Mass-execution of alleged drug traffickers in Iran 

hanging

May 26,Tehran: The Islamic Republic of Iran executes the second-highest number of people annually in the World.in 2011, for instance, the Islamic Republic of Iran executed 660 people. In Iran, capital punishment can be imposed on appeal, thereby acting as a deterrent to appeals in criminal cases. Juveniles can also be subjected to capital punishment, in violation of peremptory norms. Moreover, capital punishment is not limited to violent crimes. Adultery, drug offenses, sodomy (consensual or otherwise), apostasy (conversion from Islam), “insulting the prophet”, and vague national security crimes like “sowing corruption on Earth” are all punishable by death. Meanwhile, capital punishment cases are often marked by weak evidentiary standards.

In the last three weeks 44 prisoners convicted of drug charges have been executed in the Gehzelhesar prison of Karaj.Reports by several independent sources indicate that all of the 22 prisoners in Ghezelhesar prison who were transferred to solitary confinement on Saturday and Sunday, have been hanged. The executions reportedly took place on Monday morning May 25. IHR cannot rule out that some of the prisoners might have been executed the day before, on Sunday May 24.

These 22 prisoners were transferred to the prison’s quarantine following a gathering of the death row prisoners of Unit 2 of Ghezelhesar prison on Friday May 22. The prisoners, who carried the Muslim holy book and handwritten placards, called for the Iranian Supreme leader Ali Khamenei to reduce their death sentences to life in prison (See picture). The gathering was reportedly peaceful. Nevertheless, after the gathering, some of the prisoners were threatened by the prison officials that they would all be executed. Some of them were executed yesterday.

Two other group executions took place in the same prison earlier in May. These executions were carried out on May 6 and May 21; each time 11 prisoners were hanged. Some of the prisoners who were executed then had taken part in a prison riot last year.Unit 2 of Ghezelhesar prison is where more than 2000 death row prisoners are being held. Most of these prisoners are sentenced to death for drug-related charges.None of the Ghezelhesar executions have been announced by the official Iranian sources, but IHR has published names and photos of some of them.

IHR strongly condemns the mass executions at Ghezelhesar prison. Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, the spokesperson of IHR, said, “Most of these prisoners are subjected to unfair trials and their death sentences have been issued based on forced confessions made under torture  We call on the United Nations and the international community to take urgent actions to stop these mass executions”. Amiry-Moghaddam added, “United Nations’ Office for Drug and Crimes (UNODC), which cooperates with the Iranian authorities in the fight against drugs, and countries funding this fight against drugs must take their share of responsibility for these unlawful and arbitrary executions. The international community, and in particular UNODC and its funding countries, must intervene  before it is too late”.

Some of the 22 prisoners executed are identified as:  Abbas Heydari, Abbas Ameri, karimbakhsh Bameri, Haj Ahmad Ebrahimi, Asghar Kooshki, Ahmad Rabiei, Ahmad Rabdoost and Seyed Mohamad Mirhosseini. IHR is investigating identities of the remaining prisoners.In addition, the following names were published by the “Human Rights Activists News Agency” (HRANA): Nader Hajizadeh, Jahangir Shahozahi, Mehran Baluchzahi, Mehrshad Soleimani, Reza Daeizadeh and Ehsan Saghafi. Since the beginning of 2015, at least 400 prisoners have been executed in Iran.

Iran Human Rights (IHR) warns against mass executions of the Gehzelhesar prisoners and calls for immediate action by the international community.

The Oslo Times

 

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