At least three prisoners were executed on Wednesday, February 13, in Raja’i Shahr and Ardebil Prisons.
Ali Shakouri, 34, father of three, was hanged in Ardebil prison, northwest Iran.
Two other prisoners identified as Behrouz Bayat and Mohammad Hedayati were also executed on the same day in Raja’i Shahr Prison. All the three inmates had been found guilty of murder.
Absence of classification of undeliberate murders in Iran lead to capital punishment for everyone committed murder, intentional or un intentional.
On January 29, a prisoner identified as Omran was executed in Maragheh Prison, also in northwest Iran.
He had been on death row since 2015 and had denied intentional murder charges saying it was a case of self defense. Omran argued that he reacted to the irate man who began beating him with an iron rod.
Iran is one of the 23 countries that have not yet abolished the death penalty.
Executions in Iran are mostly the result of grossly unfair trials which are usually held behind closed doors without the presence of a defence lawyer. Activists believe that many of those on death row were convicted on the basis of “forced confessions”, a method believed to be commonly used in the country at the moment. Moreover, when a death sentence is handed down, families are often not given prior notice of the execution.
At least 285 people were executed in 2018 in Iran. The officials acknowledged the execution of only 85 people last year, but it is believed that this figure grossly underestimates the true number in Iran because the regime had embarked on a campaign of secret and mass hangings of prisoners, especially in faraway provinces.
According to London-based international human rights watchdog Amnesty International, “more than half (51%) of all recorded executions in 2017 were carried out in Iran.”
Iran ranks second in the world after China in terms of executions and has “carried out 84% of the global total number of executions with Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan.”
The country’s judicial system has also been criticised for handing down death sentences against juveniles. Dozens of child offenders are on death row in Iranian prisons, waiting to go to the gallows when they reach 18.