World Day Against the Death Penalty: Annual Report on Execution in Iran 2021-2022

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- On the World Day against the Death Penalty, the Center of Statistics of Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRA) has published its annual report in an effort to sensitize the public about the death penalty situation in Iran, particularly thousands of death-row convicts awaiting their looming executions.

HRA’s Statistics Center relies on the work of HRANA reporters, as well as a network of independent and verifiable sources. It also incorporates the judicial authorities’ announcements or confirmations of prisoner executions on media, and as such, is exposed to a margin of error representing efforts by the Iranian authorities to omit, conceal, or restrict the collection of such data.

Between October 10, 2021, and October 7, 2022, at least 528 convicts were executed by hanging in Iran, rising to 98% compared to the same period last year. Of these executions, one was carried out in public. Many of the defendants were denied a fair trial and due process.

Click here to download report in PDF format

HRANA obtained 439 reports regarding executions and death penalty in Iran during this period. The identified executed individuals, include 20 women and 6 juvenile offenders under the age of 18 at the time of alleged crime. Compared to the last period, the execution of female offenders has raised 55%.

According to the reports obtained by HRANA, over this period, Iranian authorities sentenced at least 89 defendants to death penalty, including at least 5 women, and 7 public executions.  Issuing death sentence decreased by 1% compared to the last year.

As the chart below shows a breakdown of executions by capital offense: 50.38% were charged with murder, 41.29% with drug and narcotic offenses, 3.03% with rape, 1.70% with non-political armed robbery/offenses classified as “corruption on earth,” and 0.38% with political or security-related offenses. Moreover, 0.38% were convicted of security charges (spying, terror, and bombing), 0.38% were convicted of armed robbery, and 2.46% of charges are unknown.

The pie chart below displays execution numbers by the province in which they took place. According to this chart, the Sistan and Baluchestan Province had the highest number of executions at 16%. Alborz (where three overcrowded prisons are located) and Fars Provinces come second and third, with 16.48% and 11.93%, respectively.

The chart below depicts the distribution of executions’ information sources. The chart indicates that 70% of HRANA-confirmed executions were not announced by the official Iranian sources. Undisclosed executions are referred to as “secret” executions.

 

The chart above shows the execution numbers by gender.

The pie chart below displays execution numbers by the prison where the executions were carried out. The Rajai-Shahr Prison officials have carried out the highest number of executions with 14.42%. Zahedan Prison ranks second with 12,33% executions.

The chart below displays percentage of executions carried out in public Vs. the number of executions that were carried out in prison. According to statistics, 0.19% of the executions in Iran were carried out in public.

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Click here to download the report in PDF format.

For further inquiries please contact Skylar Thompson, Senior Advocacy Coordinator Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRA) at [email protected]

Nine Inmates Executed in Rajai Shahr, Gonbad-e Kavus, and Bandar Abbas

On September 7, 2022, Rajai Shahr Prison officials executed seven inmates who were previously convicted of murder.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, on September 7, 2022, seven inmates were executed in Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj.

HRANA has identified three out of the seven inmates as Khosro Noorbakhsh, Mohammad Arab, and Abolfazl Shahi.

On that day, in Gonbad-e Kavus, Golestan Province, an inmate identified as Ghafoor Nejat Pour, age 22, was executed. He was convicted of murder.

Haal Vsh also reported the execution of an Afghan National, Yarmohammad Eshagh-Zehi, age 40, in Bandar Abbas. He was arrested and sentenced to death on drug-related charges two years ago. Eshagh-Zehi’s family has not yet been informed about his execution.

These executions have not been reported by official sources and media outlets inside Iran so far.

Hamid Nouri Sentenced to Life Imprisonment by Swedish Court

A Swedish court sentenced former IRGC official Hamid Nouri to life imprisonment for his role in the mass execution of political prisoners in 1988. At the time, Nouri was working as the assistant to the Deputy Prosecutor of Rajai Shahr Prison. In 2019, Nouri was arrested upon arrival at the airport in Sweden for committing crimes against humanity under the rules of universal jurisdiction.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, on July 15, 2022, Hamid Nouri was sentenced to life in prison by a Swedish court for “crimes against humanity (war crimes) and murder.”

As the assistant to the deputy prosecutor, Nouri had an important role in the execution of thousands of political prisoners between July and September of 1988.

On November 9, 2019, Nouri was arrested upon arrival at Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport.

At least 60 witnesses and 12 experts testified in his trial.

In an interview, a former Iranian Judge, who was the head of the so-called Death Committee at that time, justified these atrocities as “a necessary action against conspirators’ plots.”

