Monday 05 March 2012

Annual report on the death penalty in iran- 2011

Iran Human Rights: As the Iranian authorities continue the crackdown of the dissidents and the civil society, Iran Human Rights (IHR) presents its annual report on the death penalty in 2011 in Iran. The report was presented in press conferences at the Italian Senate, Paris City Hall and University of Oslo las week.


The execution wave that began after the June 2009 post-election protests in Iran is still going on with high frequency . According to the present report, the execution figure in 2011 was the highest reported since the beginning of 1990’s.

Iranian authorities continue executing several hundred prisoners each year in the pretext of fighting drug-trafficking. Among those executed for drug trafficking in 2011 we find alone mothers of dependent children, who were subjected to unfair trials and executed and those whose families do not even afford to pay the expenses for their funeral.

What distinguishes the 2011 report from previous years is the dramatic increase in the number of public executions. The number of executions carried out publicly in 2011 in Iran is more than three times higher than the average in the previous years.

There is no indication that the Iranian authorities’ execution machine will slow down in 2012. In the first two weeks of January 2012, an average of 3-4 people have been executed in Iran every day. By the end of January 2011, 11 executions have been carried out publicly.

At the same time, Iranian authorities are threatening to execute more people for other “crimes”. The Iranian Supreme Court has recently approved the death sentence of Iranian-born Canadian permanent resident Saeed Malekpour for running “obscene” websites. He is now at imminent danger of execution.

Iranian pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, who converted to Christianity at the age of 19 and who was sentenced to death for Apostasy in 2010, might also be in danger of execution. There is serious concern that approval of the new Islamic Penal Code (IPC) by the Guardian Council might lead to more death penalties for Apostasy.

Iran Human Rights is also concerned about reports indicating Kurdish political prisoners Zanyar and Loghman Moradi might be in danger of execution.

There are also indications that Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani- the 43-year-old mother of two whose stoning death sentence was stopped, thanks to a worldwide campaign- might be in danger of execution.

Recently, an Iranian judge has indicated that the stoning verdict for Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani can be converted to death by hanging.

Commenting on this report, Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, the spokesperson of IHR said: “There is little doubt that the Iranian authorities use the death penalty as a political mean. The dramatic increase in the number of executions shows that the Iranian regime is more than ever dependent on spreading fear to prolong its survival. Death penalty in general and public executions in particular- are the Iranian regime’s most important instrument for creating fear in the society.” He added: “We urge the international community to put sustainable focus on the human rights violations and particularly on the death penalty in Iran, and take further steps to stop the Iranian regime’s execution machine.”

The figures included in this report are mainly based on information announced by the Iranian authorities. However, some figures are based on reports from reliable unofficial sources. During the past two years IHR has concluded that the number of the executions not announced by the official Iranian sources is much higher than previously anticipated. A significant portion of the unofficial figures included in this report has been prepared thanks to the individuals in Iran who, despite all the risks, have contributed with invaluable information to make the report somehow closer to the reality. IHR must emphasize that the actual number of the executions in Iran is probably much higher than the figures included in its annual report.


The present report uses the Iranian authorities as its main source. 62% of the executions reported here are based on the news published by state-run media news agencies and newspapers and the statements made by high-ranking officials within the Iranian judiciary. Like last year, IHR has received reports on large numbers of executions that have not been announced by official Iranian sources. Many cases are directly communicated to IHR (though a direct witness, family member, lawyer, or key sources within the Judiciary) or reached us through other human rights organizations. The annual report only includes non-official cases which have been confirmed by at least two different independent sources.

Some facts:

• At least 676 people were executed according to IHR’s annual report 2011

• 416 of the 676 executions (62%) were announced by the Iranian authorities

• 65 executions were carried out in public. This is the highest number of public executions in more than 10 years.

• At least 4 juvenile offenders were among those executed in Iran in 2011

• At least 15 women were executed in 2011. Executions of 13 of these women were not announced by the Iranian authorities

• 3 young men were executed convicted of sodomy

• One man was executed convicted of “apostasy”

• More than 80% of those executed were convicted of drug trafficking

• Only 9% of those officially executed for drug charges were fully identified

• IHR has received reports of secret or “un-announced” executions in more than 15 different Iranian prisons

• More than 70 additional executions reported to IHR, are not included in the annual report due to difficulties in confirming some of the details

2011: The highest number of annual executions in the past 11 years Sources: Amnesty International (AI) and Iran Human Rights (IHR):

• 2000: 165 (AI)

• 2001: 75 (AI)

• 2002: 316 (AI)

• 2003: 154 (AI)

• 2004: 108 (AI)

• 2005: 94 (AI)

• 2006: 177 (AI)

• 2007: 317 (AI)

• 2008: 350 (IHR), (346; AI)

• 2009: 402 (IHR), (388; AI)

• 2010: 546 (IHR) (adjusted to 646)*

• 2011: 676 (IHR) : Official: 416 non-official: 260

* 100 of the 140 executions in the province of South Khorasan (Birjand) that were confirmed by the Iranian officials have been added to the 2010 numbers

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