Hannah Hetzer

Changes to Iran’s Criminal Code Could Save the Lives of 5,000 People Awaiting Execution for Drug Offenses

Proper implementation of Iran’s recent changes to its penal code would save the lives of 5,000 people currently facing capital punishment for drug offenses in the country. After China, Iran executes more people than any other country in the world, and the majority of those sentenced to death are convicted of drug-related crimes.
Iran amended its penal code in 2016, replacing the death penalty with life imprisonment or fines for a number of drug related offenses. Earlier this month, the head of the Iranian judiciary announced that people awaiting execution for these crimes were entitled to have their cases reviewed.   
Iran’s new amendment does not eliminate the use of the death penalty for all drug offenses; distribution of over 50 kilograms of opium, 2 kilograms of heroin or 3 kilograms of crystal meth will still be punishable by death.
The United Nations opposes the use of the death penalty for drug related crimes and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has repeatedly reiterated that international law limits the application of the death penalty to the “most serious crimes”, which does not include drug sale, use or trafficking. Despite this, over 30 countries around the world continue to use capital punishment for drug offenses, executing thousands of people a year.
Far too many people have lost their lives to the drug war, including at the hands of their own state. Iran should commute the sentences of the 5,000 people awaiting executions and should eliminate the death penalty for all drug offenses. Capital punishment for drug offenses does not deter drug use, is a violation of international law, and is inhumane.

Keep reading... Show less

Google Should Follow Apple's Lead and Remove Video Games Glorifying the Drug War in the Philippines

The President of the Philippines is responsible for a brutal drug war that has killed thousands of people in his country. He is also the protagonist in a series of online video games that glorify these murders. In these games, players act as Duterte and score points by eliminating “criminals”, “zombies”, and “people infected by drugs”, echoing the stigmatizing language used by Duterte himself in reference to people who use drugs. Up until yesterday, these games were widely available on Apple’s app store, as well as on Android’s Google Play store. Yesterday, Apple quietly removed the games from its store.

Keep reading... Show less

Uruguay, First Country in the World to Legally Regulate Marijuana, Begins Retail Sales Next Week

Next week, Uruguay will begin sales of legal marijuana for adult residents. The marijuana legalization proposal was put forward by former President José Mujica in 2012 as part of a comprehensive package aimed at improving public safety. Uruguay’s parliament gave final approval to the measure in December 2013, making theirs the first country in the world to legally regulate the production, distribution and sale of marijuana for adults.

Keep reading... Show less

No Humanity in São Paulo’s Violent Crackdown on Cracolândia

At dawn on Sunday, a neighborhood in the center of São Paulo, Brazil awoke to a violent and unanticipated onslaught of nearly a thousand police officers, who descended on residents – many of whom were homeless and many of whom use drugs – with dogs, Tasers and rubber bullets. The area had come to be known as Cracolândia (“Crackland”), and the officers had been sent by São Paulo’s Mayor João Doria to destroy one of the world’s exemplary harm reduction programs, De Braços Abertos (“With Open Arms”).

Keep reading... Show less

Philippines: Leading Duterte Critic, Senator Leila de Lima, Arrested as Brutal Drug War Rages On

Since last summer, a brutal war on drugs has been waged in the Philippines at the behest of President Duterte. More than 7,000 people have been killed, predominantly in poorer neighborhoods. Over one million have turned themselves in to authorities only to languish in inhumane and overcrowded detention facilities. 18,000 children have become orphans, their parents murdered in the war on drugs. Human rights defenders have been threatened, with Duterte vowing to kill them himself. Duterte verbally attacks anyone who questions his tactics, including formerPresident Barack Obamathe Pope, the International Criminal Court, and the United Nations.

Keep reading... Show less

U.S. Decides to Withhold Aid to Philippines While Duterte Continues Murderous Drug War, But What Will Trump Do?

For the past six months, the Philippines has waged a brutal, bloody war against people who use drugs, people who sell drugs, and people who are simply assumed to be doing either. This war on the country’s most vulnerable citizens has been undertaken at the behest of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte who, upon assuming office in June, made a public call for police and citizens alike to execute people who use or sell drugs.

Keep reading... Show less

Activists Around the World Protest State-Sanctioned Murder of More than 3,000 People Who Use Drugs in the Philippines

On October 11th, dozens of activists gathered in front of the Philippines Consulate in NY to protest the recent brutal murders of people suspected to be involved in drug use or selling in the Philippines, and listened in silence as a long list of names of those who have been killed was read out. The names represent individual lost lives, and they are only a fraction of those who have been killed to date in President Duterte’s bloody war.

Keep reading... Show less

Why Is the U.S. Silent on Massacre of Drug Users in the Philippines?

In the past few weeks, a spate of horrific killings have taken place across the Philippines. Murders of people who use drugs, people who sell drugs, and people who have simply been assumed to do either. No trials, no due process, these are state-sanctioned extrajudicial killings encouraged by the new President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte.

Keep reading... Show less

The War on Drugs Is Taking Center Stage at the United Nations

In April, the world will come together to talk about drugs. The United Nations will host a General Assembly Special Session on Drugs (UNGASS), the most significant high-level international drug policy event in almost two decades. At the last UNGASS in 1998, the international community met under the slogan "A drug free world – We can do it!" and committed itself to this unrealistic goal. Fortunately, we’ve come a long way since then. This time, when global leaders meet at the UN to discuss drugs once again, the farce of a drug free world will be far away. Influential voices from around the world are calling for new approaches to drug policy, countries and cities are experimenting with innovative reforms, and a global movement has emerged calling for an end to the failed prohibitionist policies of the past. In April, people from all over the world will be descending upon New York City to demand change.

Keep reading... Show less

Landmark Case in Mexico’s Supreme Court Could Pave the Way for Marijuana Legalization

On Wednesday, Mexico’s Supreme Court will debate whether the prohibition of the consumption and cultivation of marijuana for personal use is unconstitutional. The Court will determine whether the prohibition of the consumption of marijuana – and its cultivation for non-commercial ends – violates the human right to the free development of one’s personality. This landmark case could lead to the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes if followed up with legislation.

Keep reading... Show less

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.