I was a member of the foreign affairs delegation which visited Iran in January. The human rights issue was an important matter for everyone on that delegation. I acknowledge the frank and open discussions we had with everyone we met there on the death penalty, treatment of the Baha’i community and prisoners’ access to legal representation and medical treatment.
I represent a constituency that has suffered more devastation through drugs than most others but I do not believe that capital punishment of those who are involved in dealing is the answer to the problem. We need to investigate alternatives. I am aware of the number of Iranian policemen and officials who have been killed in the course of the drug war but executing that number of people, many of whom are probably lower down the chain, is not the answer.
From my experience with drug dealers in this country, I am sure many of them got involved in these activities to feed their own habits. I suggest that Iran should investigate alternatives to capital punishment.