Iran may defer Afghans’ execution
KABUL (PAN): Foreign Minister Dr. Zalmai Rassoul has asked Iranian authorities to delay the implementation of death penalties awarded to Afghan citizens in the neighbouring country, an official said on Sunday.
Rassoul issued the call at a meeting with his Iranian counterpart Akbar Salehi in Vienna, where they attended the UN Alliance of Civilisations’ 5th Global Forum, a spokesman for the foreign ministry in Kabul said.
Leaders from around the world, including UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, debated current global issues such as Syria, Mali, the Israel-Palestine conflict and the future of sustainable development at the closed-door meetings.
Addressing a weekly media briefing, ministry spokesman Janan Musazai said Salehi had accepted Rassoul’s demand. He promised to request the judiciary to defer the execution of Afghans on death row in that country.
A team of Iranian judicial organs’ representatives would visit Tehran in near future to find a lasting negotiated solution to the problem, the spokesman said, without giving exact dates. The two sides will evolve a mechanism for future cooperation on the emotive issue.
In response to Afghan government’s demand, Iranian courts had earlier commuted the death penalties of some Afghans into life imprisonment, Musazai said. Again, he gave no figures.
Although Afghan and Iranian officials are yet to say how many Afghans are on death row in Iran, the Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) has put the number at 2,000.
“Unfortunately, there are no specific figures for the Afghans hanged in Iran -- mainly due to the absence of an effective information-sharing mechanism between the judicial organs of the two countries,” he added.
Musazai hoped the creation of such a mechanism would help disclose the number of Afghan inmates in Iranian jails, especially those executed. It would also enable the foreign ministry to ensure consular access to the prisoners and hire defence lawyers for them.
He added: “We aimed close cooperation with Tehran to provide consular protection to Afghans inmates in Iranian jails and Afghan government provide defense lawyer to them in needed time.”
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