In 1988, by the direct order of Iran’s former Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini, a committee (later known as the Death Committee), including current President Ebrahim Raisi, was established to execute thousands of political prisoners.

Civil Activist and Former Political Prisoner Payam Shakiba Arrested, Transferred to Evin Prison

Civil activist and former political prisoner Payam Shakiba was arrested and transferred to Evin Prison after being summoned by the Executive Unit of Evin Courthouse to serve his 13 month sentence.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Shakiba was arrested after his appearance at the Executive Unit of Evin Courthouse. He was then imprisoned in the quarantine section of Evin Prison.

On June 14, 2021, Shakiba was arrested by security forces in Tehran and held in Ward 209 of Evin Prison. On July 4, he was released on a bail of 100 million tomans (23,800 USD) pending further legal proceedings.

Shakiba has faced another arrest and conviction due to his civil activities. On February 22, 2017, he was arrested by security forces. He was sentenced in November 2017 to 11 years in prison on charges of “acting against national security through assembly and collusion,” and “propaganda against the regime”. This verdict was upheld on appeal. Ultimately, he was freed from Rajai Shahr Prison on February 3, 2021.

Three Inmates Executed in Rajai Shahr and Kerman Prisons

This week, in addition to juvenile offender Arman Abdolali, three inmates were executed in Rajai Shahr and Kerman Prisons.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting ISNA, an inmate who was previously convicted of murder was executed in Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj on Wednesday, November 24. At the same time, three other inmates, after being sent to the foot of the gallows, were able to obtain additional time from the “blood avengers” at the very last minute, and were sent back to their cells.

Reportedly, the executed man was personnel of a contracting company working for Tehran municipality. As part of his duty, he stopped a van driver, who was working as a scrap metal collector, to check his permit for this work. The verbal quarrel ends up in a fight between them. During the fight, the van driver was hit in the head, fainted and subsequently died from the fracture in his head in hospital.

According to the victim’s son, who witnessed the incident, the man hit his father’s head with brass knuckles led to his death. Despite recognizing the homicide as a semi-deliberate killing by the judge in the first trial, the Supreme Court overturned the verdict. In the second trial, he was sentenced to death and the verdict was confirmed by the Supreme Court. He had been sent to the gallows the previous year, but was that time able to obtain some more time from the blood avengers before being executed.

In Kerman Prison, according to Rasank news, on Thursday, November 25, two inmates, who have been identified as Abdolsattar She-Baksh and Khan-Mohammad Rahman-Zehi, were executed. They have been charged with drug-related crimes. Both had been in jail for three years.

The most recent report of the Statistics and Publication Center of the Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRA) states that between October 8 of 2020 and October 9 of 2021, at least 266 citizens, three of whom were juvenile offenders, were executed and 90 citizens were sentenced to death.

As the report points out, Iran’s judicial authorities do not publicly announce over 82% of executions. These unreported executions are known as “secret executions” by human rights organizations.

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Juvenile Offender Arman Abdolali Executed in Rajai Shahr Prison

Earlier this Wednesday, November 24, juvenile offender Arman Abdolali was executed in Rajai Shahr Prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Abdolali was relocated to a solitary confinement cell yesterday as a regular procedure before carrying out the execution, and then executed in the morning.

Judiciary Media Center announced that on Wednesday morning, Arman Abdolali, who was previously convicted of murdering his girlfriend at the age of 17, was executed in Rajai Shahr Prison.

Last night, in response to his relocation to a solitary confinement cell, Amnesty International asked Iranian authorities to halt the imminent execution. Amnesty International had also previously urged that the sentence be stopped and pointed out, “The use of the death penalty against people who were under 18 at the time the crime was committed is prohibited under international law and constitutes an abhorrent assault on child rights.”

In 2013, while he was underage, Abdolali was indicted on the charge of murdering his girlfriend, Ghazaleh Shakur. During interrogation, he confessed to killing her but later on, he denied the charges, claimed that the confession has been extracted under torture and pleaded his innocence. The victim’s body was never found.

After the first confirmation of the sentence, Abdolali’s lawyer claimed him as innocent and asked for a retrial, which was granted by the Supreme Court of Iran. In the second retrial, the death sentence was upheld after six months by the Supreme Court of Iran and thereafter by an appellate court.

One Worker Killed and Seven Injured Due to Unsafe Workplace Conditions

In two separate recent accidents, several child workers were injured and one worker was killed in unsafe work environments.

On Wednesday, November 17, in a workplace accident in Meybod City, seven workers, some of whom are underage, were injured due to gas poisoning. In another workplace accident in Rajai Shahr in Karaj, a worker was killed after falling off a wall in a construction pit.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting IRIB News Agency, in an industrial zone in Meybod city, seven workers, several of whom are minors, were poisoned by a gas leak at their workplace and hospitalized.

