Vienna, 15 December 2004 Press release

Foreign Minister Plassnik: Dismay over death sentence in Iran


Measures initiated at EU Council level concerning imminent execution of Leyla M.

Vienna, 15 December 2004 - "I condemn the approach taken by the Iranian judiciary in the case of Leyla M.. I am dismayed at this shocking example of disregard of human rights in Iran", said Foreign Minister Plassnik today regarding the case of a mentally disabled woman who has been sentenced to death in Iran for alleged "acts incompatible with chastity".

Plassnik went on to say that Austria will call upon the responsible working group of the EU Council to issue a demarche on the case in order to enforce international pressure regarding this matter and stressed that Austria is following the case very closely.

As a party to the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, Iran has undertaken not to execute anyone for an offence committed when they were younger than 18 years. "The existence of a de facto moratorium on the death penalty for juvenile offenders was just recently confirmed to us by the Iranian authorities; it is therefore all the more disappointing that another young person is now threatened with this fate", the Foreign Minister continued.

For many years now Austria has been following the human rights situation in Iran with particular attention. The Austrian Embassy in Tehran was ordered to report on the situation immediately after the case of Leyla M. came to light. Austria is urging concerted action by the EU vis-à-vis the Iranian authorities in order to achieve a suspension of the death penalty for Leyla M..