The National Council of Resistance in Iran, an opposition group, reported this week that the Islamic republic has executed 65 people in one week, putting them on pace to set a new record in 2015.
Iran regularly tops lists of nations staging the most executions of its citizens annually.
In the past week (from April 12 to 18), henchmen hanged at least 65 prisoners. Forty-five of these have been executed just in Karaj City prisons. On April 13, eight prisoners were hanged in Karaj’s Central Prison while 13 other prisoners were executed in Ghezel Hessar Prison. On the next day, 19 prisoners were hanged in Gohardasht Prison. And on April 15, henchmen hanged five prisoners in Gohardasht. Among those executed was Javad Saberi, a juvenile at the time of his arrest.
During this period, one prisoner was hanged on April 12 in Mehriz (Yazd Province), eight prisoners were hanged on April 12 and 15 in Arak, three were hanged on April 14 and 15 in Shiraz, four prisoners were hanged on April 13 in Esfahan, and four were hanged in Zahedan on April 18. Two of those executions, in Mehriz and in Shiraz, were public hangings.
In January, the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center and Iran Focus reported the regime executed 64 people in the first weeks of the new year. If the pattern continues, the regime will execute over 1,000 people in 2015. The center lists all the known executions on their website. As of April 15, there are 329 entries in the list for 2015.
Iran News Update said many of the executed were under 30 and imprisoned on drug smuggling charges. Their families insist none of them ever handled drugs. However, the majority of those arrested also “protested the wave of collective executions in Ghezel Hessar Prison in August.”
The United Nations responded to the executions at the end of February with only an expression of concern. The next day, Tehran hanged six Sunni Kurds.
Human rights organizations pleaded with the government in February to stop the execution of Saman Nasim, who was 17 when officials arrested him and sentenced him to death on charges of terrorism on behalf of an opposition group. There are international laws that ban child executions, but Human Rights Watch claims the regime “executed at least eight child offenders since 2010.” Other organizations put the number closest to 31.
The regime has ordered 200 more executions in the upcoming weeks in the Gohardasht and Ghezel Hessar prisons.