Iran: Two people executed for corruption after unfair TV show trial

Responding to the news that the Iranian authorities have executed Vahid Mazloumin and Mohammad Esmail Ghasemi, two men convicted of financial crimes after a grossly unfair trial, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Research and Advocacy Director, Philip Luther, said:

“With these abhorrent executions the Iranian authorities have flagrantly violated international law and once again displayed their shameless disregard for the right to life.

“Use of the death penalty is appalling under any circumstances but it is even more horrific given that these men were convicted after a grossly unfair show trial that was broadcast on state television. Under international human rights law, the death penalty is absolutely forbidden for non-lethal crimes, such as financial corruption.

With these abhorrent executions the Iranian authorities have flagrantly violated international law and once again displayed their shameless disregard for the right to life
Philip Luther, Amnesty International's MENA Research and Advocacy Director

“The shocking manner in which their trial was fast-tracked through Iran’s judicial system without allowing them the chance of a proper appeal is yet another example of the brazen disregard the Iranian authorities have for defendants’ basic due process rights.”

Background

Amid a deepening economic crisis, the Iranian authorities have carried out mass arrests of individuals whom they describe as “financially corrupt” and “saboteurs of the economy”, convicted them of charges related to financial crimes and sentenced some of them to flogging, lengthy prison terms and the death penalty after grossly unfair summary trials.

In August, Iran’s Supreme Leader approved a request by the Head of Judiciary to set up special courts to deal with crimes involving financial corruption. Since then, these courts have sentenced several people to death. Vahid Mazloumin and Mohammad Esmail Ghasemi had been accused of manipulating Iran’s gold and currency markets and were sentenced to death in September on the charge of “spreading corruption on earth”. Dozens of other people have also been sentenced to prison terms after convictions on similar charges.

Amnesty International considers that trials before these special courts are inherently unfair because defendants are denied access to lawyers of their own choosing, have no right to appeal against sentences of imprisonment and are given only 10 days within which to appeal death sentences.