March 4, 2012

Human Rights NGO Urges ‘Further Steps’ to Stop the Execution Machine in Iran
“Dramatic increase in executions shows the Iranian regime’s dependence on spreading fear to prolong its survival”

March 4 2012, Toronto | On the eve of the Parliamentary election in Iran, Iran Human Rights (IHR) has launched its 2011 annual report on the death penalty in Iran.

The execution wave that began after the June 2009 post-election protests in Iran continues with high frequency. According to the report, the total figure in 2011 is the highest since the beginning of the 1990’s. At least 676 people were executed in Iran, but only 62% of the executions were announced by the Iranian authorities. There was also a dramatic increase in the number of public executions. The report indicates that 65 executions were carried out in public in Iran- that is three times higher than the average in previous years.  IHR has emphasized that the actual number of executions in Iran is probably much higher than the figures included in its annual report.

The Iranian authorities continue executing several hundred prisoners each year on the pretext of fighting “drug trafficking”. More than 80% of those executed in 2011 were convicted of drug trafficking. Among them are alone mothers with dependent children. Others are people whose family members were unable to afford the expenses of their funeral. Those executed in 2011 also include 4 juvenile offenders, 15 women, 3 young men convicted of sodomy, and one man convicted of “apostasy”.

Commenting on this report, Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, the spokesperson of IHR said: “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.”

There is no indication that the execution machine will slow down in 2012- at least 60 people have been executed so far, 11 of which were carried out publicly. IHR is particularly concerned about several people in Iranian prisons who are at imminent danger of execution: Saeed Malekpour, a computer programmer and web developer sentenced to death for “Insulting and desecrating the principles of  Islam”, Yousef Nadarkhani, the Iranian pastor who converted to Christianity at the age of 19, and several other political prisoners, among them Kurdish cousins Zanyar and Loghman Moradi.

For questions and comments please contact

Dr. Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam
International spokesperson for IHR
Phone: +47 91742177

Maryam Nayeb Yazdi
North American spokesperson for IHR
Phone: 416-845-0453

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