More than 100 people are thought to have been executed in Iran for drug-related offences in 2021, a new report claims.

According to Oslo-based Iran Human Rights (IHR) and Paris-based Together Against the Death Penalty (ECPM) on Thursday, 126 people were hanged for drug offences last year, a fivefold increase compared to the past three years. None of the drug-related executions were officially announced.

The rights groups’ annual report says that in total, 333 people were executed in Iran in 2021, mostly those charged with murder.

The rate of executions doubled after the election of President Ebrahim Raisi in June, the report found.

Based on public announcements and sources inside Iran, the authors highlighted “an alarming rise in the implementation of death sentences for drug offences and an ongoing lack of transparency.”

Iran remains one of just a few countries around the world that still carry out public executions. Since 2020, however, the regime has stopped its notorious method of hanging convicts by cranes with crowds gathered around, owing to pandemic-related restrictions.

Iran is a signatory of the UN’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which means that it should not be able to pass down the death penalty for anything other than the most serious of capital crimes.

Iranian criminal courts can give the death sentence for people charged with murder, rape, and repeated petty crimes like stealing and drinking alcohol if caught and convicted more than three times.

Other cases related to national security and drug trafficking are tried by Iran’s notorious Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in special courts, which the UN and rights groups say depend heavily on torture and forced confessions to prove guilt.

Blasphemy and spreading corruption are among the crimes tried by the revolutionary courts which can be punished with death.

The IHR and ECPM report also highlighted the fact the government in Iran still implements the death penalty against women, including the high-profile cases of Zahra Esmaili and Maryam Karimi, two women who were hanged last year after killing their abusive husbands.

A total of 17 women were executed in 2021, as well as two men who were convicted of crimes committed when they were minors. Baluchis, an ethnic minority, accounted for 21 per cent of those executed last year, despite the fact they only make up around 6 per cent of the population of 80 million.

Raisi, a 61-year-old cleric, replaced the more moderate Hassan Rouhani from office in an election with a historically low turnout.

Well-liked by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, Raisi was involved in ordering mass executions during his role as deputy prosecutor general of Tehran in the 1980s, and one day could possibly become the country’s supreme leader.

The report on the rise in use of the death penalty urged the international community to “prioritise human rights violations in any future talks and negotiations with Iran.”

Source » trackpersia