July 10, 2013

Message to 5th World Congress Against the Death Penalty

The following is the manuscript of Emadeddin Baghi's speech delivered in 5th World Congress Against the Death Penalty on 12 June 2013.
because Emadeddin Baghi Was prohibited from leaving his country His message was read by his representative.

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Ladies and Gentlemen
I’d like to extend my greetings to you, though
I’m afraid to say that I have been deprived of attending your great gathering. I consider myself a humble and deprived member who is unable to attend the gathering of like-minded friends. Words defy me, but at the request of the organizers of the Congress, I send you this message.
The tableaux donated to the Congress and ECPM carry a message: “Nothing in the world is more sacred than human life”. This represents high value of what the Congress and the participants are doing. The biggest battle on the earth is the one between the defenders and the deprivers of the Right to Life and The World Congress against the Death Penalty is at the forefront of it. The formation of the World Coalition against the Death Penalty sowed a seed in 2002 with the “French NGO Together against the Death Penalty” which turned into a sapling and it continues to become a tall tree whose shade extends on the earth like the wings of the angles and take the TORCH OF LIFE at hand successfully.
Where there is execution, you cannot expect the dignity of human beings be respected there or the meaning of “dignity” has not been correctly perceived because man is the subject and purpose of life. Everything has been created for him, but man has not been created for things This has been mentioned in Quranic verses and in the Bible (for Qur’anic attestations, see 2:29; 14:32-33; 51:38; 45:12-13; 16:12-14)
When I go deep into many a social problem, e.g. mismanagement, resorting to violence, aggressiveness, wars, and domestic problems, , I come to one common denominator: lack of belief in “Human Dignity”. Had people understood the meaning of human dignity and respected each other, so many problems would have been resolved. This is the elixir of life and the cure of all agonies, which have been lost to man. So my preoccupation goes beyond the death penalty: it is human dignity. Denying man of life above all betokens the violation of human dignity. Thus, my issue is broader than the death penalty: it is taking the lives of human beings. We do not approve of death penalty but hundreds of people are being brutally killed through wars and bombings.
I think resolving the issue of death penalty is the key to resolving other human rights issues because from the Human Rights perspective, the soul resembles the trunk of a tree and the other rights are its branches. Since this will have to resolve human rights as well as religious issues and also remove one of the major sources of charging the violence, taking into account the principle of realism and gradual reform which has been mentioned in Human Right Documents, we would not demand the ultimate ideal of the abolishment of the death penalty outright and at the moment for our own country but we demand the abolishment of the death penalty for children, drug trafficking, espionage, financial crimes, stoning to death and imposing the alternative punishments. Last year (2012), according to the news officially released in inner and/or stated owned Media in Iran, approximately 300 people have been executed. The statistics from informal sources is much higher and I do not rely on them. These statistics are really shocking.
A third of crimes of the convicted relate to drug trafficking and the rest respectively relates to armed robbery, murder, extortion and sex offences such as rape. These crimes have often roots in poverty and economic problems caused by mismanagement. The most inappropriate thing is that the society does not react against all these executions. Half of these executions have been done in the public eye, but the welcoming of people and their interest to watch such scenes have been very questionable; as if they watch a circus or an appealing event.
These factors lead to for the continuation of numerous executions. Were it not so, the government could not have so many death penalties executed in public. Now I am not in a position to analyze the issue psychologically and sociologically, as it requires a separate discussion, but this demonstrates our need for cultural and social enterprises and activities.
Along with the great work you have undertaken, I’d like to note two points:
1- The current efforts are good but unfinished. Along with the pressure and protest, we need to do educational works. By writing books, articles and doing research activities and making movies, particularly for underdeveloped and developing countries, we can raise public awareness.
2- In some countries, such as America, Japan, Malaysia, Iran, China, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Afghanistan, execution is still being done but in some of them statistics are staggering and terrifying. So fighting the death penalty, we must define it on two levels. First, fighting with the death penalty in general terms which includes countries like the US, Japan, and Malaysia. Second, we have to bear in mind that if the death penalty passes a certain level, it is not the death penalty but “massacre” and it is termed by the UN as “crime against humanity”, because from the legal point of view, it will be matching and corresponding with some features and definitions related to Article 7 of the Statute of the International Criminal Court, especially when it includes cases other than heavy crimes such as killing and Its continuity raised to organized or governmental murder and the intention to instill fear is articulated in it and the due process is flawed and lacked all the necessary precautions.
Let’s rise and take steps forward
With the hope of having a universe full of humanity

With Best Wishes
Emadeddin Baghi

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