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UN condemns surge in executions in Iran

UN human rights experts condemn the recent surge in executions in Iran, the majority of which are unreported. Reports received from Geneva on 8th May 2015 from United Nations Special Rapporteurs involving the situation of human rights in Iran by Ahmed Shaheed and on extrajudicial executions by Christof Heyns have condemned the drastic increase in executions since the past few weeks. In many cases executions have gone unreported by official sources and the names of those being executed have not been disclosed to the public.

“When the Iranian government refuses to even acknowledge the full extent of executions which have occurred, it shows a callous disregard for both human dignity and international human rights law,” Mr. Shaheed stressed.

Between the 9th and the 26th of April as many as 98 prisoners are reported to have been executed at an average of six per day. This latest flurry of executions bring the body count since the first of January to more than 340, which include at least six political prisoners and seven women.

“We are alarmed by the recent surge in the number of executions, which has occurred despite serious questions about fair trial standards,” Mr. Heyns noted. “Many of the prisoners executed during this period were charged with drug-related offences, which do not involve intentional killing and hence do not meet the threshold of the ‘most serious crimes’.

These independent specialists brought special attention to the continued reports of executions that are taking place in public, with fifteen such executions having been carried out already in 2015. “Executions staged in public have a de-humanizing effect on both the victim and those who witness the execution, reinforcing the already cruel, inhuman and degrading nature of the death penalty,” they said.

These Special Rapporteurs have jointly urged the Iranian Government to heed to the growing appeal by the UN human rights system to halt all executions and to establish a suspension of the death penalty with intent to abolish the practice permanently.