Execution rate in Iran alarms UN; Execution of Kurds systematic


The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has expressed concern over what the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran is calling an ‘execution binge’ taking place in Iran. A number of reports have indicated that since the start of 2011, Iranian authorities have executed one person per every 8 hours.

According to Iranian media reports, at least 66 people have been executed in January alone. However, human rights groups inside Iran say the number is far higher. Reports also suggest that the execution rate of ethnic Kurds in Iran appears to be systematic and politically motivated. CNN reports:

CNN Wire Staff – The head of human rights for the United Nations has expressed alarm at the number of executions carried out by Iran in the new year.

“We have urged Iran, time and again, to halt executions,” U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said Wednesday. “I am very dismayed that instead of heeding our calls, the Iranian authorities appear to have stepped up the use of the death penalty.”

At least 66 people were executed during January, according to Iranian media reports. Most of the executions were reportedly carried out for drug offenses, although at least three involved political prisoners, a U.N. statement said.

The U.N. response comes two days after the United States condemned the execution of a Dutch-Iranian woman whom Tehran accused of smuggling drugs.

On Monday, the U.S. State Department said it was “deeply concerned that Iran continues to deny its citizens their human rights.”

Last month, the New York-based group, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, said the Iranian regime was on an “execution binge.”

“The Iranian Judiciary is on an execution binge orchestrated by the intelligence and security agencies,” said spokesman Aaron Rhodes.

The group said the number of unreported executions is even higher in politically motivated cases.

Rhodes pointed to a recent execution of a Kurdish activists that he said had not been fully reported to the public.

“The execution of Kurdish activists, without fair trials and following torture, increasingly appears as a systematic, politically motivated process,” he said.

According to the group, Iran executes more people per capita than any other country and is second only to China.

CNN’s Mitra Mobasherat contributed to this report.

Mr. Farhad Tarom was the latest Kurdish political prisoner to be reportedly executed by Iranian authorities. His execution comes just less than two weeks after another Kurdish prisoner, Mr. Hossein Khezri, was reportedly executed for his political activities.

Last year, Iranian authorities executed political prisoners Mr. Farzad Kamangar, Ms. Shirin Alam Hooli, Mr. Ali Heydarian, and Mr. Farhad Vakili, despite an international campaign protesting the sentences. Earlier that year, Iranian authorities executed another Kurdish political prisoner Mr. Fasih Yasamani, just months after they executed another Kurdish political prisoner, Mr. Ehsan Fattahian.

A number of other Kurdish prisoners have been executed without fair trials on smuggling charges among other things. Kurds make up approximately only 15 percent of the population of Iran but about half of those executed in Iran each year are Kurds.

Last month, a Dutch-Iranian national Ms. Zahra Bahrami was also executed on smuggling charges prompting the United States to voice concerns. The Netherlands has frozen diplomatic contacts with Iran since the execution.