Human Rights (Iran)

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 12:45 pm on 6th June 2006.

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Photo of Geoff Hoon Geoff Hoon Minister of State (Europe), Foreign & Commonwealth Office 12:45 pm, 6th June 2006

I chose my words carefully, and I do not see any need to resile from them. Charges are brought for other matters, but I accept the force of what my hon. Friend was suggesting and the issue is of concern to us.

Referring to the Iranian judicial system, we have concerns about court hearings not always being held in public and about the principle of due process not always being respected. Cruel punishments such as flogging, stoning and amputation remain on the statute book. In a prominent recent case, the Iranian authorities executed two youths—one aged 17 and the other 20—on 13 May this year. They were hanged in Lorestan province barely a month after their alleged crime. The case raises important questions. How could a fair trial be completed in such a short time? Were the two able to exhaust every avenue of appeal open to them? Why does Iran continue to execute under-18s, in violation of international law?

The UK Government and the European Union have, naturally, posed those questions to the Iranian Government, but the case highlights important inconsistencies between Iran's stated policy of ending such executions and its actions. The international community clearly has a duty to respond to such developments, which undermine basic principles of human rights, and we are committed to addressing that issue.