Senators seek end to Afghans’ execution in Iran
Efforts are being made to convince the Iranian government into transferring the bodies of the Afghans executed in the neighbouring country, a senior official of the Foreign Ministry informed lawmakers on Tuesday.
But Meshrano Jirga (Senate) members insisted the government must do all it could to ensure that the bodies were delivered to the victims’ relatives. A number of Afghans have been put to death in Iran in recent years.
About 5,000 Afghans are currently languishing in Iranian jails, 3,000 of them death-row prisoners, according to an investigation by a Wolesi Jirga (lower house) delegation.
Following the execution of six Afghans in late April and Tehran’s refusal to transfer the bodies to their families, the Senate had called for banning certain Iranian NGOs operating in the country.
A senator from Kabul, Nisar Ahmad Haris, had alleged the Iranian judiciary awarded death penalty to Afghans on drug smuggling charges without allowing them to hire defence lawyers.
Summoned by the upper house on the issue, Deputy Foreign Minister Attiqullah Atifmal regretted that some Afghans had been involved in smuggling drugs to different countries, including Iran.
Under the Iranian law, those detained with drugs were sentenced to death and their bodies not delivered to their families, he said.
Atifmal added his ministry would raise the execution of Afghans at a cabinet meeting and urge the president to discuss it with Iranian authorities.
“We will strive to get the bodies of those sentenced to death in Iran,” he promised, saying 2.5 million Afghans were currently living in that country. Of them, 900,000 have legal documents.
Atifmal said: “We have held a series of meetings on Afghan refugees with Iranian officials, who promised to settle their problems and provide employment opportunities to our countrymen.”
Second Deputy Chairman Rafiullah Gul Afghan said they were ready to assist the government in resolving the problems of Afghan refugees in Iran and Pakistan. But he urged the authorities to stop Iran from hanging Afghans.