According to rights organizations, the number of executions in Iran has more than doubled over the last six months as part of a new effort to scare anti-regime protestors.

Iranians were hanged 251 times between January 1 and June 30 compared to 117 times in the first half of 2017. The increase in executions has occurred at the same time as a number of statewide demonstrations against Iran’s crumbling economy and the skyrocketing cost of staple foods like bread.

According to Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, the founder of the advocacy group Iran Human Rights in Norway, “There is no doubt that the main purpose of these killings is spreading fear to offset the growing number of popular anti-regime protests.”

Stronger international responses and domestic anti-execution movements are necessary to increase the political cost of these killings for the government and halt the trend of increase.

Amiry-Moghaddam claimed that 137 executions had taken place since the new round of anti-regime demonstrations in Iran got underway on May 7. At the Rajai Shahr Prison outside of Tehran this week alone, eight people were hung, including six women.
The group claimed the actual number of executions was likely greater because their estimate only included those reported in official media or confirmed by at least two independent sources.

Additionally, activists charge Iran with murdering an excessively high number of members of ethnic minorities, particularly Baluch and Kurds. According to Iran Human Rights, 67 Baluch prisoners—mostly Sunni Muslims who reside in the southeast—were put to death.
Despite making up only approximately 5% of the population, at least 19% of recorded executions in Iran in 2021, according to Amnesty International’s annual report on the death sentence, were Baluch.

Concern has also been expressed regarding the execution of Firuz Musalou on June 20. Musalou was a Kurd who had been found guilty of belonging to the illegal Kurdistan Workers Party, which had waged an insurgency in Turkey. His family was kept in the dark about the execution of his punishment.

Last month, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres raised worry over the surge in executions, noting that Iran has once more executed several drug offenders and members of ethnic minorities.

Nada Al-Nashif, the UN’s deputy high commissioner for human rights, stated that the death sentence “continues to be inflicted on the basis of allegations not amounting to’most heinous crimes’ and in manner incompatible with fair trial criteria.”

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