Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Human rights watchdog Amnesty International Thursday released a report claiming that the Islamic Republic had executed over 690 people from January 1 to July 15 2015, far exceeding the 246 executions declared by authorities in Iran.
Amnesty said it had compiled "credible reports" on executions carried out by Tehran and arrived at the number of 694 as of mid-July, noting that the number approached the total amount of executions performed in the Shi'ite stronghold in all of 2014.
A report published in March by UN special rapporteur on Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, said at least 753 people were executed in 2014, the highest toll recorded in over a decade.
But Amnesty International fears that the number will be far surpassed if trends continue to hold.
“If Iran’s authorities maintain this horrifying execution rate we are likely to see more than 1,000 state-sanctioned deaths by the year’s end," Deputy Director of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa mission Said Boumedouha said in the report.
“The use of the death penalty is always abhorrent, but it raises additional concerns in a country like Iran, where trials are blatantly unfair,” he added.
Amnesty also noted that even during the holy month of Ramadan, which usually sees a stoppage in executions performed in the Islamic Republic, four executions had taken place.
Amnesty International said that Iranian executions do not meet international legal standards
for which the death penalty is appropriate, citing that many of the executions were mostly for drug-related crimes, along with adultery, sodomy and “vaguely worded national security offenses.”
According to Amnesty International, Iran executes more people per capita than any other country, which the organization believes has thousands more on death-row.