OCTOBER 17, 2011
The report, compiled by Ahmed Shaheed, the new U.N. "Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran," makes for dismal reading: a compendium of violations of basic rights ranging from lack of free expression and assembly to summary executions and torture of detainees.
Those convicted of crimes -- both political and otherwise -- faced the ultimate penalty more often in Iran than any other country except China. According to the U.N. report, there have been more than 200 "officially announced" executions in 2011 and at least 146 secret ones in a prison in the eastern city of Mashhad. Last year, 300 people were secretly executed there, the report says.
Hadi Ghaemi, director of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, says that those put to death in Vakilabad prison in Mashhad appear to have been charged with offenses that would not merit the death penalty elsewhere. "The Iranian government claims they are drug offenders, but they don't give the names, so there is no way to know," Ghaemi said.
Those whose executions have been announced include juveniles. More than 100 Iranians under age 18 remain on death row, despite the fact that executing minors is forbidden by international covenants that Iran has joined, such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Tehran says the death penalty is essential to maintain law and order, and that it is applied only after exhaustive judicial proceedings.
Murder, ****, armed robbery, drug trafficking and adultery are among the crimes punishable by death in Iran.