UN rights chief condemns ‘deeply alarming’ executions in Iran – Middle East Monitor

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights yesterday denounced the “deeply alarming high number” of executions carried out this year in Iran, with an average of more than ten executions per week. Since the beginning of January, at least 209 people have been executed in the country, mostly for drug-related offences, although the number is “likely” to be higher.

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

A spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ravina Shamdasani, said during a regular press conference in Geneva that if the current trend continues this year, “it will represent the highest rates of application of the death penalty in Iran since 2015,” when 972 people were reportedly executed.

On Monday, Sadrollah Fazeli Zare and Yousef Mehrdad were hanged in Iran for blasphemy, drawing condemnation from Washington and human rights NGOs. Iranian-Swedish dissident Habib Shaab was hanged on Saturday after being found guilty of “terrorism”.

READ: Iran executes two men for blasphemy

According to the UN, quoting local sources, at least 45 people, including 22 belonging to the Baloch minority, were executed during the past 14 days alone, mostly for drug-related offences.

“The imposition of the death penalty for drug-related offences is incompatible with international human rights norms and standards,” insisted Turk.

The UN noted that the Human Rights Committee prohibits the imposition of the death penalty, with the exception of the “most serious crimes” such as those that involve intentional killing. The definition does not include drug-related offences.

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