Iran flies in face of global execution trend
Amnesty International is appalled by the mass execution of 29 men in Tehran’s Evin Prison on 27 July 2008. Their deaths brought the number of executions carried out so far this year to 187. In 2007, more executions were carried out in Iran – 317 - than in any other country except China. Yet the population of Iran is 18 times smaller than China. Announcing the executions, the Iranian authorities said those hanged had committed serious crimes such as drug smuggling and murder. However, they named only ten of the men executed and gave no other details about any trials in which the 29 were convicted. In other cases, prisoners have been sentenced to death and executed after unfair trials. Several of the 29 condemned prisoners were interviewed prior to their execution by the state broadcaster, IRIB, which then broadcast extracts on national TV. The Iranian authorities continue to fly in the face of the global trend when it comes to executions, despite the UN General Assembly resolution of 18 December 2007 which calls on States “to establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty.” The resolution, which was passed by a large majority of UN member states, also called on governments to inform the UN Secretary General about their observance of international “safeguards guaranteeing the protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty.” Amnesty International unconditionally opposes the use of the death penalty in all cases and under any circumstances, since it violates the right to life and by its very nature constitutes cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.