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Rights Groups Condemn 'Horrifying Wave' Of Executions In Iran

By RFE/RL July 27, 2022

Iran has hanged at least 251 people since the start of the year in an "execution spree" that two human rights groups said on July 27 amounts to an "abhorrent assault" on the right to life.

The Washington-based Abdorrahman Boroumand Center for Human Rights in Iran and London-based Amnesty International said in a joint statement that the hangings have been confirmed this year up until the end of June, although the real number may be even higher.

"If executions continue at this horrifying pace, they will soon surpass the total of 314 executions recorded for the whole of 2021," the groups said.

The groups said that 146 of those executed in 2022 had been convicted of murder, "amid well-documented patterns of executions being systematically carried out following grossly unfair trials."

But at least 86 other people were executed for drug-related offences for which executions had dropped sharply in recent years until now, following changes to domestic legislation.

"During the first six months of 2022, the Iranian authorities executed at least one person a day on average. The state machinery is carrying out killings on a mass scale across the country in an abhorrent assault on the right to life," said Amnesty International's Diana Eltahawy.

"The renewed surge in executions, including in public, shows yet again just how out of step Iran is with the rest of the world, with 144 countries having rejected the death penalty in law or practice," added Roya Boroumand, executive director of Abdorrahman Boroumand Center, an Iranian human rights organization.

The figures were compiled by the two groups from a variety of sources, including prisoners, relatives of those executed, human rights defenders, journalists, and reports by state media as well as independent media outlets and human rights organizations.

The statement said mass executions have been carried out in prisons across Iran, with up to a dozen people executed at a time.

On July 23, Iran carried out its first public execution in two years, the groups said, confirming a report by another NGO, Iran Human Rights.

Remarks by Iranian officials acknowledging that Iranian prisons are overcrowded have sparked fears that "that the rise in executions is related to official efforts to reduce prisoner numbers," the statement said.

The two rights groups also voiced alarm that more than 25 percent of those executed so far this year were members of Iran's Baluch ethnic minority, who make up just 5 percent of the population.

"The Iranian authorities must immediately establish an official moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty completely," Boroumand said.

The rise in the number of executions began in September after Ebrahim Raisi, an ex-head of the judiciary, became president and former Intelligence Minister Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei took over the judiciary.

Activists say that Iran is in the throes of a major crackdown as protests continue over living conditions in a severe economic crisis.

With reporting by AFP

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/rights-groups-condemn-iran-mass- executions/31962311.html

Copyright (c) 2022. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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