Amnesty International condemned a sharp rise in public executions in Iran

Politics Materials 28 April 2011 11:58 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, April 28 /Trend/

Amnesty International has condemned a sharp rise in the rate of executions in public in Iran which have included the first executions of juvenile offenders in the world this year, the organization's statement reads.

"Yet again, Iran has distinguished itself by being the only country this year to execute juvenile offenders. No more juvenile offenders must die at the hands of the state," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Programme.

There was a sharp rise in the rate of executions in Iran in December 2010 and January 2011, with at least 86 people executed in January alone. The rate fell significantly in February 2011, after international condemnation of the rise, but has risen again since the end of the Iranian New Year holiday in early April.

According to official sources, at least 135 people - ten in public - have been executed so far this year. Eight of those executions have taken place since 16 April 2011.

On 16 April 2011, three men were hanged in public in Shiraz for murder, armed robbery and kidnapping. A fourth man was hanged on the same day near Kazeroun in Fars Province after being convicted of four counts of murder.

On 20 April 2011, two juvenile offenders - identified only as "A.N" and "H.B" - were among three individuals hanged in public in Bandar Abbas, southern Iran, after being convicted over a rape and murder committed when they were only 17. A fourth man was hanged at the same time for rape.

Iran is one of the only countries that still imposes the death penalty on juvenile offenders - those convicted of an alleged crime committed before they were 18 - and was the only country known to have executed a juvenile offender in 2010. Executions of juvenile offenders are strictly prohibited under international law.

According to Sahraoui, public executions are not only a violation of the right to life, but are a gross affront to human dignity which cannot be tolerated.

"It is deeply disturbing that despite a moratorium on public executions ordered in 2008, the Iranian authorities are once again seeking to intimidate people by such spectacles which not only dehumanize the victim, but brutalize those who witness it," she said.

The UN General Assembly has passed three resolutions calling for a worldwide moratorium on executions.