Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Hangings in Iran

Delivered in Plenary - 4th September 2008

Mr President

The brutal theocratic regime in Tehran seems to take a perverse pleasure in shocking the world and defying the civilised standards that characterise most other countries. Iran is notorious not only for the sheer volume of executions, but the regular and merciless executions of juveniles and young adults who committed crimes as children.

Whereas most countries that still impose the death penalty against adults do so exclusively for aggravated murder, Iran’s interpretation of capital crimes is extremely wide and includes homosexuality and adultery. The courts often impose such a sentence for what to us in Europe are misdemeanours or not an offence at all.

In the past, teenage girls found to be sexually active outside marriage have been executed for so-called ‘crimes of sexual chastity’. As a Union, we should be unwavering in our condemnation of Iran’s appalling human rights record, just as we are of its efforts to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons. We appeal here in this House for the Iranian President to show clemency, but I have to say I am not very hopeful.