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Iran: 115 executions since elections

‘Alarming spike’ in numbers represents ‘significant increase’, says Amnesty

The eight weeks between the presidential election on 12 June and the inauguration of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for a second term as president on 5 August saw an alarming spike in the number of executions by the Iranian authorities, Amnesty International said today.

Amnesty International Secretary General Irene Khan said:

“In just over 50 days, we recorded no less that 115 executions - an average of more than two each day

“This represents a significant increase, even compared to the appallingly high rate of executions that has been so long a feature of the human rights scene in Iran.

“In recent weeks world attention has understandably been focused on the Tehran authorities’ brutal attempts to suppress the mass and largely peaceful protests that followed the widely-disputed official outcome of the presidential vote. Yet, as these grotesque figures show, there has been no let up in other longstanding patterns of human rights abuse - in fact, the reverse.

“This is a dreadful situation, and one that is made worse by the fact that all or most of those executed are likely to have been denied fair trials, in gross breach of international law.”

From the start of 2009 up to 12 June, Amnesty International recorded at least 196 executions in Iran, placing the country second in the world behind China for the number of executions carried out. The 115 executions known to have been carried out since the presidential election on 12 June included 14 executions on 2 July, 20 on 4 July, 13 on 14 July and a further 24 executions on 5 August, the day of the presidential inauguration.

Amnesty is also stressing that the true total number of executions in Iran is almost certainly higher even than the number it has been able to record, which is based on official Iranian, media and other sources. Most of those executed are said to have been convicted of drug-smuggling or related offences. Those executed by hanging are believed to have been men, mostly between 20 and 50 years of age, but include at least two Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights. Some but not all of the victims’ identities are known. In particular, the authorities have not named any of the 24 prisoners executed on 5 August at Rejai Shahr Prison in Karaj, disclosing only that they were executed for drugs-related offences.

Typically, people accused of drugs offences or other serious crimes are held for long periods in pre-trial detention, routinely ill-treated, and allowed access to a lawyer only at the point where they go on trial, if at all.

Last year Amnesty recorded at least 346 executions in Iran, the second highest number (behind China) of any country in the world. Of these at least eight were child offenders - those convicted for crimes which took place when they were aged below 18. The true overall figure is likely to have been higher, as the Iranian authorities do not issue official statistics on capital punishment.

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