A bill making its way through the Iranian parliament could spare 5,000 convicted drug smugglers from the death penalty, the ILNA news agency reported on Monday.
“As soon as the new drug law is passed, the death sentence of more than 5,000 prisoners could be converted into prison sentences,” said Hassan Norouzi, a spokesman for parliament.
Mr. Norouzi said lawmakers are still reviewing the draft legislation, and it will not be in its final form until after they return from summer recess.
Scepticism has grown in Iran over the effectiveness of the death penalty in deterring drug smuggling, with government reports showing it has had no impact on reducing the volume and variety of drugs in Iran.
Instead, many are calling for long prison sentences combined with forced labour.
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