Iran Must Be Taken Accountable
Once again the execution of Afghan citizens in Iran on charges of drug trafficking surfaced the news. The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) voiced concerns over violation of Afghans’ rights in Iran and the executions taken recently. According to media reports, the residents of northern Takhar province participated in funeral of five Afghan citizens who were executed in Iran lately. In response to the event, an AIHRC official said the Afghans executed in Iran had no access to defense lawyers, urging the government of Afghanistan to step up diplomatic measures to resolve the issue with the government of Iran.
This is not the first time that Afghans are executed in Iran on charges of drug trafficking, murder and other charges in recent years. Previously, such cases of hangings in Iran had resulted to vehement protest by the Afghan lawmakers. Last year, there were reports that more than eighty people had been hanged by Iranian government, mostly on charges of drug trafficking. At the time, the issue became very controversial in relations of the two countries as both houses of the parliament pressed the government for taking necessary actions for defending the rights of Afghan citizens in Iran.
In fact, Iran absolutely has the right to try foreign citizens in the country who commit crimes and wrongdoings. But foreign citizens including Afghans have the right of accessing defense lawyers. This right cannot be violated under any circumstances. Iran, as a member of the international community, is obliged to international laws including the laws related to justice for all people, either foreigners or its own citizens. Iranian officials repeatedly boast of observing the human rights and rights of the prisoners, but the fact no one can ignore is that the country is a major violator of human rights in the world.
Regarding the Afghans, it is obvious that there had been no proper judicial process in their trial process and mostly they are executed abruptly after being arrested. On the other hand, the government of Afghanistan has not been able or willing to pursue the issue through legal and diplomatic means. Sadly, perhaps the diplomatic system of Afghanistan does feel itself in a stance to defend the rights and status of Afghans around the world.
Many Afghans suffer from being ignored or their rights violated in other countries particularly in Iran and Pakistan. The incidents of executing Afghans in Iran have turned to an accepted norm in diplomatic relations of the two countries. It’s a big shame for Iran for its human rights violations and for Afghanistan for its inability to defend the dignity and rights of its citizens.
The government of Afghanistan must know that it will not be able to defend Afghans’ rights properly if it turns a blind eye to what happens on Afghan citizens in Iran. Afghanistan and the Afghans will not be respected in international arena if its government systematically fails to protect and defend rights of its citizens.