News / Middle East

UN Expresses Alarm Over Iranian Executions

Alireza Mafiha, second left, leans his head on the shoulder of a security officer moments before his execution along with Mohammad Ali Sarvari, second right, in Tehran, Iran, Jan. 20, 2013.
Alireza Mafiha, second left, leans his head on the shoulder of a security officer moments before his execution along with Mohammad Ali Sarvari, second right, in Tehran, Iran, Jan. 20, 2013.
VOA News
The U.N. has joined international rights groups in expressing alarm over recent executions in Iran.

In a Wednesday statement, the world body urged Iran to stop what it calls an "abrupt surge" in executions by hanging this year.

The U.N.'s human rights office says its reports indicate at least 40 people were hanged during the first two weeks of January.

It says, overall, 625 people were executed in 2013, including some political prisoners and people convicted of drug-related offenses.

There was no immediate reaction from Tehran to the U.N. statement.

U.N. Special Rapporteur on summary executions Christof Heyns said there is deep concern that Iran has been carrying out executions for offenses that are not considered "most serious crimes" under international law.

In a VOA interview, U.N. Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran Ahmed Shaheed said there was also concern about the fairness of executions.

"The foremost concern, of course, is the frequent reports of very poor due process rights in these trials. The biggest concern is that many of these convictions may not be safe, given the fact there are widespread reports of coerced confessions and of having no chance to mount a defense in the court."

Earlier this month, Amnesty International urged Iran to adopt a moratorium on executions and end what it called Iran's "secrecy" about its use of the death penalty.

Separately, Human Rights Watch also called for a moratorium, saying Iranian executions have continued at a high rate.

In a November interview with France's Le Monde newspaper, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said no one had been executed in Iran for political reasons.

He described Iran's justice system as "independent," but added his country could do better.

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by: Mansur from: Iran
January 22, 2014 3:31 PM
"UN Expresses Alarm"...? you awful hypocrites!!! for years we have been telling you of mass executions of Sunni Muslims and other minorities in Iran, for years we have been sending you pictures and testimonials, for years the IRGC has been hunting us and killing us - and trying to suppress the truth about what is going on in Iran... for years we have been telling you of the barbaric atrocities under the filthy Mullahs in Iran. where have you been??? now you express alarm...??!! you awful hypocrites

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