Law and Order

Drug offences: How Iran killed Nigerian, Ghanaian in secret


amnestyAmnesty International has revealed how a Nigerian, Paul Chindo, and his Ghanian counterpart, Aquasi Aquabe, were allegedly executed by Iranian authorities over drug related offences in 2010.

It also disclosed that about 4,000 persons, including foreign nationals, were on death row in the country.

A recent report by the international human rights organisation, titled ‘Addicted to Death: Executions for Drug Offences in Iran’, stated that the Iranian authorities had reported the arrest of 85 Africans, who hailed from Nigeria, Tanzania and Ghana in March 2007 but did not make public their alleged execution.

The report said, “The treatment faced by Afghan nationals in the judicial system is faced by nationals of some other countries, but not all. Paul Chindo, a Nigerian national and Aquasi Aquabe, a Ghanaian national, were both reportedly executed in secret in Vakilabad Prison in 2010, without consular officials having been informed.

“It is not clear when they were arrested, although Amnesty International notes that the Iranian authorities reported the arrest of 85 Africans from Tanzania, Nigeria and Ghana in March 2007. Their subsequent fate is unknown to the organisation.”

It added, “The serious flaws in the justice system in Iran are compounded by discriminatory practices against Afghans, up to 4,000 of who are on death row for drug smuggling, and other foreign nationals.

“It appears that some foreign nationals sentenced to death for drugs offences are never brought to trial and most are denied any kind of legal or consular assistance. Some only find out that they have been sentenced to death when prison authorities tell them.”

AI further alleged that the authorities routinely violated international standards on justice system, which included that the ultimate punishment might only be imposed for the most serious of crimes after fair trials, and must not be a mandatory penalty.

The report said many of those arrested for alleged drugs offences were tortured or ill-treated to make them ‘confess.’

Reacting to the report, Chairman, Senate Committee on Diaspora Affairs, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, faulted the execution, saying similar cases had been recorded in most North African countries, especially Libya.

She said, “It is a sorry case. The House committee is profiling such cases and it will petition the National Human Rights Commission to effect a legal action against such countries. We have records of the inhuman treatment of Nigerians abroad and we are ready to defend their rights.”

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