalty from the Fight Against Narcotics Law.
In a report on Khaneh Mellat on Tuesday December 8, Mirhadi Gharaseyed said: “Today 70 MPs signed a bill to eliminate the death penalty from the Fight against Narcotics Law.”
He added that alternative penalties are suggested in the bill, which reserves the death penalty exclusively for incidents of “armed smuggling”.
The majority of death penalties issued in Iran are related to drug charges. The high number of executions in Iran has been repeatedly highlighted by human rights groups as cause for serious concern.
Gharaseyed added: “Upon ratification of this bill, prisoners who are currently on death row in prisons would be released, also relieving the judiciary of a heavy burden.”
Iran has one of the largest prison populations in the world, and unofficial reports rank its per capita incarceration rate as the fourth to eighth highest.
While the deputy head of the Task Force to Fight Narcotics announced last fall that it was trying to eliminate the death penalty from the Fight against Narcotics Law, a bill to that effect did not gain approval in Parliament.