Iran General NewsAfghanistan complains to Iran over death penalty, refugees

Afghanistan complains to Iran over death penalty, refugees

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AFP: Afghanistan said Friday it had summoned Iran’s representative here to complain about reports of Afghan minors being sentenced to death for drug smuggling and the forced expulsion of refugees. KABUL (AFP) — Afghanistan said Friday it had summoned Iran’s representative here to complain about reports of Afghan minors being sentenced to death for drug smuggling and the forced expulsion of refugees.

Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad Kabir Farahi also raised concerns at the meeting on Thursday about claims that Afghan nationals were beaten up in Tehran, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

It is not unusual in Iran for drug smugglers of Afghan origin to be executed in border provinces.

An unconfirmed report late October cited an Afghan human rights group saying a 17-year-old may have been hanged for smuggling 1.5 kilograms (three pounds) of heroin.

Farahi said “these children are being misused by drug smugglers and their conviction is contrary to human rights, international standards and the very good relations between two countries,” according to the statement.

The deputy minister asked the Iranian charge d’affaires, Ghulam Raza Nafar, to take up the issue with his government.

He also condemned the forced repatriation of Afghans in border areas, especially those with legal documents.

“At this time Afghanistan does not have the ability to absorb refugee groups. We want the Iranian authorities to revise their decision on this issue,” he was quoted as saying.

Iran has expelled around 160,000 unregistered Afghan refugees since April.

Farahi also demanded an explanation for an assault on Afghans in Iran.

The ministry said the Iranian official apologised for the incident, which he said arose after the distribution of a video clip taken by mobile phone which showed a woman being abused by what were thought to be Afghans but turned out to be Iranians.

Iran and Afghanistan publicly have good ties but their relationship is dogged by several issues, including the repatriation of refugees and US claims that Taliban insurgents are being supplied with weapons from across the border.

There are about 910,000 registered Afghan refugees in Iran and two million in Pakistan, war-scarred Afghanistan’s other neighbour, according to the United Nations.

More than 356,000 registered refugees have returned from Pakistan this year and 6,500 from Iran, it said in a statement Friday.

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