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Source: RFE/RL

Mar 5, 2024

Report: Executions In Iran Last Year Highest Since 2015

At least 834 people were executed in Iran last year, a 43 percent increase compared to 2022, according to a joint report from the Iran Human Rights group (IHR) and the Paris-based Together Against the Death Penalty, as authorities continue to ramp up the use of the death penalty for drug-related offenses.

In the annual report on capital punishment in Iran, released on March 5, the groups said that some 85 percent of all executions were not announced by Iranian authorities, meaning that the actual number of executions is likely much higher as dozens more are not included in the report "due to a lack of sufficient details or an inability to confirm cases through two different sources."

"Instilling societal fear is the regime's only way to hold on to power, and the death penalty is its most important instrument," said IHR Director Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam in the report.

The rate of executions in Iran has been rising sharply with rights groups pointing to a surge in drug-related executions and 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.

Iran has the second-highest number of executions in the world, trailing only China, according to rights groups. Last year was only the second time since 2015 that capital punishment in the Middle Eastern nation was carried out more than 800 times.

The IHR report said 471 executions carried out in 2023 were for drug offenses, almost double the number of the previous year.

"Some of the executions were carried out secretly, without the family or the lawyer being informed, and some have simply not been announced by the official media," the report says.

"This is while according to the Islamic republic’s own laws, the defendant’s lawyer must be notified of the planned execution."

The report showed that, excluding China where rights groups say it is impossible to get accurate data, Iran executed more women -- 22 -- than any other country in the world.

Furthermore, it said ethnic minorities also account for a disproportionate amount of the total number of people executed.

The report said that at least 167 members of Iran's Sunni Baluch community were executed, meaning they accounted for 20 percent of the overall total while representing only 5 percent of the country's population.

The Baluch community is "grossly overrepresented amongst those executed" on drug-related charges, it said.

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