The Iranian government has ramped up executions in an apparent bid to quell potential uprisings in the lead up to the anniversary of nationwide Jin Jiyan Azadi (Woman Life Freedom) protests. The surge in executions in particular targeted the Baluch community; six of the ten prisoners executed on Monday were Baluchi.
The day before, on 20 August, a 10-year-old Baluchi child named Ehsan Yousef Zehi was reportedly fatally shot by security forces in the southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchestan while riding a motorcycle. Iranian intelligence officials claimed that the child was shot because he allegedly failed to obey a ‘stop warning’.
As Sunni Muslims, the Baluch have long faced persecution as both an ethnic and religious minority. Estimates of the Baluch population in Iran range from 1.5 to 2 million.
Along with the Kurds, the Baluchi community face severe repression and have the highest number of executions in the country. Activists argue that the trials of Baluchi prisoners lack due process and that impoverished citizens are often executed without proper legal representation.
Despite repeated arrests and pressure, the Baluch people of Zahedan have organised protests every Friday since 30 September 2022, when security forces opened fire on civilians, leaving 96 dead and 300 injured.