Responding to news that the Iranian authorities have executed two men convicted of financial crimes – manipulating Iran’s gold and currency markets – after a grossly unfair trial, Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research and Advocacy Director, said:
“With these abhorrent executions the Iranian authorities have flagrantly violated international law and once again displayed their shameless disregard for the right to life.
“Under international human rights law, the death penalty is absolutely forbidden for non-lethal crimes, such as financial corruption.
“Use of the death penalty is appalling under any circumstances but it is even more horrific given that these men were convicted after a grossly unfair show trial that was broadcast on state television.
“The shocking manner in which their trial was fast-tracked through Iran’s judicial system without allowing them the chance of a proper appeal, is yet another example of the brazen disregard the Iranian authorities have for defendants’ basic due process rights.”
Vahid Mazloumin and Mohammad Esmail Ghasemi were accused of manipulating Iran’s gold and currency markets. They were sentenced to death in September on the charge of “spreading corruption on earth”. Dozens of other people in Iran have also been sentenced to prison terms after convictions on similar charges.
In August, Iran’s Supreme Leader approved a request by the head of judiciary to set up special courts to deal with crimes involving financial corruption. Since then, the Iranian authorities have carried out mass arrests of individuals whom they describe as “financially corrupt” and “saboteurs of the economy”, convicting them of charges related to financial crimes. Some have been sentenced to flogging, lengthy prison terms or the death penalty after short, grossly unfair trials.
Amnesty considers that trials before the special courts are inherently unfair as defendants are denied access to lawyers of their own choosing, have no right to appeal against jail sentences, and are given only ten days to appeal against death sentences.