06/22/2022, 11.31
IRAN
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UN: Tehran executed more than 100 people in the first three months of the year

The latest UN report presented yesterday confirms the increasing use of capital punishment in the Islamic Republic. An increase coincided with the rise to the presidency of Raisi, who as a magistrate made extensive use of the executioner. More and more convictions for drug-related offenses and minors at the time of the crime.

Tehran (AsiaNews) - In less than three months to early 2022, Iran executed more than a hundred people, accounting for about a third of the executions recorded last year and just under half the total in 2020. The escalation is shown by the data confirming the increasing use of the death penalty, even for minor offenses and people under 18 at the time of the crime, announced by analysts and experts following the presidential victory last year of ultraconservative Ebrahim Raisi. Attorney General of the Islamic Republic and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, in his career in the judiciary he had used the executioner extensively since the 1980s, sentencing thousands of political prisoners to death. 

The latest execution took place in recent days against a 21-year-old man of Uzbek descent who was responsible for a knife attack on April 5 near Imam Reza's shrine in Mashhad during Ramadan. In the assault the young man had killed two Shiite leaders and seriously wounded a third. The sentence was carried out by hanging in the presence of a group of citizens at the Vakilabad jail. Among the charges against the attacker was "war against God" (moharebeh), using a weapon to terrorize people inside and outside the shrine.

In the report presented to the UN Human Rights Council yesterday, in the presence of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, deputy for Iran Nada Al-Nashif documented a sharply rising trend: "While 260 individuals were executed in 2020, at least 310 individuals were executed in 2021, including at least 14 women," she said, adding that the trend had continued this year." The study by UN experts reveals deep "concern" about the increase in the use of the executioner for minor crimes, including those related to drug use - and trafficking.

"The death penalty," Nada Al-Nashif stressed to the council, "continues to be imposed on the basis of charges that do not amount to the 'most serious crimes' and in ways that are incompatible with standards based on fair trials. In March, he reveals, at least 52 people sentenced to death on charges related to drug trafficking and drug use were transferred to Shiraz prison for execution. There is also "continuous" use of the death penalty for juveniles, in blatant violation of international law. Between August 2021 and March 2022, at least two juvenile offenders were killed and another 85 juveniles are on death row. 

"In February 2022, in a positive development, the Supreme Court," added the UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, "decided to overturn the death sentence against a juvenile on death row for 18 years. The expert went on to denounce other rights violations in Iran, especially in the wake of recent protests related to the continuing political, social, and economic crisis that has hit the country over the past year. "Excessive use of force," she added, "is the default response by the authorities during demonstrations.

Between April and May this year, "at least 55 people" including teachers, lawyers, trade unionists, artists and academics were arrested during protests, many of whom face charges "against national security." The unnecessary deaths caused by the authorities' use of excessive force against peaceful protesters and detainees "have continued with total impunity." "And the scale of deaths in detention," she concluded, "is a cause for serious concern.

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