Executions in Iran continue to surge with an average of 10 hangings per week, the authorities targeting Jin, Jîyan, Azadî (Woman, Life, Freedom) activists from minority groups, in trials marred with irregularities including confessions allegedly obtained under torture.
Iranian Kurdish Reza Rasaei, a member of the Yaresan religious minority, was sentenced for the premeditated murder of the Iranian security forces head of intelligence in the Kurdish-majority province of Kermanshah, at the height of the women’s rights protests in late 2022.
The verdict was upheld by the Supreme Court in December. With a judicial review rejected in January, the risk of execution has become imminent, Amnesty International reported.
Amnesty said the courts had “unlawfully relied on forced ‘confessions’ extracted from Reza Rasaei and others under torture and other ill-treatment to convict him.”
In the Kurdish-majority West Azerbaijan province, Mohammad Khezrnejad, a Sunni Kurdish cleric, also faces protest-related capital punishment. He was charged with ‘corruption on earth’ and ‘propaganda against the system’ in November, after leading a memorial service for a man killed by security forces during a protest, and cautioning the government against issuing death sentences for protesters, Iran International reported.
Capital punishment of political prisoners and other alleged offenders in Iran has reached crisis point, Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRANA) said. “From 2013 to 2023, HRANA has identified a total of 4,829 executions,” Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRANA) said.
“Iran’s domestic judicial system is plagued with numerous due process violations. These violations include coerced forced confessions, torture, inhumane treatment and a lack of adequate legal representation to name a mere few,” HRANA’s database of human rights violators, Spreading Justice, said.
“Iranian courts issued 35 death sentences [in January], marking the highest number of death penalties issued within a single month in over a year. Meanwhile, a total of 86 people were executed across the country during January alone,” Iran International reported, citing HRANA.
Amnesty called on Iran to use independent observers to regulate capital trials, and suspend forthcoming executions with “a view to abolishing the death penalty”.