Thursday, January 28, 2010

Death Penalty Wake Up Call in Iran

Iran's use of the death penalty to eliminate political opposition should give fair warning to all freedom loving countries of just how dangerous legalized killing can be. Consider this report:
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iran on Thursday executed two men accused of involvement in an armed anti-government group, as the public prosecutor announced that new death sentences have been issued against opposition activists involved in protests over June's disputed presidential election. The two men, who were hanged before dawn Tuesday, did not appear to be connected to the postelection protests - at least one of them was arrested before the election,according to his lawyer. But state media depicted the two as part of the protest movement, a sign of how the government has lumped together many of its enemies with the political opposition amid its postelection crackdown. The media's depiction of the executions may aim to intimidate the opposition ahead of new street demonstrations expected in February. In a further move likely aimed at cowing protesters, Tehran's prosecutor announced that five people have been sentenced to death for involvement in the most recent major demonstrations, on Dec. 27. That day saw the worst violence of postelection crackdown, with at least eight people killed in clashes between police and protesters and hundreds arrested.
The new verdicts raise to nine the number of people sentenced to death for involvement in protests, said the prosecutor, Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi. The two men who were executed, Mohammad Reza Ali Zamani and Arash Rahmanipour, were convicted by a Revolutionary Court of belonging to "counterrevolutionary and monarchist groups," plotting to overthrow "the Islamic establishment" and planning assassinations and bombings, Dowlatabadi told state TV.
Note in particular the reference to planned "assassinations and bombings" as additional justification for imposition of the death penalty.

Monday, January 25, 2010

What Is Wrong With the Death Penalty?

Two words: premeditated homicide. Premeditation, the same thing that serves as the most aggravating of all factors in capital sentencing hearings, dominates every execution. It's just not for me.