Executions reach 265 deaths in a year
Tehran, 10 Oct. (AKI) - Islamic Republic of Iran has executed 265 people in the past twelve months in a dramatic increase over the previous year, according to an international human rights organisation.
The International Coalition Against the Death Penalty released the figures on Wednesday saying the figures tallied from the beginning of October 2006 to the end of September this year.
It said the number of executions was far higher than the 140 executions recorded in the previous 12 months.
According to the organisation those put to death included a man stoned for living with a married woman and three women who were hanged. The coalition said 34 of those executed in Iran were political prisoners.
Among those said to be awaiting execution are 11 women sentenced to be stoned, while another 15 are due to be hanged. It says only five are awaiting execution for political crimes in the past year.
The figures were released to coincide with the World Day against the Death Penalty aimed at focusing attention on the proposed UN general assembly resolution for a universal moratorium on executions.
Supporters claim the proposal would save lives and give the population of
receptionist states an opportunity to see for themselves that a moratorium on the death penalty does not lead to higher crime rates.
Amnesty International 2007
Wednesday, October 10th, 2007
Islamic Republic of Iran
Head of state: Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran: Ayatollah Sayed 'Ali Khamenei
Head of government: President: Dr Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Death penalty:
International Criminal Court: signed
The human rights situation deteriorated, with civil society facing increasing restrictions on fundamental freedoms of expression and association. Scores of political prisoners, including prisoners of conscience, continued to serve prison sentences imposed following unfair trials in previous years. Thousands more arrests were made in 2006, mostly during or following demonstrations. Human rights defenders, including journalists, students and lawyers, were among those detained arbitrarily without access to family or legal representation. Torture, especially during periods of pre-trial detention, remained commonplace. At least 177 people were executed, at least four of whom were under 18 at the time of the alleged offence, including one who was under 18 at the time of execution. Two people were reportedly stoned to death. Sentences of flogging, amputation and eye-gouging continued to be passed. The true numbers of those executed or subjected to corporal punishment were probably considerably higher than those reported.
The rift between Iran and the international community over the government's insistence on maintaining its nuclear enrichment programme continued to widen. In March, the International Atomic Energy Agency referred Iran to the UN Security Council. In December the Security Council agreed on a programme of sanctions against Iran following Iran's failure to meet an August deadline to suspend the programme. Iran continued to accuse foreign governments of fomenting unrest in border areas, and in turn was accused of involvement in the worsening security situation in Iraq. In February the US government sought an extra
US$75 million to "support democracy" in Iran. President Ahmadinejad continued to make statements threatening to the State of Israel and questioning the Holocaust. The European Union-Iran human rights dialogue remained suspended.
Local elections and elections to the Assembly of Experts, which oversees the appointment of the Supreme Leader, were held in December. The Council of Guardians, which reviews laws and policies to ensure that they uphold Islamic tenets and the Constitution, excluded all but 164 Assembly of Experts candidates, including at least 12 women who registered, on the basis of discriminatory selection procedures. The results of both elections were generally seen as a setback to the government of President Ahmadinejad.
The authorities faced armed opposition from Kurdish and Baluchi groups.
In December, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution condemning the human rights situation in Iran. Iran failed to set a date for visits by any UN Human Rights mechanisms despite having issued a standing invitation in 2002.
Repression of minorities Ethnic and religious minorities remained subject to discriminatory laws and practices which continued to be a source of social and political unrest.
Torture remained common in many prisons and detention centres, particularly in the investigative stage of pre-trial detention when detainees are denied access to a lawyer for indefinite periods. At least seven people reportedly died in custody, some in circumstances where torture, ill-treatment or denial of medical care may have been contributory factors.
• Political prisoners Akbar Mohammadi and Valiollah Feyz Mahdavi died in July and September respectively after going on hunger strike to protest at their continued detention.
• Fourteen-year-old Mohammad Reza Evezpoor, an Iranian Azerbaijani, was arrested in April after writing "I am a Turk" on a wall. He was reportedly tortured during his three days in detention, including by being suspended by his feet for 24 hours and denied food and water. He was beaten again when rearrested in September.
At least two amputations were carried out and one person was sentenced to eye-gouging. Flogging remained a common punishment.
• Leyla Mafi received a flogging of 99 lashes in February before being released from prison into a women's rehabilitation centre. Forced into prostitution as an eight-year-old and raped repeatedly, she was arrested in early 2004 and charged with "acts contrary to chastity" for which she was sentenced to flogging followed by death. Following international pressure, her death sentence was overturned.
Victims of human rights violations and their families continued to lack redress.
• A re-examination, ordered in 2001, of the cases of Ministry of Intelligence officials accused of the 1998 "serial murders", remained incomplete. Nasser Zarafshan, lawyer for the families of some of the victims, continued to serve a five-year prison sentence following his conviction on politically motivated charges.
At least 177 people were executed in 2006, including one minor and at least three others who were under 18 at the time of the alleged offence. Death sentences were imposed for a variety of crimes including drug smuggling, armed robbery, murder, political violence and sexual offences. Following domestic and international protests, the death sentences of some women and of some prisoners aged under 18 at the time of the alleged offence were suspended or lifted; some were sentenced to death again after a retrial. Two people were reportedly stoned to death despite a moratorium on stoning announced by the judiciary in 2002. Others remained under sentence of stoning to death. In September, Iranian human rights defenders launched a campaign to save nine women and two men sentenced to death by stoning and to abolish stoning in law. By the end of the year the stoning sentences of at least three of the 11 had been quashed.
Freedom of expression and association
Freedom of expression and association was increasingly curtailed. Internet access was increasingly restricted and monitored. Journalists and webloggers were detained and sentenced to prison or flogging and at least 11 newspapers were closed down. Relatives of detainees or of those sought by the authorities remained at risk of harassment or intimidation. Independent trade unionists faced reprisals and some academics, such as Ramin Jahanbegloo, were detained or dismissed from their posts.
• Up to 1,000 members of the independent, but banned, Sherkat-e Vahed Bus Company Union were arrested in January after striking to demand recognition of their union and to protest at the detention of the union's head Mansour Ossanlu. All were later released, but dozens were still forbidden from returning to their jobs at the end of the year. Mansour Ossanlu was released on bail in August after being held for over seven months in connection with his trade union activities, but was redetained for one month in November, reportedly after attending meetings organized by the International Labour Organization.
Demonstrations in Tehran in March and June demanding an end to discrimination in law against women were broken up harshly by the security forces. Some protesters were injured.
• Former Majles deputy Sayed Ali Akbar Mousavi-Kho'ini was arrested at the June demonstration and held for over four months before his release on bail in October. He reported that he had been tortured in detention.
In August, women's rights activists launched a campaign to gather a million signatures to a petition demanding equal rights for women.
AI country reports/visits
• Iran: Human rights defender at risk ? appeal case: Abdolfattah Soltani (AI Index: MDE 13/009/2006)
• Iran: New government fails to address dire human rights situation (AI Index: MDE 13/010/2006)
• Iran: Defending minority rights ? the Ahwazi Arabs (AI Index: MDE 13/056/2006)