Iran: capital punishment use, on the rise

Stop executions in Iran
Image by helen.2006 via Flickr

According to Amnesty International, Iran has admitted executing 190 people between January and the end of June this year; an additional 130 reported executions have gone unacknowledged. These figures put Iran on course for a record year for capital punishment. In 2010, 252 people were executed, according to official figures, with 300 more also believed to have been killed.

Iran Human Rights, an independent monitoring organisation, claims the true picture is much worse. It says 25 people were hanged in one day – 3 July – in Ghezel Hesar prison in Karaj, west of Tehran. The hangings, supposedly all drug-related, were not reported by official media. The same report said another seven people were hanged the same day in Evin prison in Tehran. It alluded to further uncorroborated mass executions in prisons in Khorasan province in 2010.

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, another independent pressure group, reported last month that 26 inmates of Vakilabad prison in Mashhad were hanged on 15 June. It quoted the Mashhad prosecutor, Mahmoud Zoghi, as admitting “high numbers of executions” over the past two-and-a-half years. Zoghi said the rise was due to a high volume of drug trafficking cases. “The execution statistics are proportionate and foreign media unjustifiably exaggerate in this subject,” he said.

The number of public hangings is also on the increase. Since the start of 2011, up to 13 men have been executed in public, eight of them since 16 April, an Amnesty report this year stated. Iran meanwhile reportedly defied international law by executing two juveniles offenders, in Bandar Abbas on 20 April. Overall, Iran’s execution “average” is running at almost two people per day in 2011, making the regime the world’s number two executioner after China.

via Iran\’s judicial killing spree | Simon Tisdall | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk.

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