Over the past eleven days, at least 57 prisoners, including two women and two prisoners of conscience, have been executed in various Iranian prisons. The executions were for drug-related crimes, murder, “spreading corruption on earth,” and blasphemy. HRANA has compiled a statistical analysis of the details of the executions during this period.
According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, there has been a noticeable increase in the execution of prisoners in Iranian prisons from April 28 to May 9, 2023.
Based on the reports compiled by HRANA, the death sentences were carried out in several prisons, including Rajai Shahr (Karaj), Ghezel Hesar (Karaj), Urmia, Salmas, Ardabil, Dastgerd (Isfahan), Vakilabad (Mashhad), Neishabur, Torbat-e-Jam, Rasht, Yazd, Birjand, Qazvin, Minab, Bandar Abbas, Zahedan, Khorramabad, and Iranshahr.
Out of the 57 executed prisoners, 36 were convicted of drug-related charges, 17 for murder, two for insulting the Prophet of Islam, and one for alleged “spreading corruption on earth.” In one case the charges remain unknown.
At least 38 death-row prisoners were also transferred to solitary confinement in Salmas, Urmia, Khorin, Ghezel Hesar (Karaj), Yazd, Bandar Abbas, Birjand, Adelabad (Shiraz) and Zahedan, which could be a prelude to their execution. HRANA is investigating their fate, and the statistics presented in this report could increase.
As of the time of writing, most of these executions have not been announced by official sources or media inside Iran.
The issuance and execution of death sentences violate the right to live and have been heavily criticized by international organizations, with Iran ranking first globally in execution rate per capita.
On May 9, UN Human Rights Chief Volker Türk called these recent increases in executions “frightening” and urged Iranian authorities to halt all executions. “On average so far this year, over 10 people are put to death each week in Iran, making it one of the world’s highest executors,” said Türk.
In 2022, the Department of Statistics and Publication of Human Rights Activists in Iran registered 457 reports on the execution of 565 people and death sentences for 92 people, six of whom were sentenced to be hanged in public. Of these 565 executions, two death sentences were carried out in public, and five were juvenile offenders who were under 18 years old at the time of committing the alleged crime.
The breakdown of charges for these executions is as follows: 122 individuals were executed for drug-related offenses, 59 for murder, 6 for undisclosed charges, 1 for adultery, 1 for ideological charges, 1 for corruption, 1 for Moharebeh (political security), and 1 for non-political Moharebeh.
Skylar Thompson, the head of Global Advocacy and Accountability of Human Rights Activists, stated that “the surging rate of executions in Iran illustrates an utter disregard for human life. Under no circumstance does the ongoing use of the death penalty, for drug-related offenses in particular, amount to what is permittable under international law. Iranian authorities have an absolute obligation to uphold international human rights standards and instead, there is ongoing impunity for grave violations of the right to life–and more. The international community must not delay in sounding the alarm, they should call for a stay of executions for those currently facing execution and a moratorium on the death penalty, at a minimum, for crimes not amounting to “most serious” under international law.”