Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Human rights in Iran

Delivered in Plenary - 6th September 2010

Madam President

Once again this House finds itself discussing the brutal theocratic regime in Iran. The Iranian authorities mercilessly execute juveniles and young adults who committed crimes as children. Women who commit adultery are condemned under the Sharia law of Hud by stoning or lapidation under the category of so-called crimes of sexual misdemeanours.

Whereas most countries in the world which still impose the death penalty against adults do so exclusively for aggravated murder, Iranís Islamic interpretation of capital crimes is extremely wide and includes homosexuality and adultery.

Today, I would like to raise the case of Ebrahim Hamidi, an 18-year-old facing execution for sodomy, even though his accuser has admitted to lying. According to supporters, the boy, who was 16 at the time, neither assaulted the other man, nor is he a homosexual Ė not that it should matter anyway. His lawyer, Mohammed Mostafaei, has had to go into hiding because of an arrest warrant.

I also raise the case of Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, the topic of todayís debate. Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani has been accused of adultery, then corruption and indecency for appearing without a headscarf in a foreign journal, even though it was clearly a case of mistaken identity. To add insult to injury, she is now also accused of complicity in an alleged murder to which she was forced to confess when the case came under international scrutiny and pressure was applied on the Iranian regime.

We should be unswerving in our condemnation of Iranís appalling human rights record, just as we are of its efforts to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons and its determination to destroy the state of Israel and crush all democratic dissent. There is also the case of the dual Dutch-Iranian national, Mrs Bahrami, who was arrested for belonging to a monarchist organisation.

Here in this House tonight we appeal to the Iranian President to show some clemency, but I have to say I am not very hopeful.
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