Prisons turned into killing fields in Iran as drug-related executions almost triple this year

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Prisons turned into killing fields in Iran as drug-related executions almost triple this year

3 July 2023
Amnesty International

Iranian authorities have executed at least 173 people convicted of drug-related offences this year after systematically unfair trials, nearly three times more than this time last year, Amnesty International said today.

Executions for drug-related offences make up two thirds of all the executions carried out in Iran in the first five months of 2023 and have predominantly impacted people from marginalized and economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Members of Iran’s persecuted and impoverished Baluchi ethnic minority account for around 20 per cent of the recorded executions despite making up only five per cent of Iran’s population.

“The shameless rate at which the authorities are carrying out drug-related executions, in violation of international law, exposes their lack of humanity and flagrant disregard for the right to life. The international community must ensure that cooperation in anti-drug trafficking initiatives do not contribute, directly or indirectly, to the arbitrary deprivation of life and other human rights violations in Iran,” said Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“States and intergovernmental bodies must condemn the Iranian authorities, in the strongest terms, for these arbitrary executions, call for an official moratorium on all executions, send representatives to visit prisoners sentenced to death, and seek attendance at trials involving capital crimes. Given the crisis of impunity for mass arbitrary executions, they must also urgently pursue meaningful pathways for accountability.”

This year, the authorities have also significantly increased the number of overall executions for all crimes, with at least 282 people executed in total so far in 2023 – this is nearly double the number of executions that were recorded at the beginning of June last year. If the authorities continue to carry out overall executions at this alarming pace, they could kill nearly a thousand prisoners by the end of this year.