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Source: RFE/RL

Dec 21, 2023

Iranian Lawmaker Claims Up To 2,000 People Facing Execution For Alleged Drug Crimes In Small District

Yahya Ebrahimi, an Iranian lawmaker who represents the Delfan district of Lorestan Province, has alleged that up to 2,000 suspects are risking execution for drug-trafficking offenses in the small western Iranian district.

In a video that went viral after he shared it on social media, Ebrahimi spoke about his visit to Delfan, which has a population of about 150,000, and the meetings he had there with the families of individuals convicted of drug trafficking that face execution, voicing his deep concern about the alarmingly high number of death-row inmates in Delfan.

"I am profoundly shocked by this situation, how officials over the past 44 years have created the conditions leading to such a high rate of crime and subsequent executions," Ebrahimi said, in apparent reference to the time interval that passed since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, which brought the current Iranian rulers to power.

"Unfortunately, we are now witnessing these individuals on the verge of execution," Ebrahimi said, adding that he has appealed to authorities to stop the executions.

"I have asked the head of [Iran's] judiciary to refrain from carrying out these sentences for the sake of God and the people, and because we, the officials, should also be held accountable, because authorities could have helped this city to get rid of poverty and misery," he said.

The precise time when the video was recorded is unclear, although Ebrahimi's statements were reported by the website of the Tehran-based Ettela'at newspaper on December 20.

The rate of executions in Iran has been rising sharply, particularly in the wake of widespread protests that swept across the country last year following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody for an alleged head-scarf violation.

The United Nations General Assembly recently passed a resolution condemning widespread human rights violations in Iran, specifically highlighting the numerous executions carried out by the Islamic republic. The resolution noted that these executions often occur following forced confessions and without fair trials.

Amnesty International has also voiced concern, reporting a significant increase in drug-related executions in Iran.

In the first five months of this year alone, the number of drug-offense executions amounted to two-thirds of the total executions in the country, Amnesty said, adding that those facing capital punishment for drug offenses often come from marginalized and economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

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