“On Wednesday morning, seven people with symptoms of gas poisoning were transferred to the Hospital Imam Jafar by the emergence 115 of Meybod County “, the head of the Emergency Department of Meybod city commented. “These workers of a workhouse in Meybod Industrial zone, aged from 17 to 24 years old, have been hospitalized.”

According to IRNAN, the spokesperson of the fire department and the Municipal Safety Services of Karaj reported the death of a worker due to a non-standard excavation in a construction project.

“The emergency team reached the spot after three minutes and pulled the body out of the construction pit”, the spokesperson commented.

Iran ranks 102nd in workplace safety out of 189 countries.

 

 

Prisoner of Conscience Soheil Arabi Released From Rajai Shahr Prison

On Tuesday, November 16, prisoner of conscience Soheil Arabi was released from Rajai Shahr Prison after completing his sentence and sent to Borazjan to await the court decision about his two-year exile sentence.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Soheil Arabi was sent to Borazjan City accompanied by a police guard. It is yet to be decided whether he should stay in exile in Borazjan, and if so, how long. Because Arabi’s prison term was longer than the sentence required, either the difference will be subtracted from the current exile period, or the charge will be dropped altogether.

Arabi has been imprisoned since November 7, 2013, and never been granted leave. On January 21, 2020, he was relocated from Evin Prison to the Greater Tehran Prison.

While serving out the seven and a half year sentence, Soheil Arabi was convicted on charges from two new cases. In the first case, the Revolutionary Court of Tehran sentenced him to five years imprisonment on the charge of “blasphemy, propaganda against the regime and an offensive statement against the Supreme Leader”. For the second case, he was sentenced to two years imprisonment, two years of exile in Borazjan City, and paying a fine of 4 million tomans on a charge of “spreading lies in the purpose to disturb public opinion and propaganda against the regime”, and one year and eight months on the charge of “the destruction of public property”.

On September 18, 2020, Arabi was punitively relocated from the Greater Tehran Prison to Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj. On October 20, 2020, after being held for 33 days in a solitary confinement cell, in a phone call to his family, he informed them about his relocation to the detention center at the disposal of IRGC, known as Ward 2 A of Evin Prison. On November 8, 2020, he was sent back to a solitary confinement cell in Rajai Shahr Prison. After 9 days, he was sent to the public ward of this prison.

Two Inmates Executed in Zahedan and Rajai Shahr Prisons

In the last two days, two inmates were executed in Zahedan and Rajai Shahr Prisons.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists,  an inmate who was previously convicted of murder was executed this Wednesday, November 3, in Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj.

HRANA has identified the inmate as 33-year-old Manuchehr Kazemi Varmaleh, who was a resident of Harsin County in Kermanshah Province.

Another inmate, who has been identified as Javad Qoljai, was executed on Thursday, November 4, in Zahedan Prison on a charge of murder.

According to HRANA, quoting Rasank, Qoljai was arrested two years ago and convicted of the murder of one of his friends. He had been in prison since, until his execution yesterday.

The most recent report of the Statistics and Publication Center of the Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRA) states that between October 8 of 2020 and October 9 of 2021, at least 266 citizens, three of whom were juvenile offenders, were executed and 90 citizens were sentenced to death.

As the report points out, Iran’s judicial authorities do not publicly announce over 82% of executions. These unreported executions are known as “secret executions” by human rights organizations.

Neither Qoljai’s nor Varmaleh’s executions have been reported by official sources in Iran as of this writing.

Update on Political Prisoners’ Health Conditions in Rajai Shahr Prison

Below are the available updates on the health conditions of political prisoners held in Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj.

Rajai Shahr Prison, previously known as Gohardasht Prison, is located in Karaj City in Alborz Province. According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Rajai Shahr Prison has been used by security forces for years as an exile prison for political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, despite having been built specifically to house inmates convicted of violent crimes.

The rights of each prisoner to receive adequate medical treatment has been asserted explicitly by both Iran’s domestic law and international law and other human rights documents. Additionally, various articles of Iran’s Executive regulations of the Prisons Organization have specified inmates’ diseases and treatments.

Nonetheless, Rajai Shahr prison officials frequently violate these political prisoners’ right to adequate medical treatment, hence putting their lives in danger. Often, when inmates are dispatched to medical centers they are met with obstruction from prison officials and security agents.

The following provides the latest health condition of 15 political prisoners held in Salon 10, Ward 4 of Rajai Shahr prisons.

