Iran Human RightsIran executes bribery convict

Iran executes bribery convict

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New York Times: Iran’s judiciary has executed an airport customs contractor accused of bribe-taking and other corruption and has sentenced three other airport employees to death, the Iranian news agency ISNA reported Tuesday.
The New York Times

By NAZILA FATHI
Published: January 30, 2008

TEHRAN — Iran’s judiciary has executed an airport customs contractor accused of bribe-taking and other corruption and has sentenced three other airport employees to death, the Iranian news agency ISNA reported Tuesday.

Capital punishment for murder, rape and robbery is not uncommon under Iran’s strict Islamic judicial code, but death sentences for corruption crimes are unusual.

A judiciary spokesman, Alireza Jamshidi, was quoted by ISNA as saying that three airport employees of Mehrabad Airport in Tehran and a customs contractor had been charged with “bureaucratic corruption, economic crimes, interference in the economic system and other crimes.”

The spokesman said the case involved a bribe of more than 10 billion rials, or about $1.07 million, but did not explain whether all four defendants had each received that sum or had shared it. He said the customs contractor, who was not identified further, had already been put to death, but that the other three defendants had appealed and asked for their sentences to be commuted to life imprisonment.

It was unclear when or how the contractor was executed. Most death sentences in Iran are carried out by hanging.

The number of executions in Iran has increased sharply in the past year. According to a count by Agence France-Presse based on reports in local newspapers, Iran hanged 298 people in 2007, compared with 177 in 2006.

Mr. Jamshidi acknowledged that the death sentence was an unusual punishment for corruption convictions “unless the accused is accused of interfering in the country’s monetary system.”

He also announced punishments for 54 followers of the Bahai faith who were arrested early last year in Shiraz, a city in southern Iran. He said three had received prison terms of four years on charges of “propagating against the regime.” The other 51 received suspended prison terms and were released on the condition that they take courses taught by the state-run Islamic Propaganda Organization, Agence France-Presse reported.

Iran’s theocracy does not recognize the legitimacy of Bahaism, which was founded in 19th century. Members have complained of repression since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

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