The Indian Express reports…

Iran’s parliament  will apply retroactively, an amendment  commuting the sentences for many of the 5,300 inmates currently on death row for drug trafficking.

Under the new bill, the punishment for those already convicted and given the death penalty or life in prison, other than those meeting the new execution requirements, will be commuted to up to 30 years in jail and a cash fine.

The new law raises the amounts that can trigger the death penalty from 30 grams to two kilos for the production and distribution of chemical substances such as heroin, cocaine and amphetamines. For natural substances such as opium and marijuana, the levels have been raised from five to 50 kilos.

The amendment will apply retroactively, thus commuting the sentences for many of the 5,300 inmates currently on death row for drug trafficking. It restricts the death penalty to criminals who lead drug-trafficking gangs, exploit minors below 18 years old in doing so, carry or draw firearms while committing drug-related crimes, or have a related previous conviction of the death penalty or a jail sentence of more than 15 years or life in prison. Under the new bill, the punishment for those already convicted and given the death penalty or life in prison, other than those meeting the new execution requirements, will be commuted to up to 30 years in jail and a cash fine.

Defending the bill in a parliamentary debate last week, Hassan Norouzi, the spokesman of parliament’s judicial and legal committee, said the costs for Iran’s war on drugs have almost doubled since 2010. He said more than 6 million people were involved in drugs in the country, 5.2 million of them addicts and 1.8 million users.

The amendment had faced opposition from police officials who believed that reducing or removing the death penalty would embolden criminals. But many judges had welcomed the softened law — and stayed execution sentences as they awaited the results of the parliamentary debate, Norouzi said.

Read the full report at  http://indianexpress.com/article/world/iran-parliament-softens-drug-death-penalty-laws-4795325/