Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Annual Report on the Death Penalty in Iran

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Iran Human Rights /

According to the annual report on the death penalty in Iran, number of executions in 2009 in Iran were the highest in the past 10 years. Commenting the annual report, the spokesperson of Iran Human Rights Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam said: "This reports confirms that the situation of the human rights in Iran is worse than in many years". He continued: " We are especially concerned about the high number of arbitrary executions and execution of those convicted for Moharebeh in 2009". Moharebeh (meaning at war with God) is a charge Iranian authorities use for those who are involved in the struggle against the regime. Recently an Iranian court sentenced a 20 year old Iranian student Mohammad Amin Valian to death convicted of Moharebeh. He was convicted of Moharebeh because he confessed that he has thrown stones against the security forces under the Ashura protests in December 2009. Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam asked the world community and the international civil society to condemn the violations of the human rights in Iran and show their support to the Iranian people’s movement for democracy and the human rights:" Many of those who have demanded their legitimate human rights in the past months in Iran are at risk of death penalty in the Iranian prisons. The international community should not get used to the repression and death penalty in Iran even though it happens everyday. Iranians are living under one of the world’s most repressive regimes. Iranian people need the world’s support today, and we should keep in mind that the world needs a democratic Iran".

The present report is primarily based on the information published by the official Iranian media and gathered by members of the organization “Iran Human Rights” in the period of January 1. to December 31. 2009. Iran Human Rights has also used its own sources or reliable sources belonging to other human rights networks. Since the protests after the presidential elections in June 2009, transfer of information has been increasingly difficult. Besides, the Iranian authorities have imposed a more strict control on what information they choose to hand out to the media, compared to the previous years. There are several lines of evidence suggesting that the actual number is significantly higher.

- The vice prosecutor general of Ahwaz (capital of the southwestern province of Khuzestan) the number of executions in the past 11 months were 38. This is about than 3 times higher than the executions announced by the official media and our own sources. The situation could be similar in several other Iranian cities.
- We have reason to believe that the numbers of the executions in the Kurdish regions of Iran are significantly higher than those presented in the present report.

This indicates that the present report is a strong underestimation of the real numbers of the death penalty carried out in Iran in 2009. But still Iran stays at the top of the world, along with China, as the country with highest number of executions. These executions do not include those who were killed under the post-election protests. The total number of those who have been killed in connection to the protests is not known but according to different sources it could be between 70-150 people. (Read more...)