At least 31 people have been executed in Iran over the past week, the Norway-based Iran Human Rights Organisation (IHRNGO) has reported, warning of a significant increase in the number of executions over the Christmas holidays.
The timing and the alarming rate of these executions have intensified calls for immediate international intervention and condemnation. As the Christmas holiday approaches, human rights advocates fear that the festive season could provide cover for further executions, particularly of vulnerable groups.
The organisation expressed particular concern about the imminent execution of Samira Sabzian, originally scheduled for 13 December but postponed for a week. Samira, who has been on death row for a decade, is accused of murdering her husband. Married as a child, her case highlights the wider issue of human rights abuses in Iran, particularly those against women.
Iran is the world’s biggest executioner of women. At least 16 women were executed in 2022. This year has seen at least 17 women put to death.
IHRNGO Director Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam stresses the urgent need for anti-death penalty campaigns and political responses to try and save the lives of Samira and other death row prisoners. Amiry-Moghaddam expressed deep concern at the staggering average of more than four executions a day in the past week.
“During this time, particularly individuals such as women, juvenile offenders, protesters and political prisoners whose executions could elicit stronger reactions under normal circumstances are at greater risk,” Amiry-Moghaddam warned.
Meanwhile, an unnamed man was hanged in Zahedan for alleged links to foreign services, including Mossad. The suspicious timing, just a day after an armed attack on the Rask police headquarters in southeast Iran in which 11 security personnel were killed, an attack claimed by the Sunni armed group Jaish al-Adl (Army of Justice), raises questions about the retaliatory nature of the execution.