Ongoing drug war deaths

September 17, 2012

We’ve talked about this before, but one of the truly criminal aspects of the international drug war is the extent to the UNODC and western governments ignore, facilitate, or outright fund and promote outrageous human rights abuses worldwide in the name of the drug war.

The Guardian brings it home again:

Has Britain’s war on drugs led to more executions in Iran?

In the 12 months to November last year, there were at least 600 executions, according to Amnesty International, 81% of which were for drugs offences.

And, among increasingly vocal human rights groups, the concern now is that the UK has unwittingly helped fuel the killing machine.

There is no shortage of those awaiting execution. It is estimated that as many as 4,000 Afghans alone are on death row in Iran for drugs offences. There are reports that some are executed without a trial and that others are juveniles. Human rights groups claim that many of those executed come from the most disadvantaged sectors of society. Some are women. Many of those arrested have been duped into carrying drugs for others. [...]

Even trafficking small amounts can prove fatal. In 2010 Iran introduced a new law prescribing corporal punishment for most drug crimes and the death penalty for anyone who “imports, produces, distributes, exports, deals in, puts on sale, keeps or stores, conceals and carries” more than 30 grams of a number of listed drugs, including psychotropic substances. “We’re talking about hundreds of people being killed by Iran every year because they carried some drugs across a border,” said Damon Barrett, deputy director of the charity Harm Reduction International. “These are mostly people living in poverty with no other options. Meanwhile, western donors, including the UK, as well as the United Nations, provide money and assistance to the Iranian authorities for drug enforcement.”

Yes, the blame goes to Iran, but the blame is also ours, because it’s our drug war that encourages and promotes this kind of extreme murder by foreign governments.

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Pete Guither is the editor of
  • MarkEntry

    Legalize cannabis. So, it can be licensed & sold, like alcohol. We’re all getting sick of the d*mn war on cannabis users. To what end? Prohibition has made cannabis so common place, & readily available that legalization couldn’t increase it’s use.

  • MarkEntry

    Increasingly, in the USA, we’re seeing a breakthrough in the battle against cannabis prohibition. It’s via the legal right of jury nullification. A jury in NH just nullified a case where a man was growing cannabis for his own use as a Rastifarian. Even an elderly lady jurist agreed the trial should be nullified.
    Everyone must demand a trial when it is available. This way cannabis offenses will so overwhelm the legal system that cannabis will have to be legalized & it’s sale be regulated, like alcohol.


September 2012
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