German minister targets Iran in appeal to abolish death penalty

German Foreign Minister Baerbock and IAEA Director General Grossi hold a news conference in Berlin
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock speaks during a news conference with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi (not pictured), at the Foreign Ministry in Berlin, Germany November 15, 2022. REUTERS/Michele Tantussi

BERLIN, Nov 15 (Reuters) - German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock singled out Iran for using the death penalty to suppress members of the opposition at a conference on Tuesday which aimed to outlaw the punishment around the world.

Speaking at the World Congress against the Death Penalty, with delegations from about 90 countries in Berlin, Baerbock said execution was used especially by authoritarian regimes.

"We are experiencing this again in Iran, where a death sentence has now been pronounced against a person who has done nothing other than stand up for their liberal and civil rights," she said.

Baerbock expressed dismay at reports that Iran had issued the sentence against a person who had joined protests prompted by the death in custody on Sept. 16 of Mahsa Amini, detained by Iran's morality policy for wearing "inappropriate attire".

"We have no doubt about what we think of the regime's brutal repression against its own people," said Baerbock, a day after the EU imposed further sanctions on Iran's leaders.

Iran's judiciary on Sunday said one person had been sentenced to death for "waging war against God", which is punishable by death in Iran, for setting fire to a government building. It said he could appeal against the verdict.

The goal of the conference was to outlaw the death penalty worldwide, still used in 55 countries, said Baerbock, who also criticised China for executions.

She welcomed steps by Sierra Leone, Zambia and Liberia who either have or are moving towards outlawing the death penalty.

Reporting by Reuters Television Writing by Madeline Chambers, Editing by William Maclean

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