Iran executions raise alarm over European funding

September 30, 2014

Image of Barbed wire

Concerns have been raised about a new wave of executions in Iran, after it emerged that authorities in the country last week executed a man for ‘heresy’. Further reports suggest an Iranian woman could be executed today after being charged with the murder of a man who attempted to rape her.

Iran has one of the highest rates of capital punishment in the world, with large numbers executed each year for non-lethal crimes. Up to 80 per cent of death sentences given in Iran relate to drug offences, which has led to criticisms of the anti-narcotics aid given to Iran through the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The UNODC receives significant funding from the UK, France and the EU, among others.

Commenting, Maya Foa, director of Reprieve’s death penalty team, said: “These executions are a worrying reminder of the prevalence of capital punishment in Iran – huge numbers are executed every year for ‘crimes’ such as apostasy and adultery, while up to 80% of death sentences are given for non-lethal drug offences. The UN and EU countries need to be unequivocal in their stance against the death penalty – and that includes ending the anti-narcotics funding that so often leads to executions.”


Notes to editors

1. For further information, please contact Reprieve’s press office: +44 (0) 207 553 8160 or see