  • 1. Motalleb Ahmadian suffers from infection in the testicles (orchitis) and bladder as well as spinal cord injuries. He has not yet received any required medical condition for his degenerative diseases. Both the general practitioner and infectious disease specialist of the prison have stressed that Mr. Ahmadian should undergo surgery and receive treatments from a urologist.
    For his spinal cord injury, he has to do MRI test every six months, and in order to prevent the progression of the disease, he has to be under regular examination by a neurologist.
    In 2019, the specialist prescribed spinal injections, which he could not receive due to the obstruction of the head of the prison as well as the prison healthcare officer. In 2020, finally, he was permitted to obtain the medicine from outside of prison. For the next injection, which was supposed to be done by September of this year, he has not yet been able to obtain the medicine.

    Motalleb Ahmadian was arrested on October 5, 2010, on a charge of “membership in one of opposition political groups”. He has sentenced to 30 years imprisonment by the Revolutionary Court.

  • 2. Afshin Baymani has kidney stones and diabetes. After spending many years in prison, Baymani has contracted coronary artery disease. In March 2020, because of his critical health condition, he had to be hospitalized in a specialized cardiovascular hospital where they had his medical documents. Instead, the prison officials decided to instead dispatch him to a general hospital. Recently, even after seven electrocardiography tests, the physician of the prison healthcare has not yet requested the dispatch of Mr Baymani to the hospital.

    Afshin Baymani was arrested on September 5, 2000, on a charge of “enmity against God (Moharebeh) through collaboration with The People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran”. The Revolutionary Court in Tehran sentenced him to death which later was reduced to life imprisonment. Afshin Baymani is now serving the twenty-second year of his sentence.

  • 3. Hamzeh Savari suffers from a baker’s cyst behind the right knee and a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament of the knee, which had made walking painful for him. He urgently needs to undergo surgery to treat the cyst. He also suffers from lumbar disc injuries, arthritis and spine problems. Savari has varicocele, causing severe pain in the testicles. He underwent previously surgery, but again with the recurrence of the disease, he needs another surgery.

    Hamzeh Savari was arrested on September 2, 2005, on the charge of  “enmity against God (Moharebeh) and acting against national security”. The Revolutionary Court of Ahvaz sentenced him to capital punishment, which later was reduced to life imprisonment. He was 16 years old at the time of arrest and currently he is serving the seventeenth year of his prison sentence.

  • 4. Hassan Sadeghi suffers from Glaucoma (damage to the optic nerve) and intra ocular pressure, as well as joint pain which is particularly acute in the knees. His right eye vision has been worsened due to the damage in long-untreated optic nerves. Despite these poor health conditions, the assistant prosecutor of the prison Amin Vaziri has hindered him from dispatching to the hospital.
    Sadeghi can hardly walk due to the fractures of the bones in the sole of both feet caused by the tortures he endured in the ’80s (he endured his first prison sentence from 1981 to 1987).

    Hassan Sadeghi was arrested on January 28, 2013, on a charge of “enmity against God (Moharebeh) through advocacy for The People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran “. The Revolutionary Court of Tehran sentenced him to 15 years imprisonment and the confiscation of his property (an apartment and a store). He is 58 years old and serving the ninth year of his sentence.

  • 5. Abolghasem Fouladvand suffers from coronary artery disease. The assistant prosecutor of the prison Amin Vaziri has refused to allow him to be sent to the hospital for medical treatment.

    Abolghasem Fouladvand was arrested in 2013 on a charge of “enmity against God (Moharebeh) through advocacy for The People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran”. The Revolutionary Court sentenced him to 15 years imprisonment. He is 59 years old and currently serving the eighth year of his sentence.

  • 6. Hooshang Rezaie suffers from diabetes.

    Hooshang Rezaie was arrested in 2010 on a charge of “membership in Komola (Kurdistan’s Organization of the Communist Party of Iran), spying, murder and adultery”. The Revolutionary Court of Tehran sentenced him to death which was later reduced to 15 years imprisonment. Hooshang Rezaie was transferred to the quarantine section of Rajai Shahr after testing positive for Covid-19.

  • 7. Iraj Hatami suffers from heart problems, unstable blood pressure, blood fats and cholesterol issues.

    Iraj Hatami was arrested on October 18, 2010, and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment on the charge of spying for the U.S.A. He had been working in Iran’s Ministry of Defense, from 1991 to 2004. Since two years and three months of his detention period in the military Detention Center has not been subtracted from his sentence term, he is still in prison. To protest, in June of this year, he went on a hunger strike.

  • 8. Ali Eshagh has unstable blood pressure, intestinal colitis (inflammation of the colon), meniscus tear in both knees. Four years ago, he underwent a heart attack. He refused to dispatch to the hospital due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Ali Eshagh was arrested on November 21, 2019, and sentenced to 5 years imprisonment on a charge of “membership in Fedaian Organisation (Minority)”. He was born in 1950. He had also been spending in prison from 1983 to 1989 for the same charge.

  • 9. Farhad Fahandezh suffers from digestive and heart diseases.

    Farhad Fahandezh was arrested on August 16, 2012, on charges of “Propagation of the Baha’i Faith and directing Baha’i organizations.” The Revolutionary Court sentenced him to ten years imprisonment. He was born in 1959. Currently, he is serving the ninth year of his sentence. Earlier, he was arrested in 1983 and spent 6 years in prison.

  • 10. Saeed Eghbali permanently lost 70 percent of his hearing due to the serious damages in the middle of his eardrum from injuries sustained from beatings during his detention period, which, without adequate treatment, quickly grew infected. According to his doctor, to prevent the spread of the infection, surgery will be required.


    Saeed Eghbali was arrested on February 1, 2018, on a charge of “assembly and collusion in purpose to act against national security and propaganda against the regime”. The Revolutionary Court sentenced him to six years in prison, which was upheld on appeal. Currently, he is serving the second year of his prison sentence.

  • 11. Soheil Arabi suffers from blunt trauma and hydrocele caused by beatings sustained during his time in the IRGC’s detention center. Moreover, his feet have been swollen due to several fractures on his feet.

    Soheil Arabi was arrested on November 7, 2013, on charges of ” blasphemy”, “propaganda against the regime”, “offensive statements against the supreme leader of Iran”. In his first case, he was sentenced to five years imprisonment. For the second case, he was sentenced to two years imprisonment, two years exile in Borazjan and paying a fine for 4 million tomans, on a charge of “spreading lies in the purpose to disturbing public opinions and the propaganda against the regime” and one year and eight months on the charge of ” destruction of state property”. In addition, for another new case, he has been sentenced to two years imprisonment, paying a fine, being banned from leaving the country and once every three times mandatory appearance at the Supervision and Follow-up office of Judiciary by Branch 26 of Tehran’s revolutionary court.

  • 12. Ali Musa-Nejad Farkoosh suffers from an infectious disease of the stomach and intestines, requiring surgery.

    Ali Musa-Nejad Farkoosh was arrested on January 10, 2019, on charges of “assembly and collusion to commit a crime and act against national security, offensive statements against current and former supreme leader of Iran and propaganda against the regime.” The Revolutionary Court sentenced him to eight years imprisonment. According to article 134 of Iran’s penal code, 5 years as the severest punishment is enforceable for the above-mentioned charges. He is serving the first year of his sentence. A while ago, he was granted furlough for medical treatment.

  • 13. Farzin Rezaei Roshan suffers from bipolar disorder and depression as well as Fibromyalgia (a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues).

    Farzin Rezaei Roshan was arrested in June 2017, on charges of “assembly and collusion to act against national security and propaganda against the regime.” The Revolutionary Court sentenced him to four years imprisonment. He is serving the second year of his sentence.

  • 14. Arjang Davoudi can only walk with the aid of a walker. It is because of diseases, senility and harsh condition of prison as well as serious damages of lumbar vertebrae after being pushed and fallen from stairs by one of the prison officials. He requires surgery on his knees. Moreover, he suffers from other diseases such as cataracts, diabetes and heart problems.

    Arjang Davoudi was arrested on November 9, 2002, on charges of “forming illegal political groups and membership in one of opposition political parties, offensive statements against the supreme leader of and high-ranking regime officials.” The Revolutionary Court sentenced him to fifteen years and eight months imprisonment which later was reduced to ten years and eight months on appeal. In 2012, on the new charge of “advocacy for The People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran”, he was sentenced to death. The verdict was revoked in the supreme court of Iran and instead changed to five years imprisonment in an exile prison in Zabol. Moreover, he had been spending a while in Bandar-Abbas Prison.

  • 15. Mehdi Meskin Navaz requires surgery due to the rupture of the cruciate ligament of the knee. In addition, he needs physiotherapy treatment because of issues in the knee, neck, and lumbar vertebrae.

    Mehdi Meskin Navaz was arrested on May 5, 2019, on charges of “assembly and collusion, acting against national security, offensive statements against the supreme leader of Iran”. The Revolutionary Court sentenced him to 13 years imprisonment and two years of compulsory residency in Ghahraj city in Kerman Province and prohibition from membership in political parties and groups. Currently, he is serving the third year of his sentence. As of this writing, Meskin Navaz has been transferred to the quarantine section after testing positive for Covid-19.

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