On February 17, a formal session was held by members of the European Parliament to adopt a new resolution, which condemns the ever-increasing number of executions that have taken place in Iran at the hands of the Iranian regime.
The MEPs in attendance also denounced the regime for the massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners that took place in Iran in 1988, and demanded that an international investigation is launched to hold regime officials accountable for their horrific crimes.
The Secretary-General of the European Conservatives and Reformists Party, MEP Anna Fotyga questioned the purpose of the death penalty in Iran, and stated that crimes against humanity, at the hands of regime officials, have been ongoing for the past four decades.
Speaking about what the international community need to do to bring the regime’s criminal reign to an end, she said, “Words are not enough. Our action is needed because what we see in Iran – also with the financing of terrorists outside and meddling in the region and even in our territories – requires our action and very strong sanctions.”
This latest resolution heavily criticizes the regime for the number of executions that took place in Iran in 2021. Around 275 people were hanged between January 1 and December 1, 10 of which were women, and 2 were child offenders. The numbers significantly rose from August, when Ebrahim Raisi was inaugurated as the regime’s latest president.
MEP Javier Zarzalejos of the European People’s Party Group highlighted that in reference to Iran, the phrase ‘death penalty’ is too generous to describe the horrors that take place in the country. He openly referred to the routine executions as ‘state murder’ and ‘crimes against humanity’.
He also pointed out that in regards to the enforced disappearances and the mass execution of political prisoners during the 1988 massacre, there has never been any investigations to hold those in power, who were responsible for the crimes against humanity, accountable for their involvement.
“… women in Islamic fundamentalist regimes are the ones who pay the highest price. I have in my eyes the images of a shocking video, where a husband beheading his seventeen-year-old wife, accused of adultery, walks the streets smiling, exposing his head like a trophy. In Iran, a man who kills his 14-year-old daughter faces eight years in prison; a woman who takes off her veil risks up to 24,” said MEP Susanna Ceccardi of the Identity and Democracy Party.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) said, “The resolution specifically raises the cases of Mohammad Javad, a boxing champion, who was sentenced to death in January 2022 after being charged with ‘spreading corruption on Earth’; and Navid Afkari, a wrestler who stated that he had been tortured into making a false confession, was executed in September 2020.”
Representative of the Verts/ALE Group, MEP Jordi Solé pointed out that regime authorities in Iran continue to carry out death sentences, despite the international community repeatedly calling out for these rampant executions to be stopped. He explained that the purpose of the death penalty, in the eyes of the regime, is to “intimidate, persecute and try to eradicate any kind of political opposition in the country.”
He also expressed, “The culture of impunity has been prevailing in the country for too many decades. Iranian society deserves justice and reparation, and they also deserve to live in a free, inclusive and democratic country that respects human rights and dignity.”
During the session, the MEPs also expressed their disgust in regards to the use of torture within Iranian prisons, as they discussed the dire human rights situation in Iran. Ethnic and religious minorities, especially, face major discrimination from the Iranian regime on a daily basis.
The NCRI said, “On the Iranian regime’s ongoing support for global terrorism the MEPs highlighted the fact that the U.S. State Department outlined that Iran remains the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism in recent years, providing political, financial, operational and logistical support to a variety of groups listed in both the EU terror list and US list of foreign terrorist organizations.”