Death penalty: Execution every four hours in Iran

Gulf European Centre for Human Rights


Death penalty: Execution every four hours in Iran

27th July 2019   


Iran has set a new world record, not in sport, but in executions, with one execution every four hours. The judicial authorities in Tehran carried out 253 death sentences in 2018, so that Iran has set a record in the number of executions against its own people.

According to international human rights organisations, Iran leads the death penalty, accounting for 51% of executions worldwide and 60% of all executions in the Middle East. Iran has executed at least 507 people in 2017, including at least five under 18 years of age at the time of the crimes; as well as 253 people in 2018. However, the number of executions in 2019 is high number reported.

Human rights groups condemned the executions in Iran and called for an end to the death penalty against the citizens. The organisations also say executions of hundreds of people in Iran, especially against Ahwazi Arab activists, have been carried out after unfair trials. Most of the executions concerned non-homicide crimes that violate international law and human rights.

The international human rights organisations also denounce the death penalty against political activists on charges of "enmity of God" and "corruption on earth" and stated that these cases do not amount to execution and should not be sentenced to death.

The report of several human rights organisations stated that trials on death sentences in Iran are "unfair" and "behind doors" and that confessions are taken under torture and ill-treatment. Some of these confessions are broadcast on state television.

The human rights organisations warned of dozens of juvenile delinquents who are awaiting execution and noted that the real figures are probably much higher and perhaps more than 100 juvenile which is a violation of international law and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, according to Amnesty International.

The organisations said 31 of the people who executed were accused of drug trafficking, most of them from areas devastated by poverty and deprivation, especially after the advent of the Islamic Republic of Iran, such as Baluchistan, with a vast majority of Sunni population.

A statement issued by international human rights organisations issued on Saturday, July 27, 2019 from the British capital, London that the Iranian authorities executed 56 people in this week. However, the official Iranian media admitted only the execution of seven of them not 56. Hence, international human rights organisations have described this number of executions as "inhuman" and demand that the death penalty against other cases should be halted in Iran immediately.

"The execution of a person every four hours in 2019 is considered unprecedented even in Islamic Republic of Iran," said Faisal Fulad, the organization's general coordinator. He said that the number of death penalty in Iran is not the unannounced execution of this year 2019 and many people died under brutal torture in Iran's prisons”. "We must hear responses from the international community about what is going on in Iranian prisons before it is too late to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe," he said.

Faisal Fulad pointed out that there are more than five thousand sentenced to death in Iranian prisons, the execution was carried out against many of them and some of them at any moment will be executed in prisons, without informing them or their families officially. He said: “There is no exact data for the number of executions in Iran due to the Iranian policies to not offering any exact data on prisoner situation, but human rights organisations such as Amnesty international estimated that the number of those executed in Iran is a high number.

Iran recently accused the detainees of Kurdish activists of involving with the group of "Tawheed and Jihad" in the province of Kurdistan, Iran, and the authorities has accused the activists (political and human rights activists) of committing what he described as "crimes of terrorism against the people, and their links with operations threatening public security and several other charges of false accusations, thus, the authorities carried out death sentence against them. However, international human rights organisations have confirmed that convictions are the result of forced confessions of detainees, and Human Rights Watch condemned what it said was "mass execution of at least 10 prisoners." Human Rights Watch, Sarah Leah Whitson, director of the organisation for the Middle East and North Africa, said that Iran executes hundreds of people annually.

Last year (2018), human rights activists had a major campaign for the defence of political prisoners in Iran, about a sit-in organised by Sunni detainees in Rajai Shahr prison, southwest of Tehran. The detainees shouted in exaggerated terms to protest against the mass executions carried out in secret against 21 of whom they called "preachers and students of religious sciences".

Human rights reports indicate that more than 200 young Kurds from the Sunni community are currently under threat of imminent execution at Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj, west of Tehran, on charges of "conspiring against national security" and "propaganda against the regime". The other detainees are held in the prisons of Karaj, Tehran, Sanandaj, Hamdan, Kermanshah, Urmia, Saqqaz, Mahabad and Mariwan. They are reportedly deprived of their basic rights like other prisoners. They are treated harshly by the prison authorities and are often prevented from carrying out their religious duties.

Human rights organisations confirmed that a large number of Ahwazi also arrested by the Iranian authorities and about 1,000 people have been arrested since September 2018 while 22 people died under torture or through secret executions.

Human rights organisations pointed out that the majority of these arrests take place against the backdrop of a demand to reject discrimination and persecution against the Ahwazi, Baluchi, Kurdish and other Sunnis in Iran, where Sunni groups in Iran complain of what they call "sectarian discrimination" and accuse the Iranian regime of colonizing and occupying their lands by banning them from political life. To manage the affairs of the country and prevent them from performing their rituals and demanding the right to self-determination and independence from the Iranian occupation.


List of human rights organisations:

  1. Gulf European Centre for Human Rights
  2. Lebanese Foundation for Democracy and Human Rights (LIFE)
  3. Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society
  4. Organization of the Global Message for Human Rights
  5. Karama Human Rights Association in Bahrain
  6. Baloch Observatory for Human Rights
  7. Arab Observatory for Trade Union Rights and Freedoms
  8. Arab Human Rights Information Portal
  9. Yemeni Coalition for Human Rights


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