The Iranian regime started a new wave of executions in April 2020, while the novel coronavirus has engulfed the country and spread to Iran’s prisons.
The authorities executed at least 32 individuals in 14 cities. The hanged include juvenile offenders and members of ethnic minorities.
Several of those executed had involved in protests over prison conditions and the failure of the authorities to temporarily release them amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Iranian regime hanged an Iranian Kurdish political prisoner on April 11, in a prison in the city of Saqqez, in Kurdestan province, western Iran.
Mostafa Salimi, 53, was among some 80 prisoners who escaped from Saqez prison following a coronavirus jail unrest on March 27 amid the Covid-19 outbreak. He was rearrested a few days later.
Despite numerous requests from human rights advocates, Iran executed Shayan Saeedpour, a young convict who had been arrested as a juvenile. He was sentence to death for killing a person during a street fight when he was 17.
Saeedpour had also managed to escape from Saqez prison on March 27. He was rearrested a few days later.
Amnesty International said, “his execution may have been an act of retaliation by the local prosecution authorities, intended to deter other prisoners from attempting similar escape plans.”
Majid Esmailzadeh was also executed on April 18, in Ardabil prison northwest Iran. He was arrested in 2012 and was sentenced to death for murder he allegedly committed when he was under 18.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on April 22 condemned the executions of the two child offenders.
Among those put to death in April was Sina Mohammadi, who became the third execution of a child offender this month on April 23. The young man was reportedly arrested on charges of murder when he was a minor and sentenced to “qisas”.
The death of a third person, Danial Zeinolabedin, also sentenced to death despite being under 18 at the time of the offence, was confirmed on April 2, after he was beaten by officials in Miandoab prison in West Azerbaijan Province. He had been transferred there along with other prisoners who had rioted in Mahabad prison on 28 March in protest at prison conditions and the failure of the authorities to temporarily release them amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The horrendous executions continued even during the holly month of Ramadan.
Abdul Vahed Faizi and Ramyar (Payam) Mokhless, both from Baneh, were executed in Sanandaj Central Prison on April 24.
The two Kurdish men were reportedly arrested on charges of murder.
Two prisoners were executed today in Sanandaj Prison, west #Iran. The inmates, Abdulvahed Feizi and 28-year-old Rmyar Mokhles, were convicted of murder.
The Iranian regime has speedily executed at least 12 prisoners just days before #Ramadan2020 pic.twitter.com/Pb6id6HFUz
— IRAN HRM (@IranHrm) April 24, 2020
In the meantime, Abul Baset Dahani a member of Baluch ethnic minority, was hanged on the same day in the city of Zahedan, Sistan and Baluchestan Province, southeast Iran.
Iran also hanged Shahram Baygan in Tabriz Central Prison, northwest Iran. The authorities executed him on April 21 without informing his family.
#Iran executed Shahram Baygan in Tabriz Central Prison. The authorities executed him on Thursday without informing his family.
The young man was injured during a #coronavirus jail unrest last month. He had been hospitalized after being badly beaten by prison guards. pic.twitter.com/13efOZwnb7
— IRAN HRM (@IranHrm) April 24, 2020
Two men were executed on drug related charges. Soleiman Mirzayi and Vahed Rostamzadeh were executed late April in Borujerd and Hamedan prisons, respectively.
The Iranian regime hanged a prisoner today on drug-related charges in Hamedan Prison.
Vahed Rostamzadeh, 30, was arrested 5 years ago.
According to the latest annual Amnesty International report, about one-third of executions worldwide are carried out in #Iran#HumanRights pic.twitter.com/aJuKGf5GVd
— IRAN HRM (@IranHrm) April 30, 2020
Amnesty International on April 21 published its annual Death Penalty report, highlighting that although there had been a fall in the total number of global executions, Iran remained the world’s second most prolific executioner after China. According to the report about one-third of executions worldwide are carried out in Iran.
The Iranian regime uses execution as a tool to suppress and silence a disgruntled public the majority of whom live under the poverty line, are unemployed and deprived of freedom of expression.
Not only Iran is the leading state in executions per capita, but it also tops the charts in the number of executions of minors and juvenile offenders.
According to the registered tally by Iran HRM, the Iranian regime executed 273 persons in 2019, including 16 women and 9 juveniles.