Amnesty Int’l: Iran leads world in known executions

Amnesty International stated it received reports of over 300 additional executions carried out in Vakilabad Prison in Mashhad, Iran.

By JOSHUA HAMERMAN
April 6, 2011 01:17
3 minute read.
Hangings in Iran

Iran Hangings 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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While China is believed to have executed thousands of people in 2010 – more than all other countries combined – authorities there have not acknowledged carrying out any executions. On the other hand, the Iranian government admitted to executing 252 people, including five women and a juvenile, last year.

Amnesty International stated it received reports of over 300 additional executions carried out in Vakilabad Prison in Mashhad, Iran. Fourteen people were publicly executed in Iran last year, and most of those executed had been convicted of drug-related offenses.

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“Detainees in Iran are often held for lengthy periods of time prior to trial, where they are at grave risk of being subjected to torture and other ill treatment; political prisoners are often held incommunicado,” Amnesty stated in the report. “Trials are generally unfair and detainees are systematically denied – by law – access to a lawyer until investigations have been completed, which can take many months. Proceedings, particularly those held outside the capital Teheran, are often summary, lasting only a few minutes.”

Amnesty noted that in January 2010, two Iranian men involved in the June 2009 post-election protests were hanged. They had been convicted of “enmity against God,” and of belonging to an illegal group which supports the exiled Iranian monarchy. Their lawyers were not told of the executions.

In December 2010, Ali Akbar Siadat was hanged after he was convicted of spying for Israel. Four Kurds were hanged on May 9, 2010, and at least 17 more were on death row at the end of the year.

Amnesty also reported that at least 10 women and four men were at risk of being stoned as punishment for alleged adultery, and at least one woman might be hanged for the same offense.

The 252 figure puts Iran in the lead globally for acknowledged executions in 2010.



According to Amnesty, at least 527 executions were carried out in 23 nations. In addition, at least 2,024 new death sentences were handed down in 67 countries.

In the Middle East and North Africa, Iran accounted for most of the 378 known executions carried out in 2010.

Yemen executed at least 53 people, followed by Saudi Arabia with at least 27, Libya with at least 18, Syria with at least 17 and Egypt with four.

In 16 countries in the region, 748 death sentences were imposed, with Iraq (at least 279), Egypt (185) and Algeria (at least 130) in the lead, followed by Saudi Arabia (at least 34), the United Arab Emirates (at least 28), Yemen (at least 27), Tunisia (at least 22), Lebanon (at least 12), Syria (at least 10) and Jordan (at least nine).

In Gaza, Hamas authorities executed five people and handed down 11 death sentences in 2010, according to Amnesty. Two men convicted of involvement with murder and collaboration with Israel by military courts in 2009 were executed in Gaza City on April 15, 2010. Three other men convicted of murder were put to death in Gaza City on May 18, 2010.

Amnesty noted that on February 18, 2010, a Lebanese military court sentenced Mahmoud Rafeh to death for “collaboration and espionage on behalf of the enemy,” and involvement in a car-bombing that killed an Islamic Jihad official and his brother in Sidon in 2006. A Palestinian man was sentenced to death in absentia after being convicted of charges related to the same case.

In June, Lebanese President Michel Suleiman said he would be willing to sign death warrants for those convicted of working with Israel.

Meanwhile, in Washington, shortly after the release of the Amnesty report, Freedom House and the Progressive Policy Institute announced the formation of a new Iran policy task force, “Beyond Sanctions: The Next Iran Strategy.”

The task force will make recommendations to, and meet with, diplomats and members of the Obama administration and the US Congress.

Besides the founding organizations, the task force and its advisory board include representatives from the Atlantic Council, University of Maryland, Saban Center for Middle East Policy, American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, Council on Foreign Relations, Woodrow Wilson Center, Stanford University, Washington Institute for Near East Policy and Bard College.

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