7 more people sentenced to death in Iran

Iran executes more people a year than any other country except China, according to human rights groups


Iran executed seven people in two prisons outside Tehran on Wednesday on drugs and rape charges, a rights group said, in what activists described as a spree of executions over the past two weeks.

The United Nations warned on Tuesday that the country would see a large number of executions, following the rare executions of two people on Monday on charges of blasphemy.

The Norway-based Iran Human Rights (IHR) NGO said three people were executed on drug-related charges at Ghazal Hesar prison in the city of Karaj outside Tehran.

It added that four others were hanged on rape charges at the Rajai City Jail in Karaj itself.

The judiciary’s Mizan online website confirmed three executions on drug charges, adding that the perpetrators were members of a cocaine distribution cartel. There is no official confirmation of the four hangings on rape charges so far.

The IHR said the latest executions mean Iran has seen at least 64 executions in the past 12 days.

IHR director Mahmoud Amiri Moghaddam said, “The government’s killing machine is accelerating – its goal is to intimidate people and its victims are the most vulnerable in society.”

The IHR posted footage it said showed the families of three people killed on drug charges protesting outside Ghezal Hesar prison in a last-ditch effort to stop the executions.

Gunshots are heard in the video and it is said that the police used tear gas and batons to disperse the protest. It said that after the thrashing, a family member has suffered serious injuries and has been admitted to the hospital.

‘silent disagreement’

Campaigners accused Iran of using the death penalty as a means of public intimidation, which began after the custodial death of Mahsa Amini in September last year, when Mahsa Amini was allegedly accused of assaulting women. Was arrested for violating Iran’s dress rules.

At least 582 people were executed in Iran last year, the highest number of executions in the country since 2015 and up from 333 recorded in 2021, the IHR and the Paris-based Together Against the Death Penalty (ECPM) said in April. said in a joint report.

But the pace of executions in 2023 has been even more rapid, with IHR now counting on at least 218 executions so far this year.

On Tuesday, UN human rights chief Volker Turk cautioned that Iran is on a “disgusting” track record this year, with an average of more than 10 people being executed each week.

Iran on Monday sentenced two people to death for desecrating the Quran and insulting the Prophet Muhammad, drawing condemnation from the US and outrage from rights groups.

Mizan Online said that the three killed on drugs charges were “members of the Panjak gang, the largest cocaine distribution cartel, one of the main drug cartels in the country”.

The New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) said the Supreme Court confirmed death sentences against three people for the alleged killing of a Basij militia man during protests in the city of Isfahan in November.

It described the executions as a “spoof of silence” to “silent dissent”.

Rights groups have warned that members of ethnic minorities – particularly the Baloch minority, who are mostly Sunni Muslims in contrast to most Iranians – have been disproportionately targeted by the current wave of executions.

According to human rights groups including Amnesty International, Iran executes more people annually than any other country except China.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)