For several months now, as we have long feared, the Islamic Republic of Iran has been using the death penalty against protesters in order to send one clear message: “we have the right to life and death over our citizens!”
During the closing ceremony of the Berlin Congress, we awarded the Robert-Badinter Prize to the Iranian lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh. We also nominated Narges Mohammadi for honorary citizenship of the city of Lyon, in support of the Iranian people, human rights defenders and abolitionists in Iran.
We have been warning for a long time about the Iranian regime, which is capable of moving from a strong-arm clampdown of demonstrations and the oppression of women to massive and indiscriminate repression, culminating in the death penalty and taking place in the revolutionary courts and (in particular) the infamous Evin prison.
From October to November 2022, ECPM mobilised with its partners, including Impact-Iran and Iran Human Rights, to call for a special session on Iran. The occasion for the Human Rights Council would to establish an independent investigation mechanism. We held press conferences on the topic, advocated before the Human Rights Council in Geneva and raised awareness among the diplomatic corps.
Our joint ECPM and Iran Human Rights Report on the death penalty in Iran, due in April, will give a clear picture of the reality in the field and the horrifying situation in Iran. We are fully committed to bring the Islamic regime in Iran to heel.
Loss of a dear friend to the abolitionist community
Henry Watkins Skinner, known as Hank Skinner, passed away on 16 February in Gavelston Hospital. He had suffered a stroke, was left uncared for almost 10 days in his cell last December, and fought against the inevitable with great courage. We have been following Hank’s case for years, firstly because he was the husband of our friend (and board member) Sandrine Ageorges-Skinner, but also and above all because Hank’s case was emblematic of the tragedy of the death penalty in the United States. A succession of ineptitudes, mismanagement, botched investigations, misplaced seals, erroneous evidence, witness recantations, DNA tests that set precedents…in short, everything that makes a case a possible innocent on death row. I had the opportunity to meet him in person in Livingston prison last April in a moment that will remain forever etched in my memory.
Our sincere thoughts go first to his wife, my friend Sandrine, and to each and every people who supported him, his lawyers Rob and Doug, his family and especially his daughter Nathalie.
You can find the highlights of the Congress here as well as all the conferences in catch-up here.