Iran: Over 200 executed since January; Türk calls for end to death penalty

The “frightening” number of executions carried out this year in Iran prompted the UN human rights chief Volker Türk on Tuesday, to call on the country’s authorities to abolish the death penalty or halt all executions.

More than 10 people are put to death each week in Iran, High Commissioner Türk said, making the country “one of the world’s highest executors”, with at least 209 people executed since the beginning of the year according to sources quoted by the UN rights office (OHCHR), in a press release

Incompatible with international norms

Executions are carried out “mostly” for drug-related offences. Mr. Türk said this was “incompatible with international human rights norms and standards”.

OHCHR said that minorities were over-represented on Iran’s death row, and said that according to sources, at least 45 people, including 22 from the Baluch minority, were executed in the last 14 days alone.

“Most were executed for drug-related charges”, added the UN rights chief.

‘Abominable record’

“At this rate, Iran is worryingly on the same track as last year, when around 580 people were reportedly executed, said Mr. Türk. “This is an abominable record, particularly when you consider the growing consensus for universal abolition of the death penalty.”

Only a small number of States still impose and apply the death penalty, said OHCHR.

On Saturday, Iran executed Habib Chaab, a Swedish-Iranian citizen from the Ahwazi Arab minority, the rights office added, who had been charged and found guilty of “corruption on earth” – a capital offence under Iran’s strict interpretation of Islamic law.

Reports on Monday, said that Yousef Mehrdad and Sadrollah Fazeli Zare had been executed for crimes including blasphemy, said OHCHR.

Speaking before the Human Rights Council last month, Mr. Türk had called the death penalty an “atavistic relic from the past that should be shed in the 21st century”.

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