Iran hangs 12 inmates, including a woman, in mass execution amid NGO fears minorities will be targeted – World News

Executions in 2021 in Iran rose 28 percent to a total of 314 for the year, with executions of women among the highest in the world

Demonstrators gather to protest Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and executions in Iran
Demonstrators gather to protest Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and executions in Iran

Iran has carried out a mass execution of 12 inmates at a prison in the southeast, an NGO said on Tuesday.

Eleven men and one woman, all convicted on drug or murder charges, were hanged Monday morning at the main prison in Zahedan, in Sistan-Balochistan province, near the borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The woman, identified only by the surname Gergich, was hanged with the men after being placed in solitary confinement on Saturday June 4.

Iran has the highest number of executions of women in the world, with at least 18 women in 2021, the NCRI Women’s Committee said.

Blindfolded protesters were seen at a rally opposite 10 Downing Street on the day of International Day Against the Death Penalty, condemning the Iranian President’s attendance at the COP26 conference in Glasgow


SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

All those executed belonged to the Baloch ethnic minority, which adheres mainly to Sunni Islam and not to the Shi’ism that is prevalent in Iran.

Activists have long expressed concern that executions in Iran disproportionately target members of Iran’s ethnic and religious minorities, particularly Kurds in the north-west, Arabs in the south-west and Baloch in the south-east.

Data from the Iran Human Rights Group shows that in 2021, Baluch prisoners accounted for 21 percent of all executions, while they made up only 2–6 percent of Iran’s population.

The news comes as Human Rights Watch released a landmark report on executions in Iran. Overwhelming evidence shows that the mass execution of thousands of political prisoners by the Iranian authorities in 1988 amounted to crimes against humanity.

Formerly a school, the classrooms have been converted into cells and used to torture prisoners


Fairfax Media via Getty Images)

There has also been concern among human rights groups about a recent spike in executions in Iran as the country’s leaders face protests over a cost of living crisis.

Amnesty International’s annual report on the global use of the death penalty says executions in Iran rose 28 percent in 2021 to a total of 314 for the year, but warned that the number was likely an underestimate.

They rose particularly after hardliner Ebrahim Raisi was elected president.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi speaks during a meeting with ambassadors and diplomatic representatives


Agency Anadolu via Getty Images)

In October, a UN human rights expert warned the BBC that almost all executions in Iran were “an arbitrary killing”.

Under Iran’s Penal Code, citizens can be executed for crimes not considered “the most serious” under international law, such as drug trafficking.

The month before President Raisi’s election victory saw the highest number of executions, at 51.

People have called on Western powers to address Iran’s record on the death penalty and other human rights abuses as part of their negotiations on the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

“We cannot sacrifice human rights under the guise of nuclear talks with the Islamic Republic,” said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran.

He continued: “The Iranian authorities insisted that human rights should not be part of the nuclear negotiations from day one; it is beyond hypocrisy if they now insist that human rights sanctions should be lifted in order to resume the Iran nuclear deal.”

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