European Union condemns execution of protester in Iran and reiterates its opposition to death penalty

File – Protesters gather at a rally in solidarity with protesters in Iran in Melbourne, Australia. – AAPIMAGE / DPA

The European Union on Thursday condemned the execution of a 23-year-old man in Iran after he was convicted in connection with protests taking place in the country since the death in police custody of young Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini.

The EU diplomatic office has urged the Iranian authorities to refrain from applying the death penalty, while reiterating its opposition to this measure, calling for a «consistent policy towards total abolition».

«The EU calls on Iran to comply strictly with its obligations enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a party. Fundamental rights, including the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, must be respected in all circumstances,» reads a statement from the European External Action Service.

Thus, the European institutions have criticized the Tehran government’s use of the death penalty, as well as the use of forced confessions «as a basis for establishing the facts of alleged crimes.

«It is imperative that the Iranian authorities respect the right to due process of accused persons and ensure that persons under any form of detention or imprisonment are not subjected to any form of ill-treatment,» the letter continues.

The EU’s chief spokesman for foreign affairs and security policy, Pedro Stano, said the death penalty does not act as a deterrent to crime. «It is a definitive punishment that makes possible judicial errors irreversible,» he said, noting that it is «cruel and inhuman» and represents «an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity.

The United Nations and the French government have been among the first to react to the execution, condemning it «strongly» and warning of fears about the fate of other protesters sentenced to death in Iran.

Iran announced Thursday morning that it had executed the first prisoner officially convicted of an alleged crime stemming from the protests.

The prisoner, identified by the United Nations as Mohsen Shekari, was convicted of «intentionally» injuring a security guard with a long knife and blocking a street in the capital, